See PHOTOS from the wintry week on MSU’s campus:

Photos courtesy of MSU University Relations

Coming from Mauritius, a tropical island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I was not expecting the rigid Michigan winter to be so rough. My perception of cold weather usually tends to be in the low sixties. When the cold season came around, one of the few friends I had at that time brought me to shop for winter clothes and accessories. Thankfully, I was now fully equipped and anticipating the winter.

Of course, to any first experience encountered, there has to be a funny story behind it. Late at night, I was leaving the library to go back to my residence hall when I felt what I thought were raindrops falling on my hair. As I looked up at the lamppost to have a better sight of what was falling from the sky, I saw “white raindrops” gracefully making their way down to the ground. My excitement got bigger when I looked at the ground and saw a little chunk of ice. I was blown away by this overwhelming emotion of experiencing snow for the first time. As I walked back to my residence hall, I purposefully squished my boots on the ground to hear this crinkling noise, as if I was walking on salt. To complete my exciting night, I wrote a poem about how I felt witnessing snow for the first time. When I went to class the next day, I overheard some of my classmates talking about the harmless hail we had the night before. I was astounded and felt a wee bit embarrassed. In fact, what I had experienced the night before was not snow but light hail instead.

However, I have a very fresh memory of how I experienced my first snow. A few years back, I remember how excited I was to finally be able to feel the snow in the palm of my hand. The feeling of waking up and witnessing a completely white scenery was rather breathtaking. It was pretty amazing to be able to see a snow flake, where every single one of them inherits different shapes and sizes, eventually gracefully melting into water within the warm contact of your skin. The refreshing cold just added to the content feeling I had while seeing snow fall. I survived the first winter without getting sick. Winter was not as bad as I anticipated it to be.

Mark Chung Kwan Fan is a first-year international graduate student from the island of Mauritius. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Student Affairs and Administration at MSU’s College of Education. His interests vary from Latin American culture to student affairs in the context of international education. Mark also serves as Orientation Intern at the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS).