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Fashion

Study Abroad Style: Pack My Suitcase With Me

If you are reading this, you might also be planning on studying abroad and facing the same challenges that I am. As I come closer to my fall semester in Berlin, it constantly feels like there are more forms to submit and additional preparations to be made.

Something that has crossed my mind one too many times is how I will pack luggage. It is beyond me how I will be able to condense my wardrobe AND all of my skincare products into just a few bags.

Lucky for you, I made a list of everything clothing-related that I will need to take note of moving forward. Here are some factors that you should consider as you pack.

Weather

Before anything else, you should figure out what time of the year you are going. If you are studying during the summer, determine what type of weather is typical for the area at that time, as well as how it may change seasonally during your stay. Depending on what hemisphere your destination is in, summer at home could be winter there.

If you will be abroad during the colder months, try to find ways to bring enough to keep you warm while still saving space. An insulated trench coat and an extra layer underneath work just as well as a puffer jacket while taking up half the space in your suitcase. Other layerable items like scarves, cardigans and leg warmers will be your best friends.

Cultural considerations

Wherever you are studying, you should be aware of the cultural differences that you will encounter. Some countries are more judgemental when it comes to unconventional dress, especially towards women. As long as you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes, you are doing the right thing. 

For example, as a student preparing to study abroad in Berlin, I do not have to hold myself back from self-expression, since it is an artistic, youthful and multicultural city. Despite this, there are still societal fashion norms that I need to consider, such as how shorts are uncommon and ripped jeans are typically an American style. 

Terrain

Before you start packing shoes, do some research on what to expect for roads and walkways in the area you are studying. Are cobblestone, brick or gravel paths common? If so, try bringing more practical footwear, like sneakers or flats, so long as they won’t give you blisters.

Remember, this should still be a time for fun, so be sure to bring a good pair of heels for nights out. Block heels or anything you feel sturdy in would be a more dependable choice over stilettos.

Reader, I feel your stress. There are a lot of factors that go into study abroad preparation, and it can get overwhelming. I promise you, the moment you step into a new country and feel that freedom, you will reflect with pride over all that you did to get there.

Ava Kidd is a sophomore in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at PSU. She is double majoring in Public Relations and German. On weekends, you can find her either volunteering at the local cat rescue or solving sudoku puzzles!
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