Packing for studying abroad

Packing clothes for any sort of travel has always been a problem I could never solve. Being the clotheshorse that I am, leading up to my year abroad in Rome I packed…unpacked….and repacked…over and over again. It seemed like I was always trying to make one more pair of shoes fit, squeeze in a couple more tank tops, and shove every belt I have ever owned inside that poor suitcase. 

There are varying personal factors that will affect how successful each student will be in making their luggage manageable, and unfortunately I had two big strikes against me. First, I was studying abroad for an entire year, 365 days of four different seasons. Secondly, I am girl. A girl who loves clothes, accessories, shoes, and jewelry. I couldn’t bear to leave anything behind, so I didn’t. This decision was the best and worst I could have made.  On one hand, I had the limitless option of my entire wardrobe to choose from on a daily basis, which was a huge creature comfort for me. But the consistent monthly shopping trips started creating a pile of clothes that had no other home other than my bedroom floor.

I started to throw out or donate one piece of clothing for every new one I bought, which made my fashion booty manageable until it was time for me to return home. I had four over-weight suitcases, no matter how many times I rearranged or tried to empty them. My breaking point was at the Rome International Airport, when an unfriendly Italian flight attendant would not let me on the plane until I dropped 8 kilos out of my carry on.  So, my lesson was learned the hard way as I threw away shoes, old t-shirts, and put a few more layers of clothes on.

To end this tale on a positive note, as I unpacked a years-worth of clothing from Rome, I discovered I had an entirely new wardrobe to play with. There is really no moral to this story, but just remember to pack wisely and be ready to experience an entire wardrobe upheaval if you are anything like me.

– Jillian Neilson, DUSA Peer Advisor

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