I know I am not the only one who has ever walked around campus completely bemused as to the outfits other students wear. Yes, our lovely Denver weather may fluctuate from a high of 85 degrees one day to snowing the next, but there should be some happy medium between unfortunately flaunting all your ASSets in revealing hot pants or showing of your manly pex in cutoff tees. These are two items that should be discarded immediately from your luggage while packing. That may just be a personal opinion, but from personal experience I can tell you that trying to fit in with the locals should be coordinated with dressing for the SEASON, not the WEATHER.
Actually research the weather of your host country, and even the fashion trends. The easiest way to stick out like a sore thumb is by wearing overly revealing clothing in the wrong season. Yes, it may be warm and sunny outside, but if it’s March and everyone is still wearing scarves, take note and maybe try to cover up a little more. I am not telling you to completely change your wardrobe, but the key to assimilating and becoming more involved and comfortable within your new host city should start from the outside. Do as the Romans Do! And dress as the Roman’s dress!
Along with appropriate seasonal dressing, take into account that all your DU clothing and any other obviously American items will also make you stick out. I watched a group of American students dressed in flip-flops, alma mater sweatshirts, sweatpants and sideways baseball caps be escorted off a bus in Rome because they did not buy tickets. The police went to them immediately because they were obviously American by the way they dressed, and stood out from everyone else on the crowded bus. Be a little daring, try something different, and change up your wardrobe a bit! It will hope you become more in tune with your new city, and will also help bypass a lot of “American” stereotypes.
Jillian Neilson, OIE Peer Advisor