Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

How to Pack Four Months in One Suitcase

So how does one pack a single suitcase to study abroad for four months? The thought of having to pack your entire life for a semester into one bag seems daunting. There are clothes, shoes, electronics, travel books, and an assortment of miscellaneous necessities to pack into one bag that cannot exceed 50 pounds. It’s nearly impossible, but can be done with a few steps. First things first – make a packing list. Include all the clothes you want to take, chargers and laptops, travel journal, and nail polish. Your packing list might be as specific as including 14 pairs of socks, 5 ink pens, and 2 hair brushes, or you might simply group everything into large categories: shirts, pants, shoes, etc. Either way, the list helps give you a mental note on what you are taking and a reminder as to what has been packed and what needs to be thrown in at the last second. Step two – sort your things and make piles. Determine which sweaters to take, how many pairs of jeans to bring, and decide if you really need to bring that extra pair of heavy boots (but of course you do, they are the only ones that match the new scarf you bought!). Once you have made an organized inventory, you can move on to step three – packing it in the suitcase. The piles are in order, you’ve eliminated unnecessary things, but somehow your suitcase is still exploding and you have to sit on it to force the bag to zip. You’ve included what you deem essential, but something still feels a little off. What about your great-grandmother’s handmade blanket, your adorable pets, tailgating season with your friends, or your parents’ unsolicited but always valuable advice?? These things can’t be squeezed into a bag to be taken across the Atlantic Ocean… Reality hits you as you realize you are really leaving for a whole semester to go into a complete unknown. You don’t know the city, you don’t know the school, you don’t know your roommates, and you don’t even know if you can find crunchy peanut butter at the grocery store. But when you put aside the fear of the unfamiliar, you realize you are moments away from embarking on one of the greatest journeys in your life. Even though you can’t take everything you want in a suitcase, you can still carry it with you in your heart. And hey, if you can’t live without something, there’s always a carry-on.

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