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Study Abroad Packing Tips from a Fashion Marketing & Merchandising Student

by Sophia Triche
AIFS students at Milan Cathedral in Italy during their Fashion Marketing and Merchandising multi-destination study abroad program

Whether you’re in Europe or on any other continent, studying abroad means you have to pack things that you deem to be essential prior to arriving in a new place. While packing for my three-week multi-destination Fashion Marketing and Merchandising study abroad program with AIFS, I tried to be thrifty and save space without sacrificing a killer outfit. This meant basics, dresses and holding back on shoes (which I was particularly sad about).

As I finish up my second week living out of my big red suitcase, here are some study abroad packing tips and things I’ve learned:

You are going to have forgotten something, and it’s okay!

The first of my study abroad packing tips has to do with leaving something at home accidentally. If you forget something essential, such as shampoo (oops) or a certain piece of jewelry you wanted, you can always find something similar abroad to replace it. While it was irritating to not have the same brands as home, part of being abroad is learning to think on your feet and adapt!

Keep your clothes folded!

If you’re on a multi-destination program like me, you’ll find that by the time you are en route to your next city, your belongings might not fit quite the same way as when you packed them at first. It is much easier to re-pack and maintain sanity when things are organized — so be sure to fold your clothes. This will help you when getting dressed in the morning, and when you are in a rush because you have ten minutes to change before going on to a different adventure. You will thank yourself later!

Get creative with what you wear!

Sometimes you can totally change a look by adding a different belt or a scarf, both of which are small enough to pack a couple of. Don’t be scared to re-wear outfits; it’s easy to make it look different. Wear your hair differently, add a fun lipstick — be creative. Anything can change it up.

Pack your favorite sweatshirt.

This is one of my biggest regrets and one of my most pertinent study abroad packing tips! I tried to save space in my suitcase for anything I might acquire while abroad, so I didn’t pack my favorite sweatshirt. But, I find myself wishing for the comfort and familiarity of my ratty old sweatshirt that I have been wearing since I was a sophomore in high school. Little things like this can give you a little bit of support when you are missing home or when you can’t call your family because it is 3 AM their time!

While living out of a suitcase is not something I can say I adore, I have almost grown to enjoy it. It has taught me so much about adaptability and being in an uncomfortable situation that brings you immense growth. I have grown attached to my big red suitcase and will miss lugging it around Europe when I am home!

AIFS students at Milan Cathedral in Italy during their Fashion Marketing and Merchandising multi-destination study abroad program
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