What 4 Fashion Items To Bring (And What 4 Not To Bring) On Your Summer Study Abroad

By Victoria Robertson on June 13, 2015

Studying abroad is the experience of a lifetime: going to new places, meeting new people and experiencing a different culture. There really isn’t anything like it.

But what to bring? And what to leave at home?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are four things to bring and four things to leave when you go on your study abroad trip this summer.

What To Bring 

1. Comfy Shoes

Comfy doesn’t mean unfashionable, but it does mean you should be able to spend quite a bit of time in them.

Study abroad trips entail a lot of sight-seeing, which usually means a lot of walking. If you were planning on buying a gorgeous new pair of shoes before the trip, do it sooner rather than later and make sure they’re completely broken in and that you’re comfortable in them before you pack them.

There’s nothing worse than blistered feet and the knowledge you still have another 8-day trip you need to suffer in the shoes that caused them.

2. Rain Gear

Usually, rain gear isn’t fashionable. However, there are many ways to make it fashionable, and you’re going to want to, because you will absolutely need it at least one day during your trip.

You don’t need to buy clunky, ugly rain boots, but waterproof shoes you’re comfortable in and a rain jacket that fits your style and serves its purpose.

Fashion is important, but so is remaining healthy and the ability to participate in all activities while studying abroad, no matter the weather.

3. Clothes For All Weather

Even though this is a summer trip, you aren’t at all familiar with the foreign country’s weather patterns. You know by now how unreliable the patterns are back at home, so why would they be any different abroad?

My suggestion is to pack at least one outfit for colder weather, that way you have it and can wash and re-wear it if need be. I know there isn’t always a ton of space while packing, so just jeans and a nice sweater will do. Anything is better than nothing.

4. Backup Shoes

If you’re a flip flop kind of girl, or just have been in a situation before where your shoes have been ruined, you’ll understand why this is a necessity.

On my last study abroad, I blew out my flip-flops and my host family had to donate another pair to me because I had nothing but gym shoes with me, and those weren’t going to cut it on the beach.

So be prepared for such situations: I suggest a pair of gym shoes, two pairs of flip flops and nicer shoes for nights out and other more elegant occasions. While you want to save space, you also want to be as prepared as possible.

What To Leave

1. Jewelry

Bringing jewelry on a study abroad trip is always a bad idea. While we all like to look nice, and jewelry is the perfect accessory for most outfits, packing that precious pearl necklace you pair with everything is a huge no.

For one thing, all items have a potential to get stolen, especially when you’re in a foreign country and leaving your belongings in your hotel for long periods of time. For another thing, nice jewelry can alert people to the amount of money you have, whether that’s a correct assumption or not, and increases the potential for you to be mugged/robbed.

So the bottom line: leave the jewelry at home and accessorize with something else.

2. Anything Uncomfortable

Most study abroad trips entail a lot of activity: walking, working, etc. So you’re going to want to dress for the occasion. Of course, this isn’t to say that you have to leave fashion back in the U.S.

Instead, make sure you try on your new study abroad outfits before you leave home to make sure you are comfortable walking around all day in them. If you feel your skirt is constantly riding up or your shirt is a little too tight, don’t bring them.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so definitely test run all your clothes before you leave for the airport.

3. Sweats

While you should be comfortable, you shouldn’t look like you just woke up from a nap. Yoga pants are a good alternative to those ratty sweats as well as looser, more breathable clothing items such as jeggings.

While visiting another country, you want to be respectable, and dressing like a respectable person is just a part of that process. So find an alternative to the sweats ladies, you certainly won’t want them with you.

4. Expensive Bags

As stated before, you need to be careful about what your outfit is saying about you. If you bring your brand new Coach purse with you, there will be implications, and you aren’t going to like them.

Leave all things designer at home; don’t draw the wrong attention.

There are many other things to bring and leave, and I suggest conferring with your advisor before departure. Whatever they suggest: bring it. You won’t regret it, even if you end up not needing it.

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