Diversions

Study Abroad Series #1: Packing and Preparation

By Morgan Fretwell, Contributor

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Study abroad group preparing to board flight to China! Photo courtesy of Morgan Fretwell.

The time had come to begin packing for my study abroad trip to China.  This August, I spent the entirety of three days filling two oversized suitcases with the following clothing articles: 11 pairs of pants, nine pairs of shorts, 13 dresses, three sweatshirts, and countless t-shirts. I ignored instructions to take only four pairs of shoes as I felt inclined to pack every tennis shoe, flip flop, and ballet flat I own.  By the end of day three, my suitcase was stuffed to the brim.  I couldn’t help but wish that I could get away with the Spongebob Wardrobe: wearing the same squeaky outfit day in and day out.  If I were Spongebob, packing for a four month study abroad would have been much, much easier.

I was in a constant battle with resistant suitcase zippers and my household scale (most airlines allow your suitcase to weigh 50 pounds or they charge an extra 100 bucks!)  Sadly, upon my first weight check, I found myself having to make some tough calls: panda pillow-pet or textbook?

Additionally, I had an eventful trip to Target in which every passing soccer mom felt the need to share with me a dramatic personal experience or an opinion I didn’t ask for. The talkative women seemed to know everything about traveling to Europe, but less than nothing about Asia. A confused boy working in electronics was ever-so slightly more helpful than the moms. Although he didn’t quite know where China was on a map, he was just as surprised as I was at the exorbitant price of suitcases. After selling my right arm to pay for the suitcase, I left Target with everything I needed for my carry-on luggage.

On the day of my departure to a foreign country, I headed to the airport hauling 90 pounds of luggage. Luckily, my airline allowed me through check-in and security without any extra charges.  No toothpaste or eyedrops were confiscated either. Izzy Snyder, a sophomore studying abroad with me, was not so lucky.  She tried to get through security with a hefty jar of almond butter, but apparently the TSA counts this nutty snack a liquid, because they threw it in the trash.  Her jar of applesauce somehow made the cut.  Nevertheless, regardless of our financial and material losses, we were excited to have the preparation phase of this journey behind us.

Read next week’s issue to find out how my travels to China and first week of classes went!

The time had come to begin packing for my study abroad trip to China.  This August, I spent the entirety of three days filling two oversized suitcases with the following clothing articles: 11 pairs of pants, nine pairs of shorts, 13 dresses, three sweatshirts, and countless t-shirts. I ignored instructions to take only four pairs of shoes as I felt inclined to pack every tennis shoe, flip flop, and ballet flat I own.  By the end of day three, my suitcase was stuffed to the brim.  I couldn’t help but wish that I could get away with the Spongebob Wardrobe: wearing the same squeaky outfit day in and day out.  If I was Spongebob, packing for a four month study abroad would have been much, much easier.

I was in a constant battle with resistant suitcase zippers and my household scale (most airlines allow your suitcase to weigh 50 pounds or they charge an extra 100 bucks!)  Sadly, upon my first weight check, I found myself having to make some tough calls: panda pillow-pet or textbook?

Additionally, I had an eventful trip to Target in which every passing soccer mom felt the need to share with me a dramatic personal experience or an opinion I didn’t ask for. The talkative women seemed to know everything about traveling to Europe, but less than nothing about Asia. A confused boy working in electronics was ever-so slightly more helpful than the moms. Although he didn’t quite know where China was on a map, he was just as surprised as I was at the exorbitant price of suitcases. After selling my right arm to pay for the suitcase, I left Target with everything I needed for my carry-on luggage.

On the day of my departure to a foreign country, I headed to the airport hauling 90 pounds of luggage. Luckily, my airline allowed me through check-in and security without any extra charges.  No toothpaste or eyedrops were confiscated either. Izzy Snyder, a sophomore studying abroad with me, was not so lucky.  She tried to get through security with a hefty jar of almond butter, but apparently the TSA counts this nutty snack a liquid, because they threw it in the trash.  Her jar of applesauce somehow made the cut.  Nevertheless, regardless of our financial and material losses, we were excited to have the preparation phase of this journey behind us.

 

Categories: Diversions, Uncategorized

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