One Suitcase...

Helena Haynes
December 28, 2021

I am officially leaving for London in less than three weeks. After months of questioning whether study abroad is actually happening, and years of anticipating this semester, it feels surreal to think about how close I am now. Like everyone else, I’ve spent hours fantasizing about the places I want to explore in London and the people I hope to meet. I’m the kind of person who thrives off of being in a city, so it’s hard to contain the excitement I have about moving to London for the whole semester. Even though there is so much to look forward to, I think people do underestimate how much needs to be done before you can move across the world. 

As my flight quickly approaches, I’ve tried to check all the boxes. I got new debit/credit cards without foreign transaction fees, I researched sim cards for my phone, and I bought UK adapters for all of my chargers. At this point, there’s only one thing on my mind…packing. I’m sure if you’re someone who’s planning to study abroad, the thought has crossed your mind that one day you’re going to have to pack up your life into one suitcase (maybe two if you’re lucky). As someone who admittedly has a bit of a shopping addiction and an overpacking problem, this has been the biggest hurdle in my preparations that I’ve had to face. 

Taking the advice of those who have studied abroad before me, I’m limiting myself to just one big suitcase, in addition to my carry-on and my backpack. As I’ve entered the beginning stages of packing, there’s a few things I’ve had to come to terms with. Although packing may not be a big stressor for many, I know there’s others out there like me who will need this advice eventually…

  • Limit yourself to a capsule wardrobe! Try to stick to neutral colors. 
  • Don’t bring skincare and haircare products that can be purchased abroad! 
  • Remeber medication and contacts, if applicable.
  • Avoid packing items for your room or other nonessentials. 
  • You don’t need all of those shoes. (No, seriously)
  • Invest in a reliable bag. I recommend a crossbody! 

When looking over this list, it all comes down to sticking to the basics. I’ve found packing to be so much easier now that I’ve been limiting myself to pieces that will match and be practical for London. Especially when it comes to bags and shoes, it’s essential to consider safety and usability. I also think it’s important to realize that many things can be purchased once you get to your study abroad destination. I’m already planning to repurchase items when I land such as shampoo, conditioner, and skincare, so that they don’t weigh down my suitcase. Of course, the thought of shopping once I get there is also appealing, so I've saved up some money to buy clothes that I either want, or realize I need throughout the program. I know I'll want to buy clothes that fit in more with the London aesthetic once I see what people are wearing out in the city. I also have a feeling I'll need some more clothes for the rainy weather. 

In just a few short weeks, I’ll be starting my study abroad journey, and I can’t wait to keep you all in the loop. Stay tuned for some updated advice about packing, as I’m sure I’ll learn more once I get there, and look out for other posts about my classes, London recommendations, and my experience as a whole. Words cannot describe how excited I am to immerse myself in the city, meet new people, and learn more about myself and the world around me. Wish me luck zipping up my suitcase on January 17th…

Helena Haynes

<p>Hi there! My name is Helena Haynes and I’m a third year student at Penn State University majoring in Advertising with minors in Information Sciences &amp; Technology and Digital Media Trends &amp; Analytics. I love being involved on campus with things I’m passionate about, and I’ve had the opportunity to serve as President of the Advertising/Public Relations Club, Research/Strategy Co-Lead for our advertising competition team, and as a Print Writer for VALLEY Magazine, a life and style magazine here at Penn State. In my free time you can find me cooking, watching Sex and the City, or spending way too much time on LinkedIn. I’m so excited to be studying abroad in London this semester and I can’t wait to explore the city and learn more about the culture. I hope you follow along on my journey with me!</p>

2022 Spring
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