Preparing for the Big Adventure!

Headshot of Kiki Giles.
Kiki Giles
August 20, 2022

One thing is for sure when it comes to studying abroad: the actual studying is only half the battle. Before even landing in your host country, taking the time to prepare is incredibly important so that you hit the ground running in the best way. In the time approaching my study abroad experience in Rabat, I’ve noted three key points that have been incredibly helpful with this process. 

Talk to others who have studied abroad!

Before I even started applying for my program, I went to everyone I could find who had been abroad and practically bombarded them with questions. This included other students at my home institution who had studied abroad, both in the same location and in others, as well as faculty who had either studied or researched abroad. My home institution also has a Global Engagement Office to advise students such as myself on their study abroad endeavors, and it has provided tons of helpful advice throughout the process of preparing to study abroad in Rabat. 

In the process of talking to them, I was able to get a relatively holistic view of what studying abroad looked like. From the highs of excitement and exploration to the lows of homesickness, I felt as if I had a better idea of what I was getting into. Plus, I received endless encouragement regarding studying abroad from the people I spoke to, which made me feel more secure and supported in my choice to study abroad. 

Consider the idea of a capsule wardrobe!

In preparation for this upcoming experience, I have been trying to find every possible way to be as lightly packed as possible. The last thing I want is for most of my luggage space to be taken up by clothing when I could fill it with meaningful souvenirs over the course of my trip. Then, I stumbled upon the concept of the “capsule wardrobe” and immediately fell in love. 

It’s a simple philosophy, you want to pack the minimal amount of clothes while still having the maximum amount of options. By packing in this way, with only a few sets of clothes that work in many different potential outfits, you save so much time and effort when it comes to packing before you leave. Plus, you’ll find you have so much more space for accumulating memories while you’re abroad. 

There are a lot of different ways to create and utilize a capsule wardrobe, but my recommendation would be to include plenty of neutrals. They’ll match everything so much better, and it’ll be easier to accessorize with anything you buy in your host country. I’ve found that a palette of black, white, and beige/brown is a good place to start, with brighter colors acting as wonderful accents to the collection. 

Also, consider how much variety you need over the time that you'll be abroad. While abroad this past summer, I found that a combination of five tops and five bottoms (including dresses) was plenty for an eight-week-long program. However, as I buckle down on packing to go to Rabat, I think that a combination of ten tops and ten bottoms is a better range for the fifteen weeks I'll be living there this fall, taking into account the changes in weather. 

Be mindful of any anxieties you might be having! 

For a long time, I’ve struggled with the idea of being away from home in a foreign country for so long. However, whenever I can feel myself going down a spiral, I try to remind myself about the unique experiences that drew me to the program in Rabat, Morocco. Thinking about visiting the Middle Atlas Mountains, the Roman ruins at Volubilis, and the many cultural centers within Rabat always chases the anxiety away. Then, beyond the excursions that come with this program, the classes themselves are so diverse and riveting, and they’re classes I would otherwise not be exposed to at my home institution. In the end, these experiences are likely to be once-in-a-lifetime occurrences, and reminding myself of them makes the time away from home more than worth it.

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Headshot of Kiki Giles.

Kiki Giles

A rising junior hailing from the College of Wooster, I'm pursuing a double major in Anthropology and French/Francophone Studies with an accompanying double minor in MENA Studies and Statistical/Data Sciences. These intersecting fields brought me to my upcoming study abroad experience in Morocco, where I am incredibly excited to explore the many cultures and languages that have shaped this beautiful country. Other interests of mine include international baking, travel, and music.

2022 Fall, 2023 Spring
Home University:
College of Wooster, The
French Language
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