Studying Abroad in Europe: How to Make the Dreaded 50 lb. Limit



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You’re sitting in your room staring at the single suitcase in front of you.  Just bring one suitcase for the semester, they said.  How do you fit four months of your life into one suitcase?! Well, here are some tips of things NOT to bring in order to maximize space, and make the weight limit.


1.Rain Boots

I know what you’re thinking, “don’t bring my rain boots?! But it rains all the time in Europe, and my rain boots are so cute”.  Europe is a fashion hot spot, you can hit any local store, grab an adorable pair of rain boots for cheap, and be on your way.  Plus, you will then have a pair of rain boots to match the locals.  No matter how cute those rain boots are, there are so many more articles of clothing you can pack with those few pounds! Trust me, you’ll be glad you brought those few extra shirts to layer and those one pair of jeans instead of your chunky rain boots.


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Umbrellas can be bulky, oversized, and down right heavy.  Trying to fit one of these into your suitcase or your backpack will take up too much room.  It is very easy to buy an umbrella on almost every street corner throughout Europe.  These umbrellas will be cheap, and save you a lot of money compared to paying for an overweight suitcase.


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3.Multiple Winter Coats

You’re sitting in your room packing, and your winter coats are all hanging there.  Of course, all your winter coats are adorable, but do you really need more than one? Hint: you do not! One winter coat will get you through an European Winter, especially if you are traveling to Southern Europe!


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A common fear is that Europe will be overwhelming, and you won’t have any time to find the stores you need.  While many European cities may contain buildings that are hundreds of years old, that does not mean that they don’t have modern stores! Most likely, you will get to Europe in plenty of time before your classes begin.  You will have plenty of time to find your local bookstore, grab some things you need for class, since you are there to study, and get familiar with your city as well! Bringing notebooks from your local Staples or Office Max is not worth the weight in your suitcase!


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5.Food From Home

You love your goldfish and your favorite candy that you wont find in Europe. But, bringing these items will add unwanted weight to your suitcase.  Enjoy the new food surrounding your apartment. Find the fresh pastries being baked near you. Grab the bag of chips that look great even though you can’t read the name.  You will even be surprised at how much food you can find that will remind you of home.


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Studying abroad is an adventure, and part of that adventure is immersing yourself in the culture you’re placed in. Dress like a local in your new rain boots, rock the one winter coat you brought from home, get lost in a local book store, and enjoy the incredible food all around you!


Shannon Murphy is Senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Political Science.  Shannon spent the Fall 2015 Semester in Florence Italy.