Saying So Long to America

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See you later, America! {Image via}

This is it. Get you tissues out, patriots. I am hopping across the pond to Prague, Czech Republic for an entire semester. What will I do without Chipotle for four whole months!? Needless to say, this is the longest time that I have been away from home, the States and all of the creature comforts I have learned to love. Many students travel abroad while in college, especially to Europe. But this is not life in a beautiful hotel on your parents dime! This is living – taking classes, buying groceries, attempting to speak the native language and being responsible.

In my last week in the States, I was forced to ask myself: 

What must I say good bye to?

1.  American Food

We are so lucky to live in a world where we speak the language of great food! Whether these are hometown favorites, mom’s home cooked meals or maybe your favorite fast food? Europe is known for its fantastic food, but you may miss some of your old regulars. Use the final week to savor your last meals and remember how lucky you are to have so many different options at your disposal.

2.  Cell Phone Data

When living abroad, data and international charges will add up. Generally, American students will download apps for Wi-Fi based messages and will utilize a “Go Phone” for emergency calls and texts. Get ready for a flood of messages in wireless networked areas – and be sure to make plans ahead of time. The days of scrolling Instagram under the table are over!

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One of these babies are a must! {Image via}

What can I not live without?

Decide early what your “live and die” products are. What can you not live without? Face wash? Conditioner? A specific brand of toothpaste? Brands are certainly different (and often work a little differently) than American products, so if you are attached to a specific mouthwash, be sure to buy in bulk and leave room in the suitcase! For me, this item is my face wash. Decide what is most important to bring – and ultimately, to be sacrificing clothing-weight in your luggage for.

What should I wait to buy in Europe?

1.  Appliances and certain electronics.

European outlets not only shaped differently but also run on a different electric frequency. This means that even when using a converter, you can “fry” your appliances. So, wait to buy heavy hairdryers, straighteners and other electronic accessories in-country.

2.  Bulky or heavy items.

You will soon realize how precious space and luggage weight is. With one (or two) suitcases limited to 50 pounds (unless you’re interested in a $200 overage fee), you will fill with up with clothes and sweaters faster than you would have thought. In this case, things like an extra towel, rain boots or toiletries of brands you’re not attached to can be bought at any nearby department store. Often, things that are particularly large or heavy have many cheap equivalents. Another hint: if you don’t mind carrying the bag, put heavy items like purses and parkas in a larger carry-on, rather than a weighted bag.

Your new 'hood. You will love it.

Your new ‘hood. You will love it.

Remember: at the end of the day, you are going to have the time of your life! Living in Europe is unlike anything else I have experienced. Whatever clothes, boots or makeup you do or do not bring, you will make new friends, deeper understandings and experience a culture different from your own. So pack your bags as best you can, eat your last burger and crack open that guidebook!


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  • Reply September 3, 2013

    Zoe Bjornson

    Ah – have a great time abroad! The 4 months I spent in Copenhagen were the best times of my life and I’m planning on applying for a job in Denmark!

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