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How Many Suitcases are You Taking?

One. Forty four pounds. A backpack too, at a maximum of 8 INCHES x 16 INCHES x 21 INCHES and twenty two pounds, but you can’t be picky when someone is flying you across the ocean and you are at their mercy. Humor aside, that is plenty of space to fit your life. You are leaving most of it behind anyway.

You can’t take your friends abroad with you. Or your schedule, your school, your family, your pets, your room, or most of the things that make your home, home. But that is what makes being and exchange student so great: you get a new life. You can develop a new style or a new personality or even reinvent everything about yourself.

Keeping that in mind, I am only packing the essentials for my year in Germany. As my school’s German exchange student put it, “We have coats in Germany!” Because I am moving to the northern coast of Germany, I planned my wardrobe around cold, windy, and rainy weather, just as my host parents advised me to do.

My packing list:

Black Jeans

Two pair blue jeans

Fourteen pairs of underwear

One bra

Four cardigans

Four heavy sweaters

One rainjacket

Two hoodies

Two button downs

Two long sleeves

Seven tee shirts

One pajama set

One pair of sweatpants

One pair of black leggings

Two pair heavy socks

Ten pair sneaker socks

Fashion sneakers

Running sneakers


L.L.Bean boots (Waterproof)

Black chelsea equestrian boots (for fashion and possible horse riding)


Running Gear: two leggings, two bras, two jackets, two shorts, one tee shirt, long sleeve tea, two bras, Garmin watch

American flag and German flag


Laundry bags

Two menstrual cups

Ear studs (3 sizes)

Year’s worth supply of acne tea treatment


Acne wash, spot treatment, mousturizer

One year’s worth of contacts

Nickel allergy medication

Ten bottles of Lactaid




Carry On:


Glasses, Contact wash/container

Laptop and accessories


Small German-English dictionary

Wallet (with money, identification, insurance, and debit cards)

Portable charger, phone charger, laptop charger

Water bottle


Basic Toilettry bag

Map of Germany for my new room

AFS paperwork (Residence permit pictures, guidebooks, parental consent, passport)








P.S. Don’t forget your AFS luggage tags and an open mind!

Bonus: My cat Cole, who decided last minute that she wanted to move to Germany too


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