As usual, the summer flew by in the blink of an eye, and everyone at Centre is getting back into the groove of classes–except me. I’m preparing to become a world traveler. And an expert packer.

One week from today, as I leave for Strasbourg, France  to participate in one of Centre’s semester abroad programs, I will embark on a series of “firsts.” First time on an international flight alone. First time living abroad. First time living in an apartment, not a dorm. First time fitting my whole life in a suitcase for three months.

I hope this is a common problem among study abroad students. Sure, I’ve stocked up on the basics, but the other day I belatedly realized I should probably take a few small items to remind me of home, of my friends, of my life back in the US. This is not an easy task. I usually don’t hesitate to take anything to school with me. I don’t live too far from Danville, so unwanted clothes, blankets, and decorations can easily make the trip back to Louisville if needed. But now I have one suitcase, a space of roughly three by two feet, in which to contain everything I need to be me for three months.

At the same time I’m deciding between this skirt and that shirt, I like the challenge studying abroad presents. I’m paring down my life to the essentials, keeping in mind that objects will not give me the great experiences I know await me in Strasbourg. It’s the people and the sites I will see that will change me. My time in Strasbourg will be me muddling through conversations with my miming skills and broken French, finding the best croissants in the city, and undoubtedly getting lost a time or two. I can deal with one suitcase.


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