A fashion abroad experience

One year ago I was supposed to study abroad in Egypt. The moment I found out I was accepted into the exchange program, my preferences when clothes-spotting changed a lot. I studied the photos my future classmates had uploaded to Facebook and tried to copy their style. For the first time in my life I craved for loose fitted long sleeved tops with high necklines. My goal was to melt into Egyptian society and dress like the students there. Unfortunately, my exchange program was cancelled two months before I was supposed to go and at the time, my wardrobe was fully updated with clothes I have never worn.

Six months later I got the opportunity to attend an exchange program at CCSU in the United States. Since I thought the American culture was much more similar to the Swedish, I didn’t think so much about what clothes to bring. Having grown up watching Grease and other college movies I thought I had a good idea about how the American students dress. But no, the first day of school I found out how much it actually differs. I felt totally overdressed when I walked into the classroom, wearing the clothes I usually wear at the university in Sweden. The student fashion at CCSU is much more casual than I am used to and there are for example a lot of students wearing sweatpants for class. I soon realized that I had brought way too much formal clothing and that I wouldn’t walk around in my high heels for long.

Talking to the other international students I found out that they have had a similar experience. One thing that surprised them the most is that some American students show up for class wearing pyjamas. That is something you would never do in our home countries. On the other hand, many of us international students are not used to living on campus. For example, most international students would have to travel by metro, bus or car to get to university and so wearing pyjamas to university would seem much more strange. Even though I would personally never consider walking around campus in my pyjamas, I must admit that it is quite nice to dress down. I have gone to class wearing my dance clothes a few times, which felt a bit weird but quite comfortable.


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