By Matt Ridge
Elm Staff Writer
International students face a countless amount of challenges during their time here abroad. One that probably goes unrecognized is that of fashion. International students cannot bring their entire wardrobe for obvious reasons, so they must be very selective in what they bring. For some, it becomes a choice between appearance and practicality. Exchange student Alana West, from Melbourne, Australia, has been in the US for four months. I sat down with her to ask a few questions about her experience with bringing clothing abroad and her thoughts on American fashion.
Q: Do you feel you brought enough to wear?
A: I did not. I don’t think I brought nearly enough. It’s okay to wear the same thing everyday for a few months, but after a while it gets to be tough. Especially when you want to look cute. I think all the internationals feel this way. Plus I didn’t bring any spring clothing options, so while everyone is loving this warm weather, I’m not doing too well with it.
Q: Would you say internationals over or under pack their clothes?
A: Unlike the rest of the internationals, I under-packed. I think most over-pack, though. Most people over-pack because they get stressed.
Q: Do you have ways of getting new clothing? If so, how?
A: I do a lot of online shopping. At the start of the year, the school sponsored lots of trips to take us to malls and other places for us to go shopping and buy things, but now I’m too lazy to actually go out or go on the trips. So I prefer to online shop. It’s quicker, I think.
Q: How do you feel about American fashion?
A: It’s different than Australian fashion. Australia has an eclectic mix of fashion. There, you have lots of different ways people dress. You have a large portion who dress like hipsters, but then you have a big group of preps and then others who dress fancy. I could keep going on, but here in America, everyone dresses similar; everyone dresses the same. Here in Chestertown, it’s a lot more casual than in Melbourne. I found in New York, however, that everyone was dressed up, so it may just depend on where you are.
West had one more thing to say about American fashion. Involving the popular Aussie trend Ugg boots that has taken American girls by storm. West says everyone here is doing it wrong.
“This is a major fashion difference between Americans and Australians. In Australia, you would not be caught dead outside of your house in Ugg boots. They are slippers. Even guys wear them, but never as anything other than slippers, but here girls wear them everywhere. I would never wear them out to the super market, but yet here, it is apparently the thing to do. I don’t get it.”
West is in no way speaking for all internationals, but she does feel her thoughts reflect many of the general views of this group of students. Though internationals have limited resources here when it comes to shopping, most, like West, rely on online shopping and still manage to look fashionable almost every day.