Your life in 50 pounds

No matter what your nationality, if you are not in driving distance from the Mercyhurst College campus, you will have to fly to get here.

For you, packing all your belongings in a 50-pound suitcase may be the hardest part of your college experience. If you’re an international student, you want to do some research before starting to stuff your entire closet into a bag.

First, check the airline’s Web page to find baggage weight and size specifications and look to see if they have an extra charge for bags. If you are lucky enough to be traveling with family, try to steal some of their baggage space for extras.

For the most part, pack winter clothing. Erie is cold, windy and covered in snow for a large part of the academic year. There are only a few hot weeks at the beginning of fall term and end of spring term, so don’t bring 10 pairs of flip-flops. Pack your Uggs instead.

If you want to bring things for your apartment, limit yourself to a photo frame. Try to maximize your baggage space and bring things that you cannot replace here, such as clothing and shoes.

If you want to decorate your dorm, it is best to buy things once you are here. Target has very nice, affordable college merchandise at the beginning of each year. Make sure to buy cabinets and boxes that will fit under your bed to keep things organized and make the most of your space.

Don’t forget to pack some traditional things from home to give as presents to friends and teachers. You will find people will constantly ask about where you’re from. Don’t let this annoy you; it is an opportunity to teach people about your country and culture.

Remember that even though it would be nice to pack your entire room and ship it over, you only have two 50-pound bags and a carry-on to carry it all. On the bright side, the less you have, the less you have to move into storage at the end of the year.

A final word of advice from experience: When going back home for summer or Christmas, check your country’s customs laws beforehand. There may be some regulations regarding what you can and cannot take in to the country (mostly fruit and meats).

You should definitely get some presents for your family back home – but make sure you don’t end up paying a $300 fine for taking Slim Jims to your dad.