Although exchange students might not fully be aware of the real extension that ten/five months have, after a couple of weeks your closet seems to get smaller and more boring everyday (especially if you are not shopping too often or as much as you thought). This is why it is so important to pack the right things into the small luggage that you take with you on the plane and not waste the space for clothing items you will not end up wearing, just because they are not climate/culture appropriate . So here is a list of things to pack and what to let at home. It is based on an exchange year in the southern states of the U.S., ranging from august until june, but anybody is welcome to take ideas off of this post.
I also provided a small overview of what you should pack less and what more of, in the whole ratio of the amount you pack.
Of course you need a base of clothing items. But I would recommend you to pack less shorts, dresses/skirts and short-sleeved shirts, generally anything for summer, as the colder seasons will arrive first when starting your exchange year in august and air-conditioning is used any and everywhere without you sweating or being much outside. By the time it gets warmer again you will probably have been out shopping a lot for the next season and getting all the American styles in, that you will not wear your old tees and tanks much.
The same concept with shoes. The styles and variety (depending on where you live at home) are so different that you will want to buy something in every store.
DO pack sweaters and jackets/cardigans that you can throw over, as the air-conditioning might be very uncomfortable and you will want to wear something cozy for school, trust me.
You won’t need many pj’s nor much underwear and socks that take up space, as you are probably going to wash your laundry about once a week. And pack some sports clothes, even if you don’t plan on doing school-sports (though highly recommended). You never know!
For jewelry, I took a bit too much with me. At the moment I am only wearing my favorite necklace and occasionally some bracelets. And if you want to safe more space for heavy sweaters and presents or your luggage is too small, leave purses and book bags at home and buy them in the next mall after arriving.
Now, have fun packing!