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Study Abroad in Alaska: Six Essential Clothing Items to Pack

October 31, 2018

If your mind and ISEP application lean towards University of Alaska Southeast: go for it! This place is an amazingly friendly community with breath-taking nature. However, if you want the nature to take your breath away in a positive way only, here are six clothing items you definitely must pack in your suitcase to stay warm and dry in a temperate rainforest.

1. Raincoat

It’s going to rain. A lot. To the point where, if it’s misty and sprinkling outside, you won’t even regard it as rain. However, the rain is no issue if a proper coat keeps you dry.

2. Waterproof Pants

Yes, they look silly. Remember: fashion does not exist in Southeast Alaska. I didn’t believe it when I came – and wrongly so. All that matters is comfort, dryness and warmth.

3. Hiking Shoes/Boots

If you don’t love the outdoors, I’m not sure why you’d be coming to Alaska. Presuming you do want to be outdoors, you’ll hike. Staying on campus and going downtown, you’ll not have seen any of Juneau. Proper footwear is crucial if you want to take a hike (and you do want it, trust me).

4. Winter Coat and Boots

The most common stereotype about Alaska? It is cold. And yes, it is cold. Right now, it’s only the end of September, but temperatures at night are well below freezing. Come prepared.

5. Comfy sweatpants

More than one pair. As stated before, fashion does not play a significant role (or any role at all) in Southeast Alaska. It is completely acceptable to walk around, go to class, shopping and elsewhere in sweatpants or hiking pants - and they are much warmer, more comfortable, and don’t get soaked through as quickly.

6. Wool Sweater and Socks

If you come from an area where it is warm, it might be enough for you to wear a hoodie against the cold. However, cotton or polyester do not preserve body temperature, no matter how thick the fabric. Wool is your best bet if you truly want to stay warm.

Remember: the more layers you wear, the warmer and less likely to get soaked you’ll be. The air between layers upon layers is what keeps you warm: be sure to bring enough clothes you can wear over one another! Happy hiking!

Maija is studying abroad in the U.S. with ISEP from University of Latvia.

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