The Ultimate TWC Packing Guide

The Ultimate TWC Packing Guide

All students at The Washington Center have faced the same challenge while getting ready for this great adventure: packing their suitcase.


Most of us have been through the process of: selecting clothes, packing them, reflecting on your choices, unpacking everything, rethinking your entire life, packing other clothes, having a panic attack and ending up packing the exact same clothes you packed the first time.

Packing for TWC means packing clothes for about four months, six different occasions (business professional, business casual, casual, super-cozy-pajama-casual and clothes to ‘network’ in on the dance floor) and two seasons (very hot summer followed by a chilly/medium-cold fall). Not to mention the fact that even though it is hotter than a dragon’s breath outside, the second you step inside you will freeze (due to air-conditioning).

There are so many different aspects to keep in mind during this process. So, start unpacking unnecessary items to make sure that somewhere in that huge pile of stuff you're bringing you have the pieces of clothing that you need. Lucky for you in order to help you save a lot of time, effort and money I will help clarify what you need to bring!




  • Business attire: I had absolutely no idea what business attire meant before starting at TWC. Basically it means that you need to buy a suit, which sounds more horrifying than it is. The key is that your pants and blazer need to be the same color. Under your blazer, you can wear whatever you want: a shirt or a top, just keep it professional-looking. I bought two different suits: a black one (Banana Republic) and a navy one (H&M). If you need more information about the difference between ‘business professional’ and ‘business casual,' you can find it in TWC alumni Katie’s blog post on business casual vs. business professional.
  • Casual attire: This means regular clothes that you wear on a daily basis. Like I mentioned before, you will probably need to pack for two seasons. When I arrived in August, it is still pretty hot in D.C. If I had only packed sweaters and t-shirts with long sleeves, I would have melted the moment I stepped outside. Now that it is September, the weather has started to change. Most of the time it will still be hot, but some days there might be a surprising chill. Last but not least, it is -1000° inside most buildings because of the air conditioning everywhere, so always bring a sweater with you to your internship site. It’s all about the layers people!
  • Very casual attire: Make sure that you bring a pair of sweatpants and some oversized sweaters. There's nothing better than changing into comfortable clothes when you get home from your internship and just want to hang out in the couch.
  • Networking on the dance floor clothes: There are a lot of bars and nightclubs in the D.C. area. Don’t forget to bring some clothes to wear for these occasions, too!

Other items

Clothes make up a big part of your suitcase, but here are some items that you need to keep in mind too (a.k.a. things that I forgot about).


  • Towels: In addition to bathroom towels, you should also bring kitchen towels, as they are not provided by TWC and drying off pans with paper towels is not ideal.
  • Toilet paper: Pack at least one roll of toilet paper! There will be no toilet paper when you arrive at the apartment (except if you have a roommate who is smart and bought some – thank you Blythe!).
  • Umbrella: You should absolutely bring an umbrella. Being from Belgium, I know a thing or two about rain, but the D.C. rain always catches me by surprise. If you forgot to bring an umbrella, you can buy one in D.C. (they have cheap ones at IKEA, just saying…)
  • Computer: For international students: don’t forget to bring a few adapters! Plugs are different in the US, in case you forgot!
  • Small decorative items: You can always buy stuff upon arrival to decorate your room with, but you can also bring small items from home. I brought a photo string and a bunch of Polaroid pictures. Instant decoration on my whole wall and three minutes of work!

I hope that reading this blog post has helped organize the mess in your head a little and that packing is less of challenge than it felt like.



On that note, dry those tears, breathe and have fun packing! I will see you again next week!


I wave you goodbye,


Read Hélène's previous blog posts

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