Mundanities: Laundry

Written by Valerie

Before having gone abroad myself, my initial thoughts surrounding the concept were always the same. I thought it was glamorous. How could it not be? A bunch of young adults living in another country together while being full-time students during the weekdays and full-time travelers on the weekends sounds almost cinematic. While this remains a reality about studying abroad, other key aspects are just as important a part of the life of a student abroad.

While you are not in your dorm room and somewhere outside your current country of residence, there is mundaneness awaiting your attention when you get back: those everyday household activities that some of us go to great lengths to avoid while others of us choose to do when we want to procrastinate our homework. Nevertheless, I’m here to talk about what tackling some of those chores looks like while attending Georgia Tech Europe in a multiple-part series about the mundane activities during life inside the dorm. Keep in mind the following information is solely based on my opinion and everyone’s experience is different.

Let’s start the series with the topic of laundry. I think I can say with utmost certainty that laundry day is the most dreadful of the chores on campus. There is no way out of it either — you must have clean clothes. Considering we could only bring as much as we could drag through the airport, we must all be outfit repeaters. Once the laundry basket fills up, it’s time to prepare for laundry day. In the residence building most of us are staying in, called Lafayette, there is a laundry room on the ground floor that everyone shares. This room has three washing machines, three dryers, and a little machine against the wall where you pay. A single load in the washer costs 3€ and a load in the dryer costs 1€. In total, this amounts to 4€ or $4.20 in US dollars according to the current currency exchange rate. However, if you are like me and can’t bring yourself to mix your colors with your whites, then you must do a second load in the washer, but it will still likely all fit in the dryer. However, the dryers are a little different than the ones in the United States. My professor called it “European dry” which is the term used to express how the dryers in Europe leave the clothes damp after the cycle is over. To tackle this, most Europeans use drying racks or clotheslines outside their home. The hot European sun handles the rest. However, we live in an apartment-style building that does not have access to outdoor clotheslines. So, the only options for you as students are to either buy a drying rack from the local store, put your clothes in the dryer as many times as needed, or decorate your room with your clothes until they dry. The drying rack in the local French version of a Walmart is 25€. This seemed a little pricey to me considering it will likely not fit all of my clothes on it anyway, so I simply do anywhere between two and three loads in the dryer depending on how many clothes I stuff in there. This seemed like the best option to me because then I could put all my clothes away immediately instead of having clothes spread around for a couple of days.

I hope this helps all the future students looking to study abroad here at Georgia Tech. Stay tuned for the next topic about household duties in the dorm.