STUDY // What to pack for your study abroad

Friday, 7 August 2015

Hello!
So, you're leaving for your year abroad eh? You're probably sitting in your room, looking at a pile of 8 pairs of jeans and pondering how you'll cut your selection down to just 3 pairs. If you aren't yet, you will do soon and I suggest you do this sooner rather than later - y'know - just in case. You don't want to pack the day before to find your favourite jeans have a massive hole in them and the shops close in 10 minutes (not personal experience AT all).


Anyway, when I went on my year abroad I scoured the internet looking for help with what to pack. I didn't find too much that I didn't already know and so found I was horrifically underprepared. Okay, maybe that is an overstatement. However, I thought I'd share a few things with you that just may make the transition easier and you'll be so glad you packed.

1. Travel Pillow and something that you can use as a blanket for your first night.
I'm not the kind of girl who takes travel pillows or blankets when I go flying - even long haul. I never find them comfortable. I ordered my bedding from the university and arranged with them for my friend to pick it up. However, I landed to find that they lost my order and I had no bedding that first night. Such fun. Sure, if you're getting an early flight in and the bookstore/a store is open this isn't a problem but is 100% worth taking into consideration if you land after 3pm. A sleeping bag will do if you expect to do a lot of camping and have the room but there are far more important things to pack (in my opinion). Even if you just sneak out the airline pillow and blanket - you'll be glad you have something.

2. A wide range of clothes (but not a lot of anything)
I think I packed quite well considering I knew I wouldn't do much clothes shopping (come on - Canadian fashion doesn't have it up to the British High Street). Take summer clothes for the first couple of months and plenty that you can layer. I ended up buying jumpers and a ski jacket as I didn't have much that was appropriate in the colder months. Of course, if where your going does not have an extreme winter or summer you don't need a ski jacket or factor 90 suncream but it's best to have something for all weathers. 

3. Things you cannot get at home
And by this, I may mean food. If you are going to somewhere you cannot get British chocolate, of course take some with you! Take individually wrapped bars though. They'll last longer in the long run. Those big bars CAN be eaten in one sitting and will not be 8 separate servings no matter how hard you try. Don't take this to the extreme though - I'd stick to chocolate, tea bags and deodorant if I'm honest (it can be crazy expensive and impossible to get aerosols!)

4. A camera (and GoPro if you have one)
Oh my gosh, if one more person tells me that their phone is a good enough camera for their year abroad I will scream. You are in a foreign country, full of new places and delights to be seen and you're taking all of your photos on your iPhone (or insert other phone here)? Yes, iPhone cameras can take amazing photos and they are so simple to take photos on the go. You need to take as many photos as physically possible because there is a chance you'll never get to do anything like this again. Although it can be a pain to lug about a different camera, 1. you don't want your phone dying and 2. it can really help you get into the mood to take photos and look for the photo you want to take. My father has a GoPro and I wish I had taken it with me. It's an absolute must if you intend on doing lots of travelling and hiking. Don't go out and buy one just for the occasion unless you really want to but if there is one lying about the house (you never know) just take it okay? 

5. Travel Insurance
People overlook it but you should really have it. I didn't for my trip and, very thankfully, nothing bad happened at all. In the end my laptop broke and I had to get it fixed costing $300 I didn't really have. I could have claimed that on my travel insurance had I had it! I had compulsory health insurance that cost me $70 a month and didn't use for the duration of my stay but it was good to have just incase. I am the only person I know who didn't use it - whether it be for a cold or headache etc.

6. Mini shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/all in one (and toilet roll!)
If you want a shower on that first night you'll need these. I'd also take one single towel, whether it be a bath towel or beach towel and buy a second one wherever you are. However, as soon as you can get out and buy the essentials - do so. Those mini bottles will be your saviour when you've run out of money and your wire transfer is going to take 3 days to process. Also, bring just one roll of loo roll. Again, if you don't land late you'll be fine but if you do - don't expect your housemates to have much either!

7. Small things to decorate your room with
I mean a few photos, some bunting, your favourite teddy etc. etc. I had a few little bits and pieces and wish I had brought some more with me. As the year went on I printed inspirational quotes and newer photos too and it felt so much homier. Fairy lights are not optional. This room will be your home away from home for the next year - make it your own.


Now, more importantly. Here are a few things you do not need to take.

1. 8 pairs of jeans
If anything you need 2-3 if you're the type of girl who wears skirts a lot. I had one pair of black jeans and one pair of blue and that's it. Did I mention I had to wear them minimum 2 days a week for labs? That's right. Do you need light, mid, classic and dark wash blue jeans? - No you do not. Put them all down.

2. 7 scarves
Sad but true. I love a scarf and so took a few cheap ones from Primark and New Look with me. I ended up buying a few more and in the end had to give the majority of them to charity when I left. You may need to bring back all of your work (I did and so my room to ship stuff back was seriously limited) and so had to prioritise the items I use a lot/cost a lot for a few cheap scarves. I say it's acceptable to have 3 but my mother says 2 is an excess. Just cap it at 3 okay? 

3. Your entire make up bag
Chances are, the place your going will have make up and it won't be extortionately priced. Sometimes  they will be pricey but keep that in mind and do some research before. I had very little make up with me in comparison to what I left at home. Seriously - I took a foundation, eyeshadow palette, pencil and pen eyeliner, mascara and three lipsticks. That's it. Do you need your entire MAC lipstick collection? Choose your three most worn shades and always bring a red. You can go from drab to fab by just applying some red lipstick on your way to the pub.

4. All of your text books from the past year or two
I took a couple and did actually use them but your university WILL have a library or 5 with books. Sure, it's nice to have different references to everyone else but those books take up a lot of weight and space. If there are online versions/computer versions make sure you take those with you. It'll probably help a lot!

5. A hairdryer
They are bulky and travel ones don't work well. Once you get settled pick up a super cheap one and voila. Straighteners are a slightly different deal. Cheap ones tend to not be so good and if you do straighten your hair every day they MAY be a necessity. I didn't have a hairdryer or straighteners myself for my entire year abroad. 3 of my housemates had them - why should I also pay the $30?

6. A full suitcase
If you bring a full suitcase you will have no room for bringing stuff back. You'll either have to buy another suitcase to ship back (er...money!) or have to pay for another bag on the plane (again..money!). If you have lots of clothes you don't mind leaving behind then by all means but I had to give SO many clothes that I absolutely adored to charity because it'll be cheaper than £200 to re-buy them (yes - that's how expensive it can be to ship stuff back).

7. Your whole university's merch shop
Have you thought that maybe it would make you stick out like a sore thumb? I had one UEA t-shirt and that got people talking but I didn't wear it very often and it was more of a conversation starter. One hoodie is okay but an entire tracksuit, t-shirt and travel mug? Please don't. If you really want to make the most of the experience you want to feel as if you are a (insert university name here) student. Buy their hoodie/t-shirt. Act as if you are meant to be there and get involved. You may only be there for the year but you might as well make the most of it. Just think of all the bragging rights you'll have when you go back home. 'Oh yeah, I just spent the year abroad. No biggie!)

Of course, this isn't an extensive list and visas, passports, currency, more adapter plugs than you could ever need are also incredibly important but hopefully you won't forget those.

Are you going on a year abroad or just have some other bits that you think should not be forgotten? Let me know!

15 comments :

  1. Fantastic list! This is almost what I have to go through. I'll start packing like 3 weeks in advance just because I rather not rush stuff!

    x- Naomi in Wonderland

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    1. You never know what you'll end up forgetting! (like your fave white shirt!)

      :)

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  2. Not sure I cannot take my entire make-up bag even when I go on holiday, imagine being away for a year to study!! :p It hurts to leave my little babies behind. hahaha

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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    1. It can be tricky! I ended up leaving stuff behind when i flew back too - it's painful leaving stuff behind!

      :)

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  3. I was going abroad for a semester and literally filled a little suitcase with beauty products. In all fairness I knew I wasn't going to be bringing most of it back and I think I otherwise packed very well!
    Megan x
    London Callings

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    1. I think a semester abroad would be so easy to pack for! I had housemates who were one semester they had two large suitcases and I just looked at them like WHY YOU HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?! I had a lot more than most people but nothing compared to some!

      :)

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  4. For extra space to bring things back you could take a cabin suitcase as hand luggage instead of a handbag. x

    http://ditsysprinkles.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I always bring a cabin suitcase - you can fit so much stuff inside them! A lot of airlines let you bring a cabin suitcase and handbag too now which is fabulous!

      :)

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  5. What a amazing tips and a good list! I would love to study abroad, but i'm not gonna do that soon, but still thanks for sharing!

    Renate | MissRenate.com | Bloglovin' | Instagram

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    1. Thanks lovely! It's definitely an experience!

      :)

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  6. i'd love to study somewhere else some day and this post really made me want to find out more about it...and i would take my chocolate every where haha


    loovelle.blogspot.cm

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    1. You should! It's such an interesting experience!

      :)

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  7. Nice Inspirations

    FOLLOW my Blog!!! Maybe we can follow each other!!!
    http://rimanerenellamemoria.blogspot.de

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  8. I should have packed more shoes hahaha

    www.caetera-moda.blogspot.com

    xx

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  9. When I first saw this photo I immediately thought "Where is platform 9 3/4?" haha! Just my inner harry potter coming out in me. xoxo.

    www.midwesternmamalove.com

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Thank you so much for commenting! I appreciate every single one of them and will get back to them as soon as I can :)