We’re big supporters of studying abroad. GGG founder Kelly Lewis once worked for Semester at Sea, and we’ve lent our support to a US-based campaign that promotes study abroad via the White House (follow along at #studyabroadbecause.) Today we thought we’d share this great article on packing for study abroad. Go!
Studying abroad is a great way to experience new cultures while also gaining college credit. Over 95% of students who study abroad say it helped them grow and mature as a person. Studying abroad, in a foreign country, can be exciting, but it can also be challenging when it comes to packing. Plus, there’s the issue of having to bring all your luggage to the destination yourself. Here are some packing tips so you’re prepared for everything!
Make Copies of your Important Documents
It’s important to organize and prepare all of your important documents before you leave the country. It’s also helpful to make a copy of those documents, just in case something happens. Leave a copy of your documents like your passport, ID, and medical information at home with your parents in case they need to act on your behalf. Also consider scanning your documents and emailing them to yourself so you can access them from anywhere if necessary.
Save Your Toiletry Shopping for your Destination
Your luggage should be treated as valuable real estate. With limited space, you shouldn’t waste space on things like full-sized toiletries. Most likely, you’ll have access to a convenience store in your destination, and you can purchase things like shampoo and toothpaste once you’re there. Instead, just bring travel sized items with you so you have enough to keep for a few days after you arrive. The one exception here? Feminine hygiene products that might be unavailable elsewhere.
If you’re traveling outside of North America, you’ll need an electric converter to be able to plug in your electronic devices. Make sure you purchase a voltage converter built into your adapter so you don’t zap any of your valuables. Nothing is worse than zapping your favorite straightener!
Unless you’re traveling exclusively in summertime, bring a variety of layers and clothing items to be ready for all weather conditions. Research the weather in your destination to see if you need to bring rain gear, cold weather gear, or specialty clothes. Remember not to overdo it. You can always go shopping when you arrive, and sometimes it’s best to see what you’ll need when you actually get there.
Gifts from Home
While traveling to a new place, you might want to bring some gifts from home. If you’re staying with a host family, it’s customary to bring a small token from your home country. Along the way you’re likely going to make new friends and make new connections. What better way to share your culture with someone than to give them your favorite chocolate from home or a postcard of your hometown!
Some medications you might be used to getting over-the-counter at home might not be available overseas. If you’re unfamiliar with the new language, this might present a new challenge when purchasing medicines at a store or a pharmacy. Bring a small supply of medications you might need in your destination like bandages, allergy medicine, and pain reliever.
Ship Luggage in Advance
If you’re studying abroad for a few months, you might have a few different bags to bring with you. Traveling alone with a lot of luggage is challenging and time consuming. Save yourself the headache by using a service like Uni Baggage, which will ship your luggage to your final destination without all the added fees and restrictions of airlines. You won’t have to struggle with heavy bags at the airport, and you can just focus on your excitement.
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience. You have the chance to immerse yourself in a new culture and see exciting sights. That being said, it can be stressful to feel prepared when packing your luggage. Be sure to research your destination to make sure you have everything you need to have a great study abroad experience!