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What to Pack for Study Abroad

What to Pack for Study Abroad

By Matt Ulmer, studyabroad.com

March 06, 2009

The staples of packing well are comfortable shoes. I know that most students want to look good, but comfort needs to come before style when studying abroad. You are going to walk a whole lot more than you think, and you need to be prepared.

It’s also important to pack light. While it is a scary thought to have to pack for an entire semester, almost every student ends up overpacking. If you are going to do a lot of traveling while abroad, you do not want to be lugging a lot of luggage each time. You should pack the bare minimum of what you need, making sure that you pack a few warm-weather clothes in case it’s hotter than you expected, or some cold-weather clothes in case it’s chilly. Always pack accordingly—a raincoat if you’re going to London, for example.

Some other things to pack include:

Money
A credit card is good anywhere, but a student may want to stock up on traveler’s checks, some personal checks, an ATM cash card, some American money and some of the country’s currency. While it may verge on looking dorky, it is a good idea to keep money (as well as a passport, driver’s license, Europass tickets, etc.) in a fanny pack.

Medicine and vitamins
If you take medication on a daily basis, bring enough to last the entire trip. Drug names, sizes and purposes may differ in other countries, so you can’t be sure that you will be getting the same thing. Just in case you lose the medicine, however, bring a note from your doctor explaining what the medicine is and what it does.

Extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, prescriptions, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Toiletries kit
Students should bring everything they would bring for their dorm, only in a smaller size. They should try to stick everything in one toiletries kit and one makeup kit. This way they have everything in one compact space, and don’t have to worry about repacking each time they go somewhere.

Clothesline
Washers and dryers may not be handy.

Pillowcase
Both for the plane and the student’s living quarters.

Hair drier and other hair products
Make sure you have a converter for the electrical outlet.

Small flashlight
Rick Steves of ricksteves.com says, “Handy for reading under the sheets after ‘lights out’ in the hostel, late night trips down the hall, exploring castle dungeons and hypnotizing street thieves.”

A tiny lock
This is to lock your bags while you stay in a hostel or other open-style arrangements. Remember that it’s illegal to lock your bags on the plane now with security concerns.

Article reprinted with persmission from Next Step Magazine.

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