Tips for Packing for Study Abroad

Studying abroad is a fun and enriching experience. Since you've decided to embark on this journey, you've probably been thinking about what clothes and shoes to pack. With the semester coming to a close, study abroad is fresh on everyone's mind as the excitement builds. Here are some things to consider when you are making your packing list. 

Clothes

First things first, everyone wants to look cute for all the photo-ops on your trip. All of us are planning an entirely new and cute wardrobe to bring with us. Of course, you'll want to pack layers so you can be prepared for anything that mother nature throws at you. However, there a few important things to consider before you start packing.

The temperature

Look up the average temperatures of the country you're going to during the months you'll be there. If the temperature is typically 80 degrees, you won't want to pack for winter weather. As the date of your departure comes closer, you'll be able to get a more accurate prediction of the temperature. If you're going to a hotter location, consider bringing a bathing suit or two. 

The culture of where you are going

When I stayed with friends in France, I put on shorts to go into the city like I would here in Georgia. When my friend saw that I was wearing shorts, she shook her head and told me to wear jeans even though it was hot because people would get the wrong impression and think that I was a prostitute. The point of this story is that you need to be aware of the culture of the country you are going to. Do people wear jeans even though it's hot? Do people wear running shorts and athleisure clothing? Is it frowned upon to show your shoulders when visiting a church? Google the typical customs before you go, so you won't stick out like a sore thumb as a tourist. 

Shoes

On your study abroad, you'll be partaking in a variety of activities and you'll want to have the correct footwear for the most comfortable experience. Plan on packing shoes that are comfortable and won't give you blisters while doing intense walking. Pack a pair of tennis shoes for outdoor outings, a pair of nicer shoes that you can wear going out, a pair of walking shoes, and a pair of wear-around-the-house shoes. For study abroad, consider comfort over beauty! 

Necessities

Do you wear contacts or take any daily medications? You should think about all the things that are not easily obtained abroad. Obviously, if you forget toothpaste, you can go to the store and easily get a replacement. However, if you forget a prescription medication, it will be much harder to find a replacement. While you're traveling, be sure to keep this in your carry on bag so you can reduce the chance of it being lost. Additionally be sure to pack enough to sustain you for the entire time you're gone. With these necessities, it's a good idea to pack a little extra just in case something happens. One time, my glasses broke on the way home from Ireland and I wore my contacts for over 24 hours. The proceeding eye infections were enough to teach me a good lesson on packing extras. 

Safety

Pickpockets

This goes hand in hand with understanding the culture of the place you're going. In many other places, there are pickpockets that you should be aware of. One of the easiest ways to prevent a pickpocket is to be aware of you're surroundings. If you're aware of your surroundings, you will be less likely to be identified as a tourist and therefore a target to potential pickpockets. Another thing you can do is buy a satchel bag that zips closed, and one that you can keep close to your side. The problem with backpacks is that all your stuff is behind you and it's difficult to see if someone is trying to open it without you knowing. 

Money and other valuables

When you're out and about, make sure you keep your things in many different pockets and compartments. That way, if one thing is stolen, you still have other cash and credit cards in your other pocket. You never want to keep all your valuables on you at one time. When valuables aren't on you, make sure that you keep them locked in a secure location. Even if you're in a nice hotel, things happen and you could potentially lose or have your valuables stolen. The very last thing you want to lose is your passport so keep track of that at all times. You don't want to find yourself freaking out with no way to get back home. 

Most importantly, remember that studying abroad is supposed to be a fun experience of trying new things and meeting new people. 

Erin Gilmore is a Georgia native, born and raised in Forsyth County. Since 2015, she has been attending the best university in the south: UGA. She is a third year majoring in Risk Management and Insurance and Advertising (a unique combo right?!) She loves to learn new things and go on adventures with her friends. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her dogs, read and travel. She has a strong interest in law and hopes to one day become a corporate lawyer.

You Might Also Enjoy