Packing Essentials for Study Abroad

One of the most fulfilling things you can do in college is to study abroad! From immersing yourself in other cultures to having the opportunity to work with a variety of new people, going abroad not only allows you to develop a more nuanced and holistic understanding of the world but also challenges you to overcome the logistics and obstacles of living in another country for an extended amount of time. To make the transition easier, here are some ideas to consider (especially as you are packing!) before you go.

1. Pack lightly

There’s nothing that puts a damper on traveling and re-packing than having to take care of large and bulky suitcases. Keep in mind that essentials like toiletries often can be purchased locally, so eliminate some extra baggage and don’t stress too much about airline liquid or weight limits (which can add up to large fines if surpassed). 

2. Important documentation

Make sure you have all your important travel documents organized and stored in a safe but accessible location. Keep your flight information, itinerary, tickets, important locations, and reservations easily ready and on-hand to eliminate some of the hassles of traveling, and remember that certain countries have tax refund documents for foreigners that you should hang onto if you plan on buying souvenirs. 

3. Range of clothing

Even if you study abroad in the summertime, often temperatures can vary widely over the course of two months or even between day and night. To err on the safe side, pack at least one back-up outfit for varying climate conditions

4. Emergency kit

Make sure that you bring along some first-aid essentials like bandages, pain-relief pills, etc in the case of emergencies. Often universities have international travel hotlines, so also keep these phone numbers saved in case you are in need of serious travel-related help or advice. Keep your health insurance information 

5. Weekend bag

Studying abroad often presents opportunities to travel to neighboring countries or cities on weekends. To make these trips more efficient, bring along a smaller bag to fit a few days’ worths of essentials instead of having to lug your suitcase along. 

6. Small miscellaneous items

Pencils, pen, converters, and adaptors, eye mask, earplugs, filtered water bottle, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, lip balm, shower flip flops, emergency snack, umbrella, sunglasses...