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What You Really Need to Pack to Study Abroad

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNH chapter.
  1. Basics

The night before I left to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain, I had a complete breakdown because I had no clue what to pack. This is something they don’t tell you during the preparation you go through after being accepted to your program. I was about to move somewhere that I had never been before and I didn’t know what I would and wouldn’t wear. Even though, when I look back, I wish I brought some different clothing pieces, I think that’s all part of trial and error. So let me save you from being in the same position I was. If I could tell anyone the no. 1 thing you need to bring abroad I would say basics. By that I mean a white and black long-sleeved T-shirt, basic and simple short-sleeved shirts and a good pair of versatile pants such as jeans. This was basically my uniform throughout the entirety of my abroad experience. With these simple basic pieces, you will always have something to wear and you can dress these items up or down with accessories which is very convenient. 

  1. A good pair of sneakers 

A white pair of sneakers was my most worn shoe while abroad. I was able to wear them to class, on all my weekend trips and anywhere else that I found myself. They went with every outfit I could put together and they were comfortable which was very important for me, as I was doing lots of walking in cities that I was visiting. 

  1. Long jacket

From my experience, I noticed that longer jackets are much more popular in Europe than puffer jackets. If you care about looking like a local then you should definitely pack a long coat. I feel as though long coats are also great to have because they keep your whole body super warm instead of just your upper body, which is convenient when walking around for long periods of time. 

  1. A few fun pieces 

Despite the fact that I strongly believe it’s very important for a majority of the clothes you bring abroad to be basics, you should still leave some room for a few fun pieces to wear on special trips. I had a dress saved in my closet for months that I knew I wanted to wear when I was in Paris. Even though I think these types of pieces may not be able to be worn multiple times, it is fun to have some items that make you stand out for special occasions. 

  1. Black boots 

On top of having a pair of white sneakers, I think the other necessary shoe to have while abroad is a pair of black boots. These can be worn when you want to dress an outfit up instead of wearing sneakers. I wore my black boots when I would go out to dinner with friends, to class and sometimes even when I would travel to different cities if I had a fancier outfit on.

Overall, I think the main thing I learned about packing for abroad is that less is more. You will shop so much while you’re there because of the shift in environment. It’s easier to bring fewer clothes that are able to be styled in various ways than to overpack and risk having to purchase a whole new wardrobe once you arrive in your new city!

Natalie is a Senior Communication Business Application major at the University of New Hampshire. She is the Social Media & Marketing Manager of UNH's Her Campus Chapter.