What To Pack For Study Abroad, So The Culture Shock Doesn't Hit Too Hard

You’ve been accepted to study overseas — congratulations! There are probably a million and one thoughts buzzing around your brain right now, but perhaps one of the most pressing matters is what to pack for study abroad. You’re going to be hundreds (maybe thousands) of miles away from everyone you know and everything you’re familiar with and life will be very different at your new place of study; but you can take some items with you that will make your transition into your new lifestyle abroad as smooth as possible.

Of course, at some point you’ll likely get home sick — which is completely natural — and there’s not much that mere objects can do to alleviate this, unless you take something highly sentimental with you on your travels. However, there are some things you can pack in your suitcase that will help you to segue into your new life.

You’re sure to be affected by baggage weight allowance, so that’s something you really need to take into consideration, unless you want to pay through the nose for excessive baggage charges. Also, you might want to leave a little room in your suitcase for souvenirs and trinkets for family and friends. With baggage allowance weight and souvenir space taken into consideration, you really don’t have a ton of room to play with. But, depending on where you’re headed, you’ll likely be able to find most essential items you’ll need at your destination. With that in mind, here’s what to pack for studying abroad.

1. Plug Converter

Energon Best High Quality Universal World Travel Adapter Charger Plug, $19.99, amazon.com

It goes without saying that you're going to need power for your electronics abroad, so pack an adaptor that will work with both your country's plugs and your destination country's plug sockets.

2. An Unlocked Mobile Phone

Don't forget to take an unlocked, contract-less mobile with you on your travels, otherwise you may risk facing huge bills or worse, not being able to use your phone when you get to your destination. If you are planning on keeping in touch with friends and family back home regularly, make sure your phone isn't tied down to any network in your home country and can take a "foreign" SIM card.

3. A Super Light Laptop

Rose Gold MacBook, From $1,299, apple.com

If you don't already have a lightweight laptop, now may be the time to invest in one. There are some great options out there but, being an Apple gal through and through, I'd personally go for the MacBook Air or the new model MacBook that weighs just 2.03 pounds!

4. Cold Hard Cash For Emergencies

Even if your main monetary source will likely be a credit card when you're studying abroad, take some emergency cash in both your home currency and the currency of the country you're going to study in. This way you're prepared for any eventuality.

5. Organized Paperwork

By "organized" paperwork, I mean important papers that are stored in separate, specific wallets so you know exactly where they are at any given moment.

6. Family Photos

Take some snaps on a Polaroid before you go so you'll have photos of the people (and pets) you love. Polaroid photos also double as a great way to decorate your new room if you're allowed to stick things on your wall.

7. A First Aid Kit

Call me cautious, but you just don't know what's going to happen on your travels. Hopefully, nothing will go awry, but at least if you have a first aid kit, you'll know you're prepared for anything.

8. Your Preferred Medicine

Different medicines work for different people; you may be a homeopathic gal or prefer ibuprofen to paracetamol. You could even be allergic to certain types of medicine. You might not be able to get hold of your preferred brand of medicine at the place where you'll be studying, so take a few packs just in case. If you're on a prescription, make sure to take enough for your entire time abroad just in case you can't get the same medication where you're going.

9. An E-Book Reader

Don't drag your textbooks halfway across the world with you, invest in an e-book reader or tablet to catch up on your recommended reading with ease.

10. A Capsule Wardrobe

There's been a huge buzz about minimalism in the fashion and lifestyle communities with organizing experts like Marie Kondo leading the movement. If you really think about it, I'd bet you don't wear every item in your wardrobe on a regular basis – I know there are some things hanging in my closet that I haven't worn for literally years. Before you leave to study abroad, build yourself a small capsule wardrobe and only take the bare minimum when it comes to clothes, shoes, and accessories. Whatever you leave at home, you may find you don't miss and if you really miss something, you can buy a replacement over in the country you'll be studying in.

11. Your Favorite Long Lasting Foods

Chances are, you might discover that you can't get your hands on your favorite snacks and foodie treats when you're abroad. Therefore, you might wish to make space in your suitcase for a few food essentials that you know you'll seriously miss – this might include your favorite junk food or even condiments.

Make sure to pack these essentials when you head off abroad and you should be able to pick up anything else you may need when you get there!

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