Studying Abroad Starting This Semester? Here’s Your Ultimate Packing List

By: Neda Ahmed

Studying abroad is a dream come true, and we are genuinely happy for those who got the chance to transform their fantasies into reality. The journey to this dream is paved with a tonne of tedious tasks, namely the application, the visa process and packing. For those of you who tend to overpack/underpack, we got you, so read with caution.

We just want to make it clear that you’ll probably be gone for a long time, and going home to grab that shirt or these documents will not be an option; this is why pre-planned packing is of utmost importance. There are a few things you should research before packing: the plugs and voltages in your host country and whether the medications you take are legal there or not.

Here are the few essentials you should take on your carry-on bag:

  • Phone charger
  • Cell phone
  • Power bank
  • Boarding pass
  • Cash (dollars and currency of host country)
  • Birth certificate
  • Credit card (be sure to notify bank that you’ll be abroad so your transactions aren’t frozen)
  • Debit card
  • Deodorant
  • Emergency contact list
  • Face wipes
  • Peanuts (for snacking) and biscuits
  • Gum
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Spare masks
  • Alcohol spray
  • Headphones
  • Health insurance card
  • Passport
  • Prescription medications
  • Spare outfit
  • School ID
  • Student visa
  • Wallet
  • Travel pillow
  • A pen

We recommend getting a small bag for the important documents to have the always accessible.

Toiletries you’ll need:

  • Acne medication
  • Face lotion
  • Makeup
  • Mini shampoo, conditioner and body wash
  • Mini mouthwash
  • Perfume (a single bottle!)
  • Toothbrush
  • Mini toothpaste

You might be wondering: why the emphasis on the size? To save weight and space. Surely, there’s shampoos and conditioners available in your host country, so the min-size would do just fine until you find your bearings and way around.

Here’s a list of the supplies you need:

  • Electrical converters/adapters (3-4)
  • Hair supplies (bobby pins, hair ties, hairbrush, hair spray)
  • Contact lenses, solution and case
  • Glasses and glasses case
  • Nail clippers (these ones are easily forgotten)
  • Razor
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Menstruation supplies
  • Bed sheets
  • Tweezers
  • Towels
  • Portable stain-removing pen

The most exhausting aspect of packing is probably the clothes part as we’re limited by our luggage and weight. Know that you always can mix and match outfits for a change, so bring this cardigan which goes with everything and that pair of shoes that just rocks every outfit. Be sure to check the weather in your host country to know what clothes are appropriate. Also, you have to be aware of the cultural view of clothes. For instance, if you’ll attend school in an urban area, flip-flops and sweatpants to class won’t be the most suiting choice. Here’s a collective list of what you’ll need:

  • Not more than four pairs of shoes (the athletic ones, the nice, classic pair, the everyday flats and maybe heels)
  • Flip-flops (1 pair)
  • Bathing suit (1)
  • Bras (7, be sure to have various styles)
  • Casual dresses (2)
  • Underwear (14 pairs)
  • Socks (14 pairs)
  • Sweaters (3)
  • Sweatshirts (2)
  • Tank-tops (3-5)
  • Watch (1, but it’s not necessary…watch out for your valuables!)
  • Jewellery (same goes)
  • Workout clothes (1 outfit)
  • Formal outfit (2)
  • Gloves (1 pair)
  • Going-out outfit (4-5)
  • Hat (1)
  • Heavier coat (1)
  • Jacket (2)
  • Jeans (2-3)
  • Leggings (2)
  • Long sleeved shirts (4)
  • PJs (3)
  • Nice pants (2)
  • Purses (2)
  • Raincoat (1)
  • Scarf (1)
  • Short-sleeved shirts (4-6)
  • Shorts (2-4)
  • Skirts (1-2)

You have to be cautious when packing your electronics as theft is no stranger to travellers; you also need to conserve space and weight. Your phone, logically speaking, can substitute your camera and music player. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Spare chargers
  • Flash drive
  • USB cable

Being abroad doesn’t make you immune to diseases, so don’t forget to pack the essential medication:

  • Enough prescription medication to last you your whole trip
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Painkillers
  • Cold and flu treatments
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Eye drops
  • Vitamins

Lastly, here’s a collective list of things that don’t quite fit any category:

  • Backpack
  • Gifts (if someone is hosting you, you can bring them something that isn’t available in host country)
  • Umbrella
  • Map

That’s all, so far. Please, try to take regular breaks–packing can be stressful and exhausting! We wish you the best!

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