Planning to spend a year abroad in September? It might be early to pack, but it is time to start preparing. You can make the whole experience easier by planning well in advance what you need to bring and what you need to do before you go. Making lists can help you stay organized and avoid feeling overwhelmed at the last minute. So what exactly will you need to bring? It depends on what you are studying, where you are going and what you prefer to have with you. But here’s a few things to consider.
Read up on the climate and culture where you are going. You probably won’t want to run out to do laundry right away, and likewise you don’t want to have to rush out shopping for something essential. Your list may vary, but here’s a basic outline.
- Ten pairs of underwear and socks. Men, include ten undershirts. Ladies, bring three to five bras, and make sure that you have a variety of styles and that you have a bra that works with every outfit you are bringing. And remember to bring a variety of tights too. If winters get cold, bring a few thermal undershirts too.
- Five everyday casual outfits to wear to class. Find out what is an everyday casual outfit suitable for class where you are going! You don’t want to rock up in track suit bottoms and a t-shirt if everyone else is smart casual.
- One nice dressy outfit you could wear to a dinner out. You want to be comfortable going out with a host family. You could be invited anywhere – a nice restaurant, church, the theatre, a wedding. The trick is to keep it classic so you are ready for anything.
- One outfit for heading out clubbing or pubbing. You know what they say about all work and no play! But check to make sure what you bring is okay where you are going. Different cultures have different notions of modesty and formality. You might decide to challenge them, but you should know what they are and what reaction you can expect.
- One business suit. You could meet officials or spend a day in an office in your field of study.
- One or two swimsuits.
- One workout outfits.
- One comfy “feck this I’m staying home, I’m sick” outfit.
- Two or three cardigans, fleeces and / or hoodies.
- Three or four pairs of pyjamas including extra warm ones for winter and lighter ones for summer, depending on climate.
- One pair of nice shoes you’d wear with the dressy outfit and business suit. Two pairs of everyday shoes to wear to class. One or two pairs of trainers. One pair of waterproof hiking boots.
- Keep accessories and jewellery to a minimum, and avoid bringing anything expensive. Pick items based on how versatile they are. Two ties should be enough for the gents. Women, keep it simple. Three or four pairs of earrings. You don’t need to bring necklaces or rings, but if you have love them, bring one or two. Scarves and pashminas are great accessories to add some variety to your wardrobe.
- One lightweight, waterproof jacket. One heavy winter coat.
- One warm winter hat, and one hat for sunny weather. If your coats don’t have hoods, a hat for rainy days. One winter scarf and pair of gloves if you are going to a cold climate.
This is more clothing than you are going to fit easily into your checked luggage. You can take a few essentials with you, and have the rest shipped. Make sure that your checked luggage includes two or three complete outfits appropriate for the weather when you arrive and at least one cardigan, fleece or hoodie. Don’t forget to put a pair of shoes into your luggage so you have more than the pair you are wearing. The rest you can ship.
In Part Two, we’ll list what you will need to bring besides clothing.