Tips for Packing To Study Abroad

  • Spare Laptop and Cell Phone Chargers
  • Prescription Medication
  • Toiletries You Can’t Live Without
  • First Aid Essentials
  • Something From Home

Preparing for a semester studying abroad can be both exciting and overwhelming. It’s a step into the unknown, so it can be difficult to know should be packed. It may help to remember that wherever in the world the study abroad is taking place, the locals there get by just fine on what is available. In other words, there are very few things that it would be disastrous to forget. However, there are a few must-pack items.

See our ranking of  30 Affordable Colleges with the Best Study Abroad Programs

1. Spare Laptop and Cell Phone Chargers

While of course other countries have chargers for laptops and cell phones, it may not always be easy to find one that fits the type of laptop and voltage needed. Students may be unable to afford the time needed to search for the right charger or wait for one to arrive that has been ordered. The wrong charger can damage electronics. It’s better to play it safe and bring backups just in case.

2. Prescription Medication

Students should not count on the same medications being available abroad and should get enough prescription medication needed to cover the entire semester. However, there are a few caveats. As The New York Times points out, while most countries let travelers bring in prescription medication for personal use, a few do not. Some countries can impose harsh penalties on people who bring in medication that is not legal there. Students may want to talk to their study abroad office about any concerns around medication they need to take with them.

3. Toiletries You Can’t Live Without

While toiletries will be available anywhere there is a study abroad program, it might not be the brand the student is accustomed to. Most people will be able to make the switch painlessly, but if students need a certain type of soap because of sensitive skin or just hate the way their hair looks without a favorite shampoo, it is probably best to just bring it along. However, people should make sure they really can’t live without whatever the product is since these can be heavy and take up a lot of room in the suitcase.

4. First Aid Essentials

Ibuprofen and adhesive bandages for minor wounds are the types of things most people have around the house, but they are not the easiest products to track down in a foreign country where the language is unfamiliar with a headache or while bleeding from a wound. Furthermore, the equivalent of drugstores and pharmacies in other countries may close much earlier than students are accustomed to. Students may want to include a few items such as these in their luggage so they aren’t forced into having an impromptu culture and language lesson while feeling under the weather. As with prescription medication, they should check with their study abroad office about the legality of any over the counter medication.

5. Something From Home

This may seem like a strange addition because of course everything a student brings is something from home. However, this needs to be something specific, preferably tangible, that reminds the student of home whether it is a stuffed animal, a favorite sweater or a beloved pen or mug. Homesickness can hit during even the best study abroad experience, and a small reminder of home can help a student ride it out.

The experience of studying abroad can be life-changing, and whatever a student packs, it is hard to go wrong. However, the items above may be both hard to come by and important for a student’s comfort and ability to study, so they should be included on any packing list.

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