By: Vivien Lee, past exchange student to the National University of Singapore

After all the research and paperwork, you’re almost ready to go abroad! One problem: you haven’t finished packing. Prepare yourself for unconventional situations while studying abroad with these five packing items. Having them on hand will save you time and money!

1. Compact wireless router

Most campuses and dorms in BC are connected to wireless internet, but don’t assume it’s the same abroad. When I went to study abroad in Singapore (a technologically advanced country) I was surprised to find that my dorm room didn’t have wireless internet. The only access to the internet was through an Ethernet cable and my laptop didn’t have an Ethernet port.

I ended up purchasing a new router for a few months use and it was hardly where I wanted to spend my travel money. Since then, I’ve learned not to make assumptions about internet norms in other countries and to bring my own compact wireless router on longer trips.

2. Portable power bank

Even the best cell phone batteries today will barely last a full day with all the photo-taking and Googling you will be doing while abroad. Purchase a portable power bank and bring it in your day bag. You’ll need it!

3. Extra passport photos

I highly recommend having a few extra passport photos in your travel bag when you’re abroad. For example, when I travelled to Vietnam, I had to bring a passport photo upon arrival to complete my entry visa process. As well, when I went to Ethiopia I was told that even purchasing a phone SIM card would require a photo so they could record who purchased the card. Norms are different in other countries and it’s better to be prepared.

4. Extra eyeglasses or prescription

Speaking of being prepared, if you wear glasses or contacts, always bring an extra pair! It can be difficult to purchase a new pair of glasses abroad, especially if you don’t speak the language. Having an extra pair of glasses could save your trip if you accidentally break your current ones. If that’s too bulky, at least bring a photocopy of your eye prescription so you can easily purchase another pair.

5. Canada flag

Bring a piece of home with you to your destination. You can call your local member of parliament office and ask for a Canadian flag. Let them know you are going abroad and they will give you a complimentary flag. Don’t forget to tag @BC_StudyAbroad on Instagram with your Canadian flag photos!

I hope these tips help you prepare for an amazing study abroad! If you are a study abroad alumni, let us know your packing tips on Instagram @BC_StudyAbroad or leave a comment below!

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