Camille James

Before I actually began packing for my study abroad trip, I felt as though I had really been packing mentally for months. I thought about which particular articles of clothing I would need during the rainy English winter, whether I would need anything fancy, and specific supplies that I would need in my dorm room.

It took me a few days to gather everything I needed, and a few more to actually pack everything into my suitcase. (Rolling literally everything you own and packing things into vacuum storage bags takes time!) Here are some items I found particularly helpful to pack from home before beginning my journey abroad:

  1. Travel adapters. You will need an adapter from the moment you arrive in your host country, and having been on an airplane for hours you may be anxious to charge your phone/electronic devices to find directions or get in contact with family and friends back home to let them know you arrived safely.
  2. A good quality backpack- for school & travelling. I purchased a backpack online while I was abroad, but regretted not purchasing a really good quality one before leaving Canada.
  3. A month’s worth of underwear and socks. Although most travel websites and advice columns will tell you to bring only 2 weeks worth, bringing more is one of the most beneficial things you can do. With this, you will only need to do laundry once a month rather than bi-weekly, which is a huge convenience and cost-saving measure- it cost me about 4 pounds per individual load of laundry.
  4. Kitchen supplies. Although most will tell you to buy all your kitchen supplies when you arrive, I thought that bringing small items like a fork, spoon, butter knife and light baking tray was more efficient. Most of my friends abroad realized how difficult it was to buy single utensils, and how expensive kitchen items can be when it is easy to bring along small items.
  5. Wrinkle release spray. Personally, I did not know wrinkle release spray existed before my trip. Instead, I brought my mini steamer with me, which ended up being useless due to its size and weight in my suitcase, and I hadn’t realized that I would need another adapter to use it. Instead, wrinkle release spray is small and light enough, and is a life-saver when you unpack all your rolled up clothes that you shoved into your packed shoes to save suitcase space.

In addition to these, I would recommend bringing a pair of flip-flops or sandals for hostel use, about $300 in local currency, a small amount of allergy, cold & flu, and pain medication, one nice outfit, a bathing suit, and small toiletry items that are necessary but easy to forget such as nail clippers. Other than that, make sure you have some memories from home to display in your new room and off you go!

By Camille James, Vancouver Island University. A memeber of BCSA Writers in Residence team and winner of the 2016 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.


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