As I’m halfway through my study abroad experience, I have already realized that maybe I could’ve packed differently. Here’s a list of 15 things I recommend for your study abroad experience.

  1. Most importantly, above all else, stop what you’re doing and look up the weather of wherever you are traveling. I’m spending fall semester in Spain. It’s been hot, and my heavy Pennsylvania winter jacket stayed home. Sorry chaqueta.
  2. Next, go to the nearest Walmart, Target, CVS, or whatever, to print photos of loved ones. You will thank me later. I came to Spain empty handed in this regard and I printed photos while I was here from Shutterfly. You’ll have your highs and lows and these photos will be necessary in both cases.
  3. Pack a least one fancy outfit. You never know. I’m wearing my one dress for Halloween.
  4. Don’t try bringing lots of toiletries. 3 oz. ladies and gents.
  5. DO NOT FORGET THAT PLASTIC BAGGIE. YOU WILL BE STOPPED AND FRISKED. If you doubt this, contact me.
  6. Sensible shoes. You’re going to walk. A lot.
  7. A journal to write in. I’ve been keeping a journal since day one and I write in it every day. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. Thanks Hayley! (My best friend bought it for me.)
  8. A water bottle. Maybe it’s because Spain isn’t humid PA or maybe it’s because I drink water like a camel but I regret not bringing my own water bottle. I have 300 at home and I didn’t want to buy a new one and then add to the collection at home. Bring one with you.
  9. School supplies. I hunted high and low for a nice big notebook and finally found some German made block-lined paper. Needless to say, come with one or two on your own.
  10. If you have any “special” hygienic requirements, plan accordingly. Like I mentioned before, it’s been hot in Spain and their deodorant isn’t my Degree Sport. Also, I use Sensodyne toothpaste and I wasn’t sure if I could find that here so my parents sent some to me.
  11. Medicine—good luck figuring that out. Some people have had medicine stopped at boarders meanwhile others haven’t. So, make sure you figure that out before it’s too late.
  12. Bring a bathing suit. Regardless if it’s spring, summer, fall, winter, bring one. You’re bound to travel and that hotel will have a pool.
  13. A universal credit card. Visa is the way to go!
  14. Tape to hang up your photos and to post in your diary.
  15. Bring a little piece of home. I had my parents sent me my favorite stuffed animal that I shamelessly still sleep with. Bring your pillow pet, silk blanket, whatever it is.

Studying abroad is a life changing experience and this list is only the bare minimum of things I offer as advice. Good luck and happy packing!