Study Abroad Packing List: Do’s and Don’ts

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Hello from Germany! I’ve already talked about the 4 Reasons I Chose to Study Abroad, so I thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve learned so far. First on the list: packing.

The thought of stuffing a whole semester’s worth of belongings into a suitcase can be overwhelming, and often leads to over packing and forgotten essentials. We pack clothes, electronics, bedding, toiletries, and next thing we know our suitcase looks like we’re packing for an impending apocalypse.

On the off chance you’re like me and you want to pack more clothes than can fit in a suitcase? I say forget diamonds, vacuum seal bags are a traveling girl’s best friend!

So what are some essentials we often forget to bring and “essentials” we need to ditch?

1) Don’t Bring Clothing You Already Barely Wear
You’re packing for a whole semester: that means clothing you pack should be something you see yourself wearing and re-wearing often. And this goes for all clothes: if you’re bringing an item that you already know will only be worn occasionally, it better be small or you’ll quickly identify it as that waste-of-space-item-that-took-up-precious-space-in-your-34-inch-suitcase! Pack items you know to be tested and true.


2) Do Bring Comfortable Footwear
You’re likely to be studying in a city, do a lot more walking than you’re used to and (if you’re traveling to Europe) can count on walking on cobblestone—and no one wants hurt ankles or the public humiliation of falling

Ladies, I’m talking to you when I say: if you’re thinking of bringing heeled shoes give a long hard evaluative look at how often you’ll actually wear them. With such short walks between classes at Bentley, it’s easy to tolerate wearing uncomfy shoes for the sake of tying together an outfit. Study abroad…not so much.

I’m guilty of bringing what I thought were comfortable heeled wedges with me and after walking over 15 miles in them on my first day in Mannheim, Germany, I threw them in the back of my closet and haven’t seen them since.


3) Don’t Pack a Semester’s Worth of…
You don’t even need to complete this thought. You are going to college in a new city, you’re not a tribute in the 24th annual Hunger Games. And unlike our favorite fictional characters, you will be able to find essentials with a reasonable amount of ease. Wherever you’re going will probably have shops, drugstores and access to Amazon shipping.


4) Do Double Check You Have All Your Chargers
If you’re bringing electronics make sure each device has its charger. If it’s a charger for an iPhone, you’re fine—you can buy those anywhere. But if you make the same mistake as me and forget a charger not ordinarily sold in stores and have to wait for two weeks of shipping to use your speakers in your room, the responsible electronic(s) will be both literally and figuratively dead to you.


5) Do Bring Layer-able Clothes
If you’re going abroad for a semester odds are the weather will vary during your time overseas. To avoid packing too many clothes, be smart and bring non-season specific clothing you can layer when it’s cold, and still wear if the weather gets warmer. This helps you avoid having to wear half your wardrobe to and from your travel destination.


6) Don’t Bring all Your America/University/Greek Apparel
You’re going overseas as a student, not as a tourist. So when in (insert country of travel here) act as the (insert nationality of country here) do. It’s cool to show off your school and country pride while abroad, but so is not being taken advantage of for being a tourist. By all means be proud to be American, but also remember the best way to experience another culture is to immerse yourself in how they act.


Want to learn more about study abroad? Check out Bentley’s Office of International Education and some of the programs it offers.

Presented By:

Kelly Grady is a senior in the Bentley Honors Program, with a major in Information Design and Corporate Communications. Outside of school she runs her own blog and interns with the professional services company, Grant Thornton, in recruiting. What makes her most proud to be a Falcon are the opportunities offered to students to engage in new experiences such as studying abroad in Germany and volunteering at the FutureM Marketing Conference.