Geology major, Spanish minor
Universidad de Burgos
Fall semester 2016
I think I’m good at packing for trips. I went through Boy Scouts. I can pack for any camping trip that comes my way. I’ve been on dozens of weeklong vacations with my family. I know how to ration out which clothes I can wear for more than one day. But a 4 month study abroad experience caught me a little off guard. Yes, I ended up taking two suitcases and had to pay a little extra to check that other bag, and yes, I did end up buying a few things here that I completely forgot back home or didn’t bring enough of (in my case, I needed some extra shorts and a new pair of shoes). Anyway, here’s my personal list of things you will most definitely want to remember to bring when you study abroad.
Clothes: This might sound obvious to some, but you will most likely bring an insufficient amount of something to wear. Anything from socks to bathing suits, you will end up buying some sort of clothing whilst abroad. I have already bought two pairs of shorts, a pair of shoes, two sweaters, and a T-shirt from the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert I went to (which was super awesome by the way). In case you forget all of your clothes back home, it will be possible to purchase a new wardrobe in the city you’re in, but good luck figuring out the size conversions for all the different types of clothing you’ll have.
A Hobby: You will have plenty of days where you will be bored. It’s a given. It’s scientifically proven that you cannot be 100% occupied for 4 months while abroad. So on those slow days that you have off of school, or those long afternoons when you’re skipping class, bring something to do. My two biggest hobbies are easily rock climbing and playing video games. Sadly, I was not able to bring the climbing wall from the WMU rec center over to Spain with me, but I was able to bring my climbing equipment! This has led to a handful of fun times out on the rock faces in the pueblos of Spain. As for my video games, I brought my Nintendo 3DS. I use it whenever I’m sick of thinking too much in Spanish, but I also bought a Spanish Pokemon game from the local “Game” store (It’s literally called Game) to at least keep my brain a little active while taking a siesta. Other ideas I have heard from other students include bringing an instrument, reading a book, or even getting a gym membership.
A Power Strip: No, the plugs are not the same where you are going. Yes, you should buy a converter. Yes, you should bring a power strip to plug into that converter so you can charge all of your essentials at the same time!
Sentimental Thingies: Being away from friends and family will not be an easy task. 4 months is a long time to be away, and so a few small things to put on your desk in your room can’t hurt. In my case, I made sure to bring a few of my favorite Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards because they’re an inside joke with my dad (long story), a few letters from my significant other, and a journal for myself. All of these help me feel just a little more connected to my loved ones back home.
Anyway, those are just a few of my recommendations. You’re final packing list will be much longer than these few things, and it will be hard figuring out what you can leave behind and what is essential. Hopefully this can help a few of you!