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Student Speaks – Packing the Essentials

So you have successfully gained admission at the university of your choice, in the country of your choice, your documents are ready, and your flights are booked. Now comes the laborious process of packing. Packing for university is something that a lot of students struggle with, mainly because, its everyone’s first time, and there seems so much that you want to take with you! So, this segment focuses on making sure that you know what to pack, and how to make the most efficient use of space so that you don’t end up spending money on items that you could have easily brought from home!

It is absolutely imperative that you first find out whether you will be living in, as it is commonly known in the UK, catered or self-catered accommodation, or in simple terms, will you be making your own food, or will meals or a meal plan be provided by the university. If you are self-catered, it is much simpler. You do not need to pack any utensils or other kitchen essentials, because you will not be cooking at your residence. However, for self-catered students, it is important to carefully pack as many utensils and other small kitchen essentials that you can into your bags, because these tend to be expensive when shopping for them abroad.

Moreover, it is also fundamental that you formulate a checklist which clearly states what you are carrying in your bag. Also, do this for all the important documents that you will be carrying with you. Making checklists may seem unnecessary when packing your bags at home, but when you reach the university, it can be a blessing to know that everything you packed has arrived with you, and nothing essential is missing.

Most airlines give students the facility to carry an additional piece of baggage, whether it be check-in or carry-on, make sure that you check with your airline. Different countries impose different baggage weight restrictions, so make sure you have read up on those too, to avoid paying hefty extra weight fees.

If your study-abroad destination is the UK, the Northern Parts of the USA or Canada, make sure that you carry enough warm clothing. It might seem obvious, but it is fine if you leave out some of your thinner t-shirts for thicker pullovers or cardigans, as warm clothes are quite expensive in these countries.

Many universities will publish mini-checklists outlining what you can or cannot bring with you to the student accommodation if your residence is arranged for by the University. These checklists may be published or given to you by your landlord or private accommodation provider as well. Make sure that you strictly adhere to these, as many University on-campus accommodations do not allow students to use electrical devices such as large screen TVs or Electric stoves in their rooms due to fire-safety hazards.

Lastly, to make the most of the space you have in your bag, try rolling your garments into neat rolls, and leave out small non-essential toiletries like shampoos and shower-gels which you can easily buy when you reach your destination. Another top-tip is, many airlines will allow you to carry your laptop separately in a slim laptop bag, to free-up space in your carry on baggage !

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