Late August brings on the season of heading back to the classroom and the end of summer vacations. These few weeks for some students don’t present an end to summer, but rather a continuation of travel into the new semester as they head out to study abroad. By this point in time, you probably have your study abroad semester finalized and now must begin the packing process. While the mistakes to avoid on a study abroad include packing too much, you can also bemoan for several weeks in foreign lands the items you failed to bring. Don’t leave these items behind before you ship out to your world classroom.
A Deck of Cards: It is amazing the friends you can make over a simple card game. During my semester in Sicily, I remember idling away hours on trains around the island while playing. A simple game of cards can be a bonding moment also cross-culturally. You can get to know those locals you meet by learning their classic card games and sharing your own. Study abroad stints feature loads of hours on public transportation and many moments around new people. A deck of cards can be a great icebreaker.
A Pocket Dictionary: You can start your world travels on the right foot by at least attempting your destination’s language. A simple pocket dictionary should go into your bag if your studies take you to a land that doesn’t speak your language. This will come into use on more occasions than you think. If you aren’t into the paper variety, download a dictionary for your smartphone to always have the ability to communicate at your fingertips.
A Sturdy Camera: Two months into one of my study abroad semesters, my camera decided it had reached the end of its road. I was forced to just steal pictures from my classmates the rest of the semester. While I could have purchased a new camera abroad for a premium price, I could have avoided the problem by packing a sturdier camera. You will want to document everything you see and everyone you meet on your semester abroad. Don’t leave those moments purely to memory and bring a camera that is tried and tested. Many camera shops will even tell you what are more durable camera models and how to keep them from going to a camera graveyard in the middle of your study abroad adventure.
Something Special From Home: I felt a bit like the world’s worst host student during my semester in Florence. I neglected to bring a gift for my host parents, something small and special from my hometown. If you are doing a homestay, it is always a nice gesture to bring your host family something from where you come from as a thank you. Even if you aren’t taking part in a home stay experience on your study abroad, it is a good idea to bring something that is special to you from home. Even if it is just a photograph of your family, a little something for home can be a comfort on days when you are a little homesick.
A Fold-Up Duffle Bag: You are going to accumulate items while study abroad, even if you aren’t a shopper. From class books to souvenirs, you aren’t going to have the space in your bag if you don’t have a duffle bag at the bottom of your suitcase. A little duffle bag tucked into your main bag is an easy item to pack. You can lay it flat in your bag and never know its there until the end of the semester when you need it for extra items you gathered on your studies in foreign lands.
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