Studying Abroad: Packing Tips

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Kristopher Medina
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(part 2 of a 3 part series)

I spent five months in The Hague, Netherlands! (Yes, it’s a small town, and if you want to know WHY I choose this location, please read my previous study abroad blog about location and weather. )  If you are even considering studying abroad, DO IT! Taking the leap of faith and stepping out of your home country, let alone state, can seem unimaginable but will be worth the experience. As fun as it may seem, you truly do a lot of learning while abroad. You will learn a tremendous amount about a new culture and even more about yourself. Since the whole process may seem daunting at times here are some tips that I wish I had known before studying abroad.


There are two things to think about when packing: packing to leave home and packing for shorter trips throughout Europe. First off, the contents needed in your suitcase will largely be based off the country you choose to study in and how many souvenirs you want to bring back. I recommend taking two suitcases. Stuff one to the fifty-pound limit and leave the other one about half full.

Think about attire

If you want to fit in, and not look like a tourist, it’s important to consider what they wear in that culture. People tend to dress nicer in Europe than we do in America, so I would recommend taking a pair of nice looking shoes to go out in and a pair of comfortable shoes to walk around in all day. Leave your graphic tees at home and stick to more plain tops; patterns are fine too. If you want to stick out like a sore thumb wear American flag tees. Please do not forget a pair of comfy pants and a pair of nice looking jeans. Female students need to be aware that some tourist attractions, like St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, require your knees and shoulders to be covered out of respect for the monument. Also, leggings and yoga pants are not as popular in Europe. My girlfriend only took two pairs and never wore them outside of the house. If you insist on wearing them out I would recommend dressing them up. Finally, pack a lighter jacket, like a hoodie, and a heavy coat if you want to visit colder countries.

Luggage matters

For people studying in Europe, the flights between european countries are cheap but they will nickel and dime you for everything else. This means you are only taking a carry on and some airports will ensure that every carry-on is the right size. Therefore, you may want to check the airline’s guidelines before traveling. I just used a backpack. Once I watched a man break the wheels off of one those hard shell roll-able carry-ons so that it would fit the size requirement! These may be convenient in the states but they may have some limitations in other areas of the world. Also be aware that every liquid you pack must be in a plastic bag. Some people just bought toiletries in every country they visited and left them there.

Packing is a important aspect when traveling abroad. Everything from your clothing to your technology matters. Check out part 3 of my blog where I’ll discuss technology and things to consider when taking your tech with you on your study abroad experiences. When it comes to packing for your study abroad trip, it’s important to consider the attire you will wear, how you pack your items, and to follow restrictions per country or airline to avoid them confiscating your items at security or customs.

Pearson Students: are you packing for your study abroad trip? Where are you heading? What are you looking forward to most? Share by commenting below!

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