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Packing Tips for a Year of Study Abroad

Highways Agency


Cramming a full year into two small bags.

As the countdown continues ticking down, I finally decided it was time to tackle one of the most daunting tasks of all. Packing. While I kept telling myself I had a limit of 30kg to get into my case, in reality it’s not the weight that’s the problem—it’s the amount of space I physically have in my case.

When deciding what to pack, three things are constantly at the forefront of my mind.

1. I am going for a year, which means I need a four seasons wardrobe—no easy feat.

2. If I don’t bring it with me, how much will it cost me to buy it over there?

3. It’s not just like packing for a holiday; I also have to think about bedding, towels etc

First, I did a huge wardrobe clear out and gave any items that I didn’t want to friends, family and to charity. Being the over-organized freak that I am, I then sorted what I had left into categories. I soon found out I had way too many party dresses and not enough shirts. This sort of helped me to balance my packing a bit more.

The top things I sacrificed were shoes. Much to my dismay, carrying four pairs of high heels was just not practical, so I opted for a pair of plain black heels that will cover most bases.

While coats and jumpers are big and bulky, they are usually the most expensive to buy, especially good quality ones. I decided it was better to forfeit a few little tops and skirts in order to take my coats, which are going to come in super handy in an English winter.

Once I had sorted my personal belongings, I moved on to less exciting items such as bedding. It was quite a shock to me that absolutely no bedding was provided in the residences at the University of East Anglia. At home in New Zealand, we always received a bedding pack upon arrival in our dorm.

While UEA does offer a service where you can order a bedding pack, other bloggers had warned it was overpriced and not very good quality. So, in order to get the most for my money I packed a warm blanket from home and my duvet cover. After looking online (I used Tesco’s website, one of the biggest department store chains in the UK), I found that these things would cost between £10 and £15. (Unless I wanted the one with One Direction on it, which was surprisingly cheaper—but definitely not going to happen). Comparatively buying a set of sheets would only cost £6, so buying those in England will be no biggie.

In order to tide myself over until I can get to the local shops, I packed my sleeping bag. Again, while kind of bulky it will be invaluable when I’m travelling. I can use it at youth hostels, camping or crashing on my friend’s couches while travelling.

My last packing tip concerns towels. Not the most exciting thing to take with you, but undoubtedly practical. They retailed between £5 and £10 on the Tesco’s online store. While not expensive, it’s still another thing to add to my ever-growing list of “things to buy in England.” Instead, I picked up two microfiber travel towels. They are thin and light but super absorbent. They also squash down into little squares for easy packing and travelling. Again, if you have got the room I would recommend packing them.

The actually packing part is also hard. Usually I get my Grandma to help me as she is the world’s best packer! Unfortunately she now lives too far away so I had to attempt it on my own. Some things I found helpful was to roll things up tight and to stuff the space in your boots and shoes full of little bits of clothing.

Happy packing!

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Hannah Pym

Hannah Pym is an student in Norwich, England on exchange from the University of Auckland. Born in New Zealand, Hannah spent her teenage years in Australia. She is completing her undergraduate degree in English and History.

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