Hello!! For this month’s blog post, I have decided to tackle the all-consuming question that most study abroad students have when packing for their adventures in a new country… What, exactly, to PACK! Based on my own personal experiences while studying abroad in Rome, I’d say the top ten items to ensure make it into your luggage are:
1. More than one winter coat! Even if you’re leaving to study abroad in August (for fall students), I would recommend packing at least one jacket—preferably two, for variety if you can manage the space—for your trips. Airports are often cold, and when winter comes you’ll want to be comfortable instead of scrambling to find something warm enough when it suddenly decides to rain AND drop below 50 degrees (yes, I speak from personal experience, unfortunately).
2. Comfortable tennis shoes! You’ll be doing a lot of walking—trust me, a LOT. Blisters take away from the experience; comfort wins over cuteness after the blister on your heel bursts during dinner and you have to hobble home!
3. Something from home—a stuffed animal, or maybe a soft blanket. It helps when you’re feeling a little homesick, and it also makes your room feel a little more cozy/familiar.
4. Your own deodorant! This might sound strange, but having a deodorant you’re used to is much nicer than trying to find a different one, often labeled in an unfamiliar language, that works for you (this is not my personal experience, but it IS my roommate’s).
5. Your favorite pens! This might be a personal quirk, but I miss my felt tip pens for taking notes; I should have brought them with me.
6. Enough socks!—and at least one pair of fuzzy socks, for when the floors get cold.
7. A new book or two, for times when you’re stuck at an airport at 3 am and cannot sleep.
8. Plenty of scarves! They help add flare to any outfit, and most people wear them—especially now as I’m writing this, when it is cold outside.
9. A journal! To document your experiences, and to hoard all your tickets/paper keepsakes. You can always buy one while abroad, but I found it fun to buy one beforehand so I could personalize the cover.
10. And most of all, pack an OPEN MIND. If you’re a future study abroad student, I wish you the best of luck; you’re going to experience so many amazing people, places, and sites that will change you for the better. I know they’ve left a lasting mark on me!
Laura is a Fall 2017 SAI Rome student from Baylor University.