How to Pack for School in Another Country

Moving across the country or across the ocean for school can be very difficult, even if you are only going for one semester. Knowing how to pack can really make a difference!


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    First, research the country; from pop culture to cultural norms, the weather to whether there is much nightlife. These are things you will want to find out before pulling together items to pack.
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    Know the school! Does the school offer a suggested packing list? Are there outdoor activities or field trips on a regular basis? Are there opportunities to dress up? Is there a dress code to tell what is appropriate and when (skirt length, shorts, baseball caps, etc)?
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    Are you going to be living on campus or off? Either way you will want to know what is going to be provided in terms of towels and sheets and what you are responsible for yourself.
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    Bring comfortable and durable varieties of clothes. Is 80% of your clothing falling under the "comfortable with little attention required" category? Then 10% should be what some call "country club casual" dress code- a couple of skirts/pairs of slacks that can be appropriate both for day or evening events, button up shirt/nice top and cardigan, and a pair of comfortable, sturdy dress shoes. Finally the last 10%- fun, durable nightlife clothes, or trendy outfits.
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    Also, bring a big suitcase! Consider this carefully based on how much the transportation you will be using to get there may charge for the size of the bags. Two soft duffel bags of less than 50 lbs will cover a lot, if space and choices of clothing sets are managed wisely. Additionally, if your schedule allows for the pick up of a few items once you arrive, you may want to compare the cost of purchasing your hair care items over the duration of your travels to the cost (and weight) of packing as much of these expendable items to last the whole time. If the cost would be too much to purchase at your destination, perhaps consider pre-paying for parcels so a family member or friend can ship the needed items to you (and hopefully some items that will help you if you get homesick).
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    Pack for you! A few posters, tape, small items to personalize your home-away-from-home, music, books, small sports items, writing material. Especially if you are living in a dorm, write your name on anything you would hope to bring back with you after your term.
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    Bring something that is signature to your home area. Who knows? You could make a friend with common interests, or change the world just by showing someone what your normal life is like where you are from.
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    Capture the experience by taking a camera with you! if you are nervous about potentially losing a digital camera, then consider taking a package of disposable cameras. Today, some places that develop photos will also have an option for making the photos digital later. It will be nice to have hard copies for frames when you get back.


  • Confidence!!!
  • Bring permanent markers to identify any items you may purchase during your stay the same way.
  • Look at the school's brochure (if available) to see pictures of what other students were typically wearing. However if the brochure is from 1990s, it is advisable you research what the updated version may be before you pack.
  • If you are out of style make it a new trend!
  • Also if you can, include some goofy costume items. Even if you are not going to be there for a holiday you think you may need them for, they will come in handy with a crowd of people far from home.
  • If you don't want to bring rolled up posters, but like the idea of hanging up pictures, try purchasing interesting magazines that can later be disassembled for instant wall art!


  • Also write down everything you are packing as you are packing it. Take a list of everything you plan on purchasing when you get there so nothing gets missed, left behind or lost without your knowledge.
  • You'll be the one who has to carry your bags the most. However, you may not be the only one handling your belongings. Be sure items are tidy, secured if breakable, and that your bags are labeled with contact information for both your new address and someone back home they can call if there is a luggage issue until you arrive at your destination.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary legal documents to enter the country. If you're a not an American Citizen but plans to enter US, make sure you apply your VISA several months before your planned flight. There's a chance of being denied.
  • Check the legal documents required to re-enter the country if you plan to visit home during your school break. Laws that are applied on the citizens can be extremely different from non-citizens.

Things You'll Need

  • Legal traveling documents.
  • An idea of required items, budget, provided items, and transportation/cost restrictions that will assist you in making tough packing decisions.
  • Suitcase
  • clothes
  • hygiene products
  • camera
  • space decor
  • hometown signature item/s
  • Sense of adventure

Article Info

Categories: Travel Packing