Today, traveling abroad has become common practice with many leaving for recreation, medication, work, business, starting a family, and of course, education. Traveling abroad for study has proven to be highly beneficial to students both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It provides improved quality of education, quality of life, international connections, and many more opportunities for the students.
Similar to other travel abroad purposes, traveling for study exposes the students to new cultures, interests, and perspectives. However, it requires extensive research, thorough preparations, and a meticulous bag packing process.
Traveling Abroad for Study: Essential items that must be Carried
Most items can be purchased in the host country on arrival, however, certain materials are considered essentials, that must be sourced and carefully packed before the scheduled travel date, to ensure a hitch-free journey and settling-in process.
Some of these essentials include
Travel and Academic Documents
Some documents are indispensable for successful travel and settling into an academic environment. Documents such as the
- Admission letter
- Medical results
- Student health insurance form
- Copies of certificates from previous studies
- Academic transcripts (for postgraduate students)
- International passports
These documents are essentials that must be sourced and arranged in the student’s travel kit.
Most western institutions provide comprehensive study materials, however, the student must take along every available material that will aid learning. Forgetting laptops, mobile tablets, and lucid textbooks are usually common and upsetting, but can easily be avoided by meticulous packing.
Clothing and other Items
The frigid weather in western countries is a sharp contrast to the more temperate weather of the West African region. Before shopping for international travel, students are advised to research the culture, acceptable standard of modesty, and the climate of the region; this will provide information on the type of clothing to be packed. Other Items such as prescribed drugs, basic toiletries (enough to last three to four weeks), a journal (to document the journey and experience), and maps are also necessary items for individuals traveling abroad to study.
11 Tips for Packing your Bag
Packing for international education travel can be seamless and efficient if the following 9 tips are adopted.
1. Start packing early
This is the golden rule of packing for international education. The benefits of an early start in the packing process are always significant as it makes the process easier, more organized, and thorough. Starting 3-5 days early is recommended.
2. Pack the essentials first
What counts as essentials is primarily dependent on the region of travel. This should be carefully researched and discussed with a study abroad consultant.
Although every item that makes it to an international student’s travel kit is important, some are indispensable and must go in the suitcase first, arranged in an easily accessible space. The travel and academic documents, study materials, prescribed drugs and medications, and basic toiletries are all essentials and should be packed first. Travel documents and digital study materials can be kept in the hand luggage while toiletries and books can be arranged alongside the clothes in a bigger box. Get a collection of the needed medicines and antibiotics, including topical drugs and prescribed items such as glasses or contacts. These should be handy for use, at least until proper acclimatization and integration into the new location.
3. Obtain the Destination Currency or Traveler’s Check
The destination currency can be easily obtained in a credit union or local bank. Currency exchange is also allowed at the airport on arrival, however, it is recommended to obtain it before traveling. A traveler’s check can also be used for transactions in a study destination; what is important is that the intended transaction mode is obtained early, and stored in a safe place.
4. Reserve a safe space for electronic devices
Most electronic devices are regarded as essentials, however, no matter the difference in their order of importance, every electronic device including electronic readers, an extra laptop, tablet, and their chargers are all delicate, and must be treated as such. Reserving the safest part of the bag for electronic devices would be a great way to keep them safe. If possible, they should all be kept in the carry-on bag.
5. Arrange the heavy Items at the base of the bag
With the wide array of items that need to be contained in the traveling bag, packing for international education would require a meticulous arrangement of every item packed. Heavy items like books (if any), hoodies, chinos, suits (if any), and shoes should be kept at the base of the box. Then the less heavy ones like long sleeve shirts, scarves, shorts, and then the lighter ones such as socks, mittens, pajamas, and the rest.
6. Remember the essential toiletries
The essentials, enough to serve for the first three to five weeks should be carried along too. Toiletries like toothbrush/paste, toilet paper, pads, tampons, and make-up (for ladies), perfumes, bathing and laundry soap, routine medicines, should all be sourced and packed together with other items in the traveling bag.
7. Pack the miscellaneous items
Miscellaneous items including a journal, camera, a deck of cards, sunglasses, headsets, etc are all necessary for recreation. Some other miscellaneous items for international students are the backpack, writing materials, a padlock, and an Atlas. All these should be sorted early and packed.
8. Take some native food and piece of clothing
The excitement of international travel could make anyone want to leave every native item behind. However, it will only be a matter of days before a new international student starts feeling homesick and craving native meals. Packing some preserved native foodstuffs and clothing has proven helpful during those tough days. The native clothes can also be used for cultural representations during some extra-curricular activities in the student community.
9. Don’t overpack: Identify the things that are better left behind
Every secondary item should be left behind. The temptation to pack up every beautiful piece of clothing and the functional gadget is not an easy one to overcome, however, overpacking is simply unnecessary and should be avoided. Items such as hairdryer, umbrellas, laundry bags, pillows, etc can be easily purchased in the new country so they should not occupy much-needed space in your bag.
10. Remember to sort travel outfits early
Travel outfits in this context are the clothes you intend to travel in. Sorting out travel cloth on time: possibly before packing starts will help keep the packed boxes undisturbed. While choosing a traveling cloth, some factors like the region’s current weather condition, the people’s culture, comfort, and perceived reception should all be considered.
11. Check that nothing is left behind
Though an early start and meticulous packing will reduce the chances of leaving anything behind, every part of the house should be checked to ensure that indeed nothing is left behind.
Packing bags is usually the last stage during the preparation process to traveling abroad for study. Although it’s the biggest indication of a successful school and visa application process, it is usually despised by many prospective international students.
However, packing your bags for an international study adventure could be seamless, thorough, and fun, if the 9 tips discussed, are followed.