The other day, I went to pick up my friend from the airport as she is beginning a semester abroad at the University. She brought two suitcases and a rucksack. As someone who lives very close to my home town, it was easy for me to pack up my stuff to move into my accommodation. I brought whatever I thought I needed and as many clothes as I wanted. I cannot imagine packing up everything I need into such a small amount of luggage… so after some thought, I compiled a small list of the essentials you’ll need whilst studying abroad (and what not to bring).
This is very obvious but I thought I’d just point out that all important documents like your passport or your visa should be kept on your person in your hand luggage. You will need these in order to pass smoothly through immigration as well as to pick up your key when you arrive at your accommodation. Keep these safe!
You can buy a SIM card when you arrive in the UK but if you can, try to purchase one beforehand in your home country. This will mean that you can easily call and use the internet as soon as you land. Giffgaff, EE and Three are popular providers here in the UK.
It can be useful to have a little cash on you but in general we recommend that you carry as little cash as possible. In the UK, pretty much every shop or service accepts card. The best thing is to open your UK bank account as soon as you can because carrying large amounts of cash is not the safest option for you.
Something to remind you of home
You can buy most things here including bedding and furniture if you need it. However, its always nice to bring things that matter to you and will make you feel at home, like a stuffed toy or photographs of your family to decorate your room.
In general, unless you have extra space in your luggage, you do not need to bring food. There are a lot of Asian and world supermarkets here so although you won’t be able to find everything you can in your home country, you’ll be able to buy most foods. Use the space in your luggage for something more important like a warm coat or jumper.
You do not need to buy books off your reading list until you get here. Most schools have a scheme where you can buy textbooks from older students or they provide free online versions of the books listed in your course, so its always better to wait and see.
I would try and bring at least one warm coat as especially during winter, you cannot survive without it. Also, its not vital to pack formal wear because you will only need it a few times during the year and you can easily hire it or buy something cheaply if you need to. It is definitely useful to have a pair of smart trousers or a smart top, however!
Make sure you’re smart with your packing and not bringing anything you aren’t going to use during your time here. You really can buy most things here so don’t worry too much if you forget anything!