When you are accepted into that perfect study abroad program the next step is to begin planning what you will need to take. Whether it is a 3 weeks, 6 weeks, semester or year long trip it can be quite difficult to decide what you should pack.
Start with the basics. Try to pack as light as you can, you will not be able to take everything you own, so try to stick to very versatile pieces. Take clothes that you can easily mix and match into several different outfits, this will save space and time in planning what you will be wearing. Pack clothes that you can layer easily on a cooler day, if your program will be several weeks or months long, the weather may vary quite a bit so being able to layer the clothing you bring can prepare you for what weather you may experience.
Most students use a laptop or tablet for taking notes and other school work since a majority is online now. Do not forget to take these, along with a backup charger, if you have one. The last thing you want is a broken charger when you are abroad. The same goes for phone chargers, take an extra. Get a universal outlet converter, so you can use your chargers in the other countries outlets. They are likely different from those you are used to in the United States and you will want to be able to use power outlets while abroad.
Buy shampoo and other toiletries you will need during your trip there. Do not try to pack full bottles in your check bag. It will take up a lot of weight and space and it’s much easier to just purchase them when you arrive. However, if you have a special soap that you use or any kind of prescription, be sure to take plenty of that and arrange ahead of time to have the amount you will need of the full length of the program. It can be hard to find specialty items like prescriptions abroad as there are often different laws and regulations that could prevent you from having these things.
One thing that I packed when I was on a 6-week program was fingernail clippers. This was something I took just in case and was shocked at how often they were used or others needed to borrow them. One thing looking back I wished I would have had were scissors. You would think you would not need them or would be able to find them but that was not the case. Several times me and other students needed scissors and did not have any, so if you think this is something you might want pack a small pair in your suit case. TSA rules are tricky regarding scissors though so double check the requirements if you will be carrying it on.