Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Studying Abroad in Europe may be one of the most beneficial experiences of your collage degree! Studying Abroad in one of the most diverse continents in the world, is not only exciting but also extremely valuable for your future career.
To find out more of the benefits of studying abroad in Europe be sure to check out our other pages.
Anyway, we will now explore ‘What to pack when studying abroad in Europe’ by creating a packing list for study abroad in Europe – to allow you to have the best and most beneficial experiences for when you embark on your studies abroad in Europe.
We will go through the 20 most essential items to have on your ‘packing list for study abroad in Europe’
20 essential items to pack when studying abroad in Europe.
1. Universal adapter – 1st Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Your new accommodation will likely have different plugs from the ones where you are from. The adapter below has dual USB ports and built-in fuse protection and should be ideal for your needs.
2. Important documents – 2nd Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Do not forget your important items: passport, visa, plane tickets as well as printed out itinerary. Also, it is a great idea to make copies of these, just in case they get stolen or lost. Lastly, purchasing a travel case for documents – is a great idea to organise your items.
3. Surgical Face masks and Hand sanitizer - 3nd Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
With the recent evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic – many Countries in Europe require residents to wear face masks in public or when using public transport. Therefore, purchasing face masks and sanitizer is a great idea to addition to your packing list for study abroad in Europe.
4. Download Mobile Apps - 4th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Downloading certain apps will help you in a variety of ways to make your transition abroad a lot smoother and less hassle. For example – ‘Maps.me’ allows you to download maps of certain areas (and in some cases of whole countries) all for free – meaning that you can always access maps offline without data. Also, apps like google translate can help you break through that language barrier and scan signs and menus – if you need help translating words and phrases. But it is key to do some research for your particular country – as some apps work better for some countries than others. E.g. whilst studying abroad in Japan I found out the app ‘TripAdvisor’ does not work as well as ‘Table log’ – for more information – check out my blog.
5. Portable charger - 5th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Portable chargers are an additional essential item to pack – you never know when you’ll be out-and-about and then your phone battery dies on you – it’s happened to me and I’m sure it may have happened to some of you. When abroad it is even more essential - especially if you are visiting an unknown part of the country and find yourself lost and unable to speak the local language.
6. Medication - 6th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Following on from toiletries, another essential is packing all relevant medication and over-the-counter medicines. From personal experience It can be a nightmare navigating around a foreign pharmacy – but it can be even worse if you are running a high or temporarily ill – to then begin to communicate your issues to the store assistant can be a further issue. That is why I recommend you stock up on advil, anti-diarrheal, cough drops, and anti-nausea meds in case of emergency. Also, if you take prescribed medication – make sure you have at least 6 months’ supply.
7. Toiletries – 7th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Before travelling make sure you have your bathroom essentials such as facewash, wipes, body scrub– for example, it can be a nightmare to locate your favourite brands when living abroad. E.g. - If you have a specific sun cream that you can’t live without, or particular makeup wipes you love then stocking up on a couple of packs or bottles could be essential.
8. Laptop and items for Studying - 8th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
This may be a ‘no-brainer’ however it is always good to check that your laptop has its charger other essentials in the carry bag before packing. Also taking a few other essentials that you may us for helping you work, or study is always a great idea – eg a favourite pen. But – do not go overboard and waste space on non-essentials such as a work pad and writing equipment – as you can purchase them there.
9. International sim card - 9th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
What you need to do to get your hands on an international sim is by firstly asking your current carrier about the most economical international plan – if they provide sufficient information then that is great. However, if not it may also be worthwhile purchasing a SIM card in the European country you will be staying and keep your old sim in a safe place in for when you return home.
10. Famine products - 10th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
These essentials link back to toiletries – We all know how frustrating it can be to track down our favourite brand of pads or tampons. For example, in some countries in South East Asia, tampons can only be found in large cities – So bringing one or two boxes can be a great idea.
11. One small and one large towel - 11th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Packing a few towels is by far an essential item – on arrival the first thing you may one to have is a shower, after being stuck in an airport for so many hours, to then navigating your residency – the best thing at the end of a busy day is a night warm shower.
However, on a side note - I wouldn’t go over board as most items can be bought there.
12. Snacks from home – 12th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Remembering the last time I went travelling abroad – my stomach had a hard time adjusting to my new found Japanese diet, and even though I love fish and sushi, for the first couple of weeks I desperately wanted to eat something my body sees as ‘familiar’ to snack on. So, speaking from previous experience it may be wise to pack some goodies with you – if that be chocolate bars, crisps, cereal bars. Also, during fresher’s week, it is always nice to share your local food with everyone else!
13. Journal –13th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
I recommend anyone who is deciding to study abroad in Europe to pack a journal. In 10-20 years from now you will want to look back on your experience of studying abroad – you may be thinking “I can journal my travels on Instagram’ – but is Instagram really useful if you want to remember the emotions, feelings and activities you did in that day? Research has proven that keeping and writing a journal not only helps your mind process your emotions but also allows you to reflect on your life and experiences to allow you to better yourself. If you are wondering ‘What to write about’
Check out my blog titled ‘5 Tips on how to Write a travel journal’.
14. Headphones – 14th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Packing a sound pair of headphones will allow you to listen to your favourite podcasts and music while flying to your destination. As well, having a great set of headphones is always handy for when working out or even commuting to University.
15. Rucksack – 15th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
A solid rucksack like this can hold your computer and notebooks when you’re going to University each day. It’s also great for weekend excursions and trips for when travelling with your friends.
16. Mementos from Home – 16th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Such items may include – pictures of family and friends, cards and gifts you may have received before leaving or even small things that remind you of specific people.
17. Clothes for both seasons – 17th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Again, I would like to stress ‘Do not overpack’ by bringing your whole wardrobe. I would advise to bring a small selection of clothing: e.g. 4x T-shirts, 4x Trousers and maybe a few skirts and dresses. Also consider the climate that you will be living: For example, if you are studying abroad in Spain your clothes will differ greatly compared to a student deciding to study abroad in Finland for a year. So be smart and consider your personal circumstances.
18. Kindle or a collection of a few books – 18th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Packing a book or two is ideal for flighting, however I would not recommend packing an excessive number of books due to the fact that they are weighty and can take a disproportionate amount of space in your suitcase.
19. Bug spray and sun cream - 19th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Protecting yourself from the sun and bugs is always a number one priority. Obviously, it will depend on the country you are studying in. For example, if you are studying abroad in Greece and arriving in September sun cream is a necessity as the temperature is still within the mid 20s. However, if you are studying abroad in Norway, such items can be purchased later on in the year.
20. Swimsuit - 20th Item on our packing list for studying abroad in Europe
Packing a swimsuit can be a great idea! It is most likely that your host university is bound to have exercise facilities. That is why packing your favourite swim gear is wise idea, to save you the hassle when finding such items on arrival.
Also, if arriving in a hot European country, swimming in the sea during first week with your new house mates is always a fun way to bound.
Other items not to forget when studying abroad in Europe –
Shaving supplies Extra phone chargers
At least one nice outfit for formal occasions
Flip flops/ sandals
Sneakers/ dress shoes/ boots/ rain boots
Cold weather gear (gloves, hat, scarf) REMEMBER:
Become a ‘smart’ traveller and do not overpack – as you will firstly waste space in your luggage and secondly it is anticipated that you are likely to return home with more so plan for that eventuality.
That is why, I also suggest that when you are coming to book your return flights home -plan ahead: Maybe book an extra piece of luggage or pre send some items home.