Things They Don’t Tell You to Bring When Studying Abroad or Being an International Student

You’ve made the decision to study abroad or to go abroad for four years as an international student. Awesome! Whoever is helping you through the process has probably told you the visa regulations, the climate, and so on. However, there are some things that you will wish you had brought with you that no one will tell you!

Here is a short list of things that I (or people I have known) have learned the hard way:

* Bring copies of photos of family and friends! These can be useful in decorating your room, sharing stories about people back home, etc. Printing them off in your home country will probably be cheaper (and of better quality) than printing them in another country. (Example: 11 photos in USA would cost 28 cents for immediate print. In South Africa, it cost almost $7 USD and two days to print photos!)

* Movies and music on your computer, iPad or tablet. True, you didn’t come to another country to sit and watch movies from your home country. However, there will be times where you don’t have things to do or just need to relax. Having movies on your computer will help pass some of that time. (Also download them before you travel – as not every location will have as good of internet connections!)

* Food and candy! Goodies such as Poptarts, Koolaid packets, graham crackers, and Skittles will help make you feel less homesick, when those blues come. They also serve as fun ways of sharing part of your own culture with friends! (My mom sent me an “Easter box” that had Peeps, sweet-tarts, and Swedish fish in the shape of rabbits and eggs that I was able to share with my American and South African friends!)

What are some other things that you wish you had brought with you when going abroad for a long period of time?

(Photo credits:; Karolyn Wojtowicz; and Wikipedia)