Packing for Study Abroad

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It’s almost time for a new group of UCEAP students to come study in the UK, which means it’s almost time to start packing.  Packing for a big move can be intimidating, especially when that move is to a foreign country, but knowing what you should bring and knowing what you can leave behind helps make the packing process less stressful so you can concentrate on the exciting times ahead!

fancy dress
A fancy dress event

What to Bring When coming to the UK it’s a good idea to bring some formal attire.  Perhaps you’ll be meeting someone you want to impress or be invited to a formal occasion (but beware, a fancy dress party means costumes, not fancy clothing).  But beyond formal events, the daily wear of people in the UK tends to be a little more dressed up than t-shirts and flip flops, so you may want to think about bringing some nicer every day outfits too.

That being said, you should still bring some UC branded clothing to represent your home campuses and California (perhaps a good conversation starter for those Brits interested in where you’re from), and flip flops make nice shower shoes if you ever stay in hostels while in Europe.

Packing Lightly If you’re only coming for one term, one suitcase and one carry-on item is enough; if you’re coming for a year you can bring more but remember that you’ll be the one carrying your luggage.  Try to only pack what you think you’re really going to use: if you’re only in the UK for one term you probably don’t need every pair of jeans and boots that you own.  And keep in mind that you might do some shopping while you’re abroad, so either save some extra space in your suitcase or plan to leave some things behind in the UK.

Packing cubes are a great way to create more space

In order to save more room for clothing, don’t pack items that can be purchased once you arrive, such as bedding, towels, kitchenware, and toiletries.  While it’s smart to bring a rain jacket and perhaps even rain boots, an umbrella is something you can easily get once you’re in the UK.

If you’re still worried about fitting everything, try stuffing smaller items inside your shoes and consider using packing cubes or space bags to compress those items that you have to take.