Study in the UK: What to bring and what not to bring

August 10th, 2006 · No Comments


Two carry-ons and two pieces of luggage to check in.

That’s it.

I’m not sure if it’s an American thing or what, but I remember how I and almost every other student going abroad to the Syracuse University London Program for the Fall 2003 semester packed our carry-ons and luggage to the brim with, well, unneeded crap.

Why is unneeded crap an issue?

Because you don’t think about how you are going to get all that unneeded crap home as well as all the other crap you are going to accumulate during your stay abroad. You’ll be buying new books for school and to read on the Tube, clothes, souvenirs, those cool British magazines, your London A to Z and oodles of things from all those London markets you’ll be shopping at every weekend.

And some of us have other buying habits. I, for instance, DJ and mix records at home and figured I’d find some friends in London to play with, so, I brought my record case as one of my carry-ons. I successfully found friends with turntables but never thought about the fact that I was going to end up buying handfuls of new records and have to figure out how I was going to fit them all in my record case to bring home. Oops.

Anyways, aside from the records, I had to leave so much stuff behind when I came back home. I left a good couple hundred dollars worth of old clothes that I still wanted, books, magazines, really nice computer speakers (that I bought since nobody had any and we needed to have music for a couple parties in our flat, of course), towels and God knows what else. I waited until the last minute to pack for my return home too, which didn’t help.

Okay, I know I need to have a point here.

Bring what you need and only what you need. Don’t bring your whole wardrobe—you’ll be buying cheap amazing British fashion in no time. Don’t bring “back-up supplies” like extra toiletries. I swear that somehow American students fear that they won’t be able to find a drugstore in London that sells soap or contact lens solution. You can double, or even triple this fear for parents. Don’t bring a hairdryer or iron or any other random appliances. Chances are your flat mates will either have them already or you can all pitch in to buy cheap ones.

You get the idea, right? Because moving back to the states sucks when you’re trying to decide what to bring back and what to leave behind. Oh, and don’t even think about shipping crap home. It’ll cost more that your stuff is worth to ship via FedEx, which will put your stuff on a plane. You can, however, literally ship stuff home on a ship via regular postal mail, but that takes months and you can’t even track your packages.

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