6 things students forget to bring when they study abroad
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest column by Brooke Chaplan
It’s always tough to prepare yourself for a study abroad trip. In most cases, this will be the first time you’ve left the country, and despite your months of preparation, there are going to be unexpected differences. Until you understand your new living conditions, it’s best to be prepared and bring the basic items you need to survive well in a foreign country. Don’t be like the others who have gone before you and forget these essential items on your study abroad.
Depending on where you go, you may find the personal hygiene products available don’t work quite the same way as your favorites back home. To tide you over while you find replacements, it’s a good idea to bring a three-month supply of any cosmetics, bath products, and deodorant that you use regularly. This includes a brush, shampoo, toothbrush, soap, contact lenses and solution, and razors.
In most instances, you’re going to do better exchanging your money when you get to the country in question. In the U.S., Forex fees are charged in addition to the fee charged by the establishment. If you go to a country like Japan, you will pay very close to the exchange rate. The best places to get money in a foreign country are usually at the local post offices, or by withdrawing money from your bank account at an ATM. However, you should bring at least $300 in local currency to help you get started
Purchasing a portable charger in your home country is a great way to make sure your electronics work when you arrive. A portable charger can keep your cell phone alive, and then you won’t get lost without some way to communicate. Even if you don’t have a cell phone contract in your new country, you can typically find a Wi-Fi network you can use to communicate online.
Look for a hair dryer that uses dual-voltage. This is much better than plugging your dryer into a converter. You may think the country you’re visiting will have the same electronics as your home country, but this isn’t always true.
You’re likely excited about trying out new foods, but it’s important to bring a cache of your favorites for emergencies. You’ll thank yourself when culture shock begins to set in, or when you find yourself alone in a foreign country and your stomach is upset from new water, living conditions, and foods.
Bottle with Filter
Bring a bottle that contains a built-in filter. You may find yourself stuck in the airport with little to no money. If you fill up your bottle with water, you can at least stave off dehydration and avoid much of the jet lag associated with long flights.
Many of the items you need can be found at your local stores like Target or Kohl’s. Use coupons from site like discountrue to save even more money, and make sure you purchase the lightest luggage possible. This will ensure you’re able to take as much with you as possible, without exceeding airline baggage limits.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening.