Packing for Your Semester Abroad

I’ve been living abroad for a little while now, and it think it is a good idea to talk a little bit about packing for a semester abroad.


When I did my packing, I had an idea of what the climate in Ireland would be like. I also took into account my personal style and the contrasting European style.  Though these were the two main considerations I stuck to, there are many other considerations that need to be taken into account. When packing a bag, know yourself. Know, if you are going to want lots of clothing options, or if you will need a variety of shoes. Do not limit the things that you know you will need or want. In that same light, don’t go overboard. I packed a single suitcase (a vary large suitcase) and really limited myself in what I needed opposed to what I wanted. I made a plan to buy clothing while abroad, because I will be in Europe during the winter, spring and summer months. I mix and match clothing, and swear by layering clothing, because I can use that clothing for the winter and summer months. Another smart idea is to pack clothing or buy clothing that can match multiple things. My wardrobe consists of earth toned colors and a few brighter pieces here and there to add for a bit a spice in my life. When considering what to pack, just know, that however many bags you have packed, you and only you will have to carry and lug all of those bags around. I have a friend who came to Ireland with 3 large suitcases, and a duffel bag and had to worst time in the airport and then on the bus, because she simply had too much. Along with that, she doesn’t even ware half of the clothing she brought because it doesn’t suit the Irish climate.


When packing think about certain toiletries, and medicines that you know you will absolutely need. Talk with your pharmacists early on, to figure out how to get or have your medicine abroad. If you wear contacts, it might be a good idea to pack a couple extra containers of saline. It can get pretty expensive in Europe. Deodorant is a completely different concept in Europe. If you aren’t comfortable spray deodorant, or deodorants that contain metals, I would suggest packing a extra deodorant. If you don’t wear deodorant at all, you are more than welcome in Europe! It is always a good idea to have extra of anything that you know you will need. I brought extra contacts, because I would rather be safe than sorry. Again, know yourself. Know, what you will need and what you cannot live without.

Technology and such:

Electrical outlets are different here, and depending on where you are traveling there can be different kinds of sockets. The U.K and Ireland have the same type of socket, while mainland Europe has a different type of electrical socket. If you are going to Australia and surrounding Islands, they too have different sockets. Do your research before you leave, so that you know what kind of technology you will have access to and what things you need to buy before you go. If you have a habit of doing your hair, know that you’ll probably have to buy your curling iron or straightener in your host country. I’ve found that blow dryers that are bought in your host country work better and are less dangerous than ones brought from home. The amount of electricity output is different in Europe so, using that blow dryer from home, could start a fire. The more you research, the more you’ll and the better you’ll be off.

Packing for a semester abroad can be stressful, but it can also be a learning experience. Take time to really map out what you want and what you need abroad. If you forget something, don’t stress, there is will always be a way to get the things you need while abroad!


Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.