By Elle Walsh, 3rd year Applied Languages student at the University of Limerick
It can seem daunting trying to get ready for a semester abroad if you’ve never lived outside of Ireland before. Knowing what to pack, what to leave behind and most importantly, what to expect can be a real challenge. That’s why I’ve decided to make a quick checklist of what I believe is essential.
If you’re only going for one semester like most University of Limerick students do, it’s important to not bring too much stuff as you won’t need it all and it will just be a pain dragging stuff that you barely wore back home again. If you’re going for the first semester you will most likely be arriving to warm summer like conditions, DO NOT be tempted to bring heaps of summer clothes and the weather will change quickly and you’ll be left feeling cold.I think it’s a good idea to bring one of everything and try make sure that most of the things you bring match the other stuff, so you can create new outfits which will stop you getting bored of your clothes. In most mainland European countries except for Spain girls don’t get as dressed up as we do at home, my advice is to leave the heels behind and bring some nice boots that you feel comfortable in to wear out at night.Remember that you will most likely always want to buy something new as well when you're over there so don’t over do it. Packing lightly is not my strong suit and it is something that I regret!
Before I left UL in December 2016 to start my year abroad someone told me to scan everything important to you and put it on a memory stick and save it to a cloud that you use. This was the best advise that anyone has given me. I also made copies of my passport, driving licence, birth cert and E111 card as well as a letter from UL saying that I was in fact still a student there. In Germany especially, I needed these things to register, get a train ticket and for my job.In April while on Coop I lost my purse with most of these things inside, luckily, I had copies, so I still had proof of identity while I waited for my new things to arrive. I would recommend doing this, it only takes a few minutes of your time before you leave and saves so much time over there.
Skin Care and Medicines
If you have super sensitive skin and have your skin care routine nailed down, I would advise bringing at least two month’s worth of supplies so that you have time to find the stuff you use in your new country or at worst have it sent over to you!Similarly, with prescription medicine or stuff that you need every day, bring enough with you to last until you will next get to see a doctor at home again, even with the pill. It can be really complicated going to doctors in other countries and this is a stress saving method of staying healthy!
These are just some random things that I think are so important to bring with you.
- Obviously, an adapter for the plugs, what I usually do, is bring one or two adaptors and then an extension cord so that I can use everything I want to when I want and if there isn’t a plug close to your bed you don’t have to rearrange your whole room (your welcome).
- A swimming costume, even if you’re not going to somewhere near a beach you never know when you will want to get away for the weekend.
- Plasters, paracetamol, cold and flu tablets etc. It’s something I always forget to buy until I need them by bringing them with you, you can avoid having to go to the shops when you are at your worst.
- Something from home, it’s so important to bring something that brings you comfort when your upset. For me it’s my dressing gown and my favourite slippers, I have them with me whenever I move away and it’s nice to have something that reminds you of home when you get a bit lonely or stressed out with assignments.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten somethings, but I hope this was helpful for you while you are packing to leave on your adventure. I’m so jealous, I wish I could be back starting mine all over again, best of luck!
Elle Walsh is a 3rd year Applied Languages student studying French, German and Politics at the University of Limerick. In 2016, Elle took a gap year to improve her language skills and travel around Europe.