Shifting to a new country involves a lot of thought, planning and consideration from the packing stage. With 3 months left for the new academic year to begin, now will be a good time to start thinking about what you would like to bring from home. Here are my recommendations of essentials to carry to university for an international student.
- Essential documents: Prepare a checklist of all documents including BRP (Tier 4 visa document), passport and spare copies for backup, any documents the University has specified, passport size photos, exam results (physical copies and digital for any further checks) and your proof of vaccination. Additionally, check the UK travel advice page for specific advice related to your country.
- Home food: There's nothing more comforting than eating home food during the moving process. Bringing along snacks that you have grown up eating or traditional food of your culture will not only satisfy your cravings but will also help you overcome home-sickness. I brought along a lot of traditional Indian snacks and instant meals that my mom made to help me ease into the settling down.
- Appliances/Adapters: It is easy to order the majority of your utensils from the UK but it is a good idea to carry a few vessels and cutlery from home, especially for the first few days of moving in. Additionally, the UK has the type G plug socket (as displayed below), so make sure to bring an adapter for your appliances and gadgets if it does not comply with UK standards. You should check this list of things not to bring and read the information about getting ALL electrical appliances checked by the University or they could be confiscated!
- Clothing: Aside from everyday wear and a couple of woollen clothes, it is best to buy the majority of your winter gear from the UK as it is specifically designed for the weather. The essentials include winter jackets, thermal wear, caps and gloves, sweaters, rain boots and a sturdy umbrella (it is best to always have it in your bag as one moment it's sunny and the next it's rainy). If you are an international student, you can also bring your traditional attire as the University has multiple occasions where they celebrate international festivals. I brought my traditional Indian attire to university for Diwali, Holi and other cultural events at university.
- Bed linen: While most accommodations on campus provide duvets and pillows, you will have to order bed sheets and pillow covers. Common places to shop from are Amazon, Sainsburys Home and Ikea in Bristol etc. Make sure to bring extra bed linen when you come as you will be able to set up your bed as soon as you move in and will have spares for the rest of the year.
- Toiletries/bedroom essentials: Don't forget to pack your basic toiletries along with any prescribed products for eg. medicated skin care. Also carry flip-flops that you can wear to the shower in case of a shared bathroom and that you can use to walk around in, in your flat. Fluffy slippers were super helpful to keep me warm during the winters.
- Extra travel bag: Travelling around the UK and within Europe is one of the most exciting things about student life. It is very easy to commute via train from Bath or Bristol Airport for internal travel. Having a cabin-sized suitcase or a foldable bag is perfect for such travel. I used it quite often during travelling and would also use it to carry my groceries as it can get quite heavy at times. It can also be used for extra storage!
- Essential medicines & home remedies: If you have important medicines that have been prescribed to you at home, be sure to carry those along with you. If you need to refrigerate these medicines you can email the Student Living Team about getting help with this. Additionally, if you are coming from a place that is not as cold as the UK, be sure to get any home remedies that work well for you when you are under the weather. I brought a bunch of Ayurvedic powders and cough & cold-related home remedies (straight from mom's kitchen ) which were so helpful during the colder months.
- Academic supplies: Have a look at your modules beforehand so you get an idea of what content will be covered. Accordingly, you may want to bring some of your high-school notes as they may be similar to what will be covered at university. As an Accounting & Finance student, much of the accounting and economics modules in 1st year had similar content to what I had covered in Year 12 and so my school textbooks were a great reference. I also highly recommend bringing a planner to organise your work at university. The best way to maintain a healthy work-life balance is by planning well and prioritising your tasks. Shoutout to my dad for gifting me an academic planner in the first year that served me well throughout the year!
- Home away from home: Moving to a new country takes a great deal of confidence and strength, so you should be proud of yourself for making this decision! It is totally normal to feel homesick from time to time, especially during the first few months. But there are ways to overcome that homesickness and make you feel close to home. I printed pictures of my family and friends and made a collage wall in my room, which constantly reminded me of home. You can also bring anything you associate with home such as a stuffed toy, blanket or room decor to make your room feel more homely.
Those were my top 10 essentials to carry from home. I hope you find this useful when you start packing for university! Feel free to reach out to me in the comments below if you have any further queries.