As the days quickly approach the time when I will depart my hometown for Sevilla, I am feeling very excited for my new experience. Amidst all of this excitement, packing for an entire semester can be overwhelming. I am a girl who enjoys colors, patterns, shoes (honestly, too many), and a multitude of options in my closet. This kind of preference, however, isn’t so practical for a semester abroad. With limited space, I have had to downsize what I want to bring and what I think I need for my upcoming semester. Here I have compiled four packing tips that have been very helpful to me in my preparation.
1. Do your research.
Other students have studied abroad, and many have written about their experiences. Learn from others’ mistakes! It’s as simple as a web search. Through other blogs, I have learned about typical styles in Sevilla and what I should leave at home. In addition to blogs, I have used other readily available resources from ISA and my home university’s education abroad office.
2. Keep the weather in mind.
The spring climate in Sevilla is much different than Colorado’s spring climate (Last April and May we had several feet of snow. I am not expecting this in Sevilla!) With temperatures being much milder in Sevilla than my hometown, I keep forgetting that I need to pack for different weather conditions.
3. Plan early.
Do your research and plan what you need to pack early. Finding comfortable shorts and dresses in mid winter is much more difficult than I thought it would be. And now it is too late to order shorts and other items online. Packing takes much longer than you think, and planning ahead can ease some troubles.
4. Don’t pack what you can purchase abroad.
Packing light is essential for a semester abroad. Items like toiletries can take up a lot of space and weight in luggage and can be purchased abroad instead. And if I can’t find items like shorts here in Colorado, I know I can most likely purchase those in Spain too. In moments when I worry that I may forget something, I remember that Spain will most likely have something similar to what I need. This has already reduced much of the weight in my suitcase, and it has minimized stress too.
Of course, I have not started my semester yet, and I will continue to learn from my mistakes as I go along. All I can do while preparing is remember what I have learned thus far, and continue to be excited for an amazing semester ahead.