Packing Dos and Don’ts for International Students

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to a foreign university, and now you can wave goodbye to curfew and say hello to caffeine – lots of it. But before you do, there’s a lot that you need to plan, especially if you’ve never been away from home for such long period of time; we’re talking a few months if you’re moving to a neighbouring country, or potentially a few years(!) if you’re relocating to a different side of the world. Regardless, trying to fit your life into two suitcases is not an easy task for anyone, but don’t worry, that’s why you have us! At Uninest, we happen to know quite a lot about packing for international ventures, so here are five things to bear in mind when getting ready to set off into the sunset.

Step 1: Do Your Homework

Before you go ahead and break out the king-size suitcase, you need to do your research. Each country has its own customs; for example, in Dubai and other Arab nations, revealing clothes are frowned upon, so those skimpy shorts (the ones that you can see the pockets peeking out the bottom of) should be left at home. Likewise, don’t overlook prohibited or restricted items – any gambling equipment in Dubai, alcoholic beverages in Brunei, seeds in New Zealand (yes, even edible ones), and so on – because failing to obey these laws can land you in deep water. You should also pack enough clothing to prepare you for the typical weather where you’re headed. Having said that, you can always buy clothes upon arrival, but if you have a particular jacket that you simply cannot live without, bring it – which leads us to the next point...

Step 2: Don’t Forget Your Favourites!

Pack your favourite jeans, shoes, jackets, shirts, and anything else you like as long as they are practical. It’s nice to be able to wear things you like, because it’ll make you feel more ‘at home’ even when you’re not. On that note, you should also bring mementos and items of personal significance such as photos, posters, and other things that remind you of home. They will help you feel a lot better when homesickness creeps up on you (and it probably will at some point). Just don’t get too carried-away! Irreplaceable family heirlooms or any other valuables should probably stay home where they belong.

Step 3: Do Have Your Documents Handy

Clearly you’re not going to forget your passport and your boarding pass, but studying abroad is different from going on a summer holiday. For starters, there’s a lot more paperwork involved! So do not, under any circumstances, pack important documents – including visa, confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS), local currency, or even travel insurance and Tuberculosis (TB) certificate in some cases – in the checked baggage, because you might need them during transfer or for customs clearance.

Step 4: Don’t Bring Books

University textbooks are heavy in transport, which means extra weight, which in turn means extra baggage costs. So don’t be that person who gets overly excited, plans way too far ahead, and brings all the textbooks from home – they’re fairly easy to source in school or community bookstores, or through the internet. Plus, you may not know what textbooks are on your reading lists until you start your course or shortly before that, so there’s no rush.

Step 5: Do Downsize Your Toiletries

Wherever you’re going, we’re sure that you can buy these basics, so learn to downsize your toiletries – you absolutely do not need to bring a lifetime supply of shampoo and leave-in conditioner, no matter how voluminous your hair is. In terms of electronic devices like hairdryers and straighteners, there may be a difference in voltage, so to avoid dragging them halfway across the world only to realise that you can’t use them at your destination; you’re best off buying them abroad. Bonus tip: Don’t pack toiletries without sealing them in a secure bag, because cabin air-pressure happens. If your tube of sunscreen bursts inside the luggage without any protection against your clean clothes, prepare to have nothing to change into when you arrive.

Coming to Study in Dubai?

If you’ve chosen to study in Dubai, you’re lucky, because this city offers an excellent quality of higher education and exciting student life. If you’re still looking for your home away from home in Dubai, make sure you check out Dubailand – our all-inclusive student residence, which puts you right on the doorstep of Dubai International Academic City. If you’ve already booked your accommodation with us but you’re not sure what to pack, just give us a shout!