Seven Study Abroad Essentials for Every Student


Whether you’re getting ready for a summer or semester abroad, there is so much to look forward to! Packing and planning can be overwhelming, but the more time spent preparing for your adventures, the less you’ll have to worry about once your journey begins.

I am currently a junior marketing major studying in Lugano, Switzerland this semester. So far, I have learned so much alongside other Pamplin College of Business students. We take classes during the week and each weekend we get to travel somewhere new.

Time is flying by and I have taken time to reflect on my experiences so far to share seven study abroad essentials for every student!

7. Pen

If you pay with a card for transactions, you will likely have to sign the receipts at many places. Having a pen is extremely useful on trains when filling out the Eurail pass for travels, documenting where we are coming from and where you are going.

6. Coin Purse

It seems that back home we find loose change with little to no value laying around in bags and our pockets. In Europe, coins have value! While many of us use our credit cards, there are some spots that will only take cash. So be sure to hold onto your coins since they could be worth a scoop of gelato (or two)!

5. Headphones

You’ll be traveling in planes, trains and automobiles so be sure to have headphones with you. A lot of us catch up on sleep while on public transportation. If you are a light sleeper, this is especially important so you can block out any noise around you in order to get some rest. Be sure to have songs downloaded on your phone since there may not always be service.

4. Journal

Time will fly by and while I’m sure your memory is great, it is probably not as amazing as you may think. After a while, the trips seem to blur together, and writing memories and experiences down is a simple way to help yourself better recall past adventures.

3. Portable Charger

Between taking pictures, listening to music, calling Ubers, navigating new areas and showing mobile boarding passes, a portable charger is a must have. I got a Mophie charger from the Apple store before my trip that has been put to very good use.

2. Data Plan

It is nice to stay connected during your travels. A lot of restaurants will advertise that they have wifi, which is great, but sometimes you’ll need access to a map or some sort of signal in order to contact other people you are traveling with. Be sure to call and discuss the data plan options with your cellular provider before your trip in order to make sure they are aware of your travels.

1. Patience

This may sound silly, but being patient will literally and figuratively get you far during your study abroad. Not everyone will be best friends right away and not every trip will go exactly as planned, but with the right mindset and attitude you’ll be able to make the most of each moment.

This semester has been everything I had hoped for and more, and I highly encourage students to study abroad during college. No matter where you go, be sure to make the most of each adventure. You’ll learn to go with the flow, laugh a lot, and learn along the way.