Studying abroad is a great way for Canadian students to learn from a different culture, and a journey to the UK is no exception. And though it may sound like a visit next door due to common language and history, the trip should still be planned for accordingly.
The following is a list of twelve things every Canadian student studying in the UK should pack, at the minimum, for a comfortable and safe voyage across the pond to the land of Doctor Who and Sherlock.
1 – Passport
It may sound obvious, but too many students neglect their passport while abroad and lose it to theft or simple misplacement. Bring a dedicated wallet or sleeve to keep it safe, and make it large enough so it won’t easily be left behind by accident. It is a student’s lifeblood while travelling.
For extra back-up, scan and save your passport at home.
2 – Other identification
Bring along any driving or non-driving licenses you may have, school identification, and other official government issues ID to assist in proving who you are when asked for such things.
3 – Credit card
This isn’t for clothing or jewelry shopping on a whim or for that last minute pizza party. This is a source of emergency funds, preferably linked to a parent’s account for close monitoring. A credit card can solve a great many problems for a student abroad if only they have access to it.
Remember to let your bank know you’re travelling abroad so you don’t encounter an anti-fraudulent freeze on your card.
4 – Cell phone
Your own cell phone can be used in the UK, providing it is unlocked before or whilst you come into the country. Once unlocked, you will be able to get a new SIM and use a much cheaper international plan.
5 – Mobile music
Another great reason to bring along your smart phone is for your music library, but you can also grab your iPod for long trips on trains and the bus. Having your music can calm your nerves and make things a little less foreign. Spotify listener? Invest in the premium account to listen to your playlists offline.
6 – Reading material
Preferably, your reading material should be tied in with your trip. For those of a classical bent, try Shakespeare. For a modernist twist, go with Orwell, J.K Rowling or Tolkien. A good book does wonders for a homesick heart, and there are enough choices to please anybody in the UK.
7 – Clothing
Simple, yes – but pack for the long run. Laundry facilities might not always be available, so bring at least enough to cover a week or two, depending on how long you will be staying. Underwear, t-shirts, shoes… bring it instead of planning to buy it overseas. It can get expensive.
Think of the weather too. Although it doesn’t rain as much as you think it would in the UK, it’s always worth bringing a waterproof coat, umbrella and plenty of layers for the cold evenings.
8 – Laptop
Worth the weight if you keep it nearby and safe without misplacing it. You can complete school work, communicate through social media to home, or any of a multitude of possibilities. Just be sure not to lose it – it contains your life, after all. Also – don’t forget your charger!
9 – Jump drives
Just as with academic work at home, back up your files while travelling. A couple of small jump drives to save important information and files from your laptop will make its loss, if it happens, that less of a big deal. Back up your information at all times.
10 – Messaging app
Downloading a messaging app gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with family at home and friends at your new university. Whatsapp is a great app to download – just make sure everyone at home downloads it too!
11 – Academic stuff (digital versions)
Whether its on your laptop or your iPad, taking your previous academic research and links could be really valuable. Books are heavy and take up a lot of your baggage allowance so don’t bother bringing them with you.
12 – Medicines
Lastly, bring not only your prescriptions, but also the documentation that shows they belong to you. This could include the bottles, the boxes, or even the scripts themselves. Don’t be caught unawares.
For more tips on studying in the UK, download our free Canadian student’s checklist here.