Tag Archives: What to bring

Before You Study Abroad in the UK: A To-Do and Don’t-Do List

10 Feb

“Before You Study Abroad in the UK: A To-Do and Don’t-Do List”

by Roslyn Kent via “Huffington Post

Failing to prepare is like preparing to fail; get organized, check off that list and do your research before you go overseas to the United Kingdom–you won’t regret be over prepared.

It’s normal to be overwhelmed by all the check lists, packing lists and shopping lists that you’ll undoubtedly be inundated with prior to leaving for your exchange in the UK. Emotions aside, the last thing you’ll want to deal with before you leave is the logistics of your exchange; unfortunately, your mom can’t do it all for you. Not sure what you’ll need while overseas? Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do prior to leaving for your whirlwind study abroad experience:

Don’t:

1. Overpack: You won’t be wanting to bring all your unnecessary bulky toiletries. You will be able to buy almost all of them there (unless you need to use specific brands) and chances are, they’ll be even cheaper overseas (hello Poundland!).

2. Buy a roaming package for your phone: Phone plans are dirt cheap in the UK (the cheapest you’ll pay is £5/month or at the most, £15/month, which will probably included unlimited data and lots of texting and calling). If you extend your phone plan from home it will still cost you more, especially for data–you’ll want data in case you get lost. Try to get a month by month plan so you’re not tied down to anything. If you can, sign up with Three Mobile, that way you can use your phone for free in 10 other countries in Europe!

3. Pay for unnecessary visas: Make sure you’re aware of exactly which visa you’ll need while in the UK. It’s likely your home university’s study abroad office will assist you in this, but avoid seeking advice elsewhere (i.e. from friends who’ve never studied abroad). If you’re a citizen of a commonwealth country then you won’t have to pay for a visa at all if you only plan to stay in the UK for six months. Research the different options and be wary of paying for a visa you won’t need.

4. Bring your hair dryer and straightener: If you want to avoid bringing home a broken hair dryer/straightener, it’s highly advisable that you buy a cheap one over there and share with your roommates. Oftentimes, North American hair dryers and straighteners aren’t equipped to handle the voltage of a UK outlet. If you’re certain yours can handle it then go ahead and bring it with you, if not, it’s better to be safe than sorry! . . .

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Life in China: Bring Your Towels

2 Nov

On the random list of things to bring when you move to China, I’d probably put towels pretty high on that list.  A lot of schools or housing places will provide you with one big towel, a hand towel, and a washcloth.  And you can always find those at the local Waka (said Wanja – I know, I don’t get it either).

But it you are the standard American, addicted to the soft fluffiness of your large snuggly king-size towels, you need to bring your own.   All of the Chinese towels are the thin, cheap version you would expect at a 3-Star hotel.  Just generally un-productive. I’d leave the hand towels and wash cloths behind; just bring a generic white fluffy towel.

Moving Abroad Questions: What’s For Sale?

24 Jun

In August, I will be officially changing my residence address to one in Xinzheng, China, selling my possessions here in the States and starting a new life over there.  I have been really blessed in that my University has established a Facebook Group for all the foreign teachers there.  All of us newbies are asking tons of questions of those who went before, and I thought I’d share some of the important ones as they come up.  If you are moving to teach or changing jobs for one overseas, you might want to ask your organization or contacts the same questions!

1. What’s for Sale?

I never really thought about, but sometimes the people leaving have things for sale.  Leaving teachers at my school are offering things like medicine, water purifiers, American towels, potted plants, shelving, curtains, etc.  The kind of things I don’t want to take, they don’t want to bring back, and no one wants to buy.  See what your place has to offer! 

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