How much should you pack?

In most cases, one big suitcase or two medium ones and a backpack will do. The number of clothes you should take with you will greatly depend on the climate of your destination. Make sure you meet the requirements of your airline company.

Important things to keep in mind

Try to learn in advance what kind of clothing is acceptable in the country you’re going to. For example, in Southern Italy, people don’t wear shorts unless they’re heading to the beach.

Think about the products that you’ll be using on a regular basis, such as cosmetics and contact lenses and stock up on them before your trip as they might cost a pretty penny abroad.

Souvenirs: the people you’ll be living and studying with will be excited to get something from Russia. Among the most popular gifts from our country is honey, condensed milk, Russian chocolate, and Tula pryaniki.


Don’t forget

Download an offline dictionary and backup all your documents in the cloud and on your smartphone.

Note that most medications in Europe and the US require a prescription, so you’d better take a small medicine box with everything you might need.

What you can buy

Don’t fill your bag with pens, copy-books, personal hygiene and cleaning items – you can always buy them on site.

What you can’t buy

It might be hard to find literature in your native language abroad, so take a book or an e-reader with you. When far away from home, even a small familiar thing like your favorite mug or a book can help you adjust to a new culture and cope with homesickness.

Daria Korotaeva, spent a term studying in Darmstadt, Germany

Before going to Germany, I asked the International Educational Programs Office to put me in touch with some of the students from the university I was heading to. They eagerly answered all my questions and one girl even offered me to buy some of her things. There is a VK group run by ITMO’s International Office where you can talk to students who have already taken part in your exchange program.

Natalia Gribanova, spent a year studying in Beijing, China

I had already been to China before, so I knew what I needed to take with me. I brought lots of chocolate, buckwheat, oats, and coffee because this is not something you can easily find in a shop in China. I also took a fork to use instead of chopsticks, a kitchen knife, and some sunscreen.

Daria Kelina, spent a year studying in Beijing, China

Some common products might be very hard to find in Asian countries or can be very expensive. For instance, deodorant, disposable razors, breakfast cereals, sugar, and chocolate cost quite a lot in China. But what is completely impossible to find is foil. They looked at me as if I’d lost my mind when I tried to explain that what I needed was in fact “thin aluminum”.

Veronika Mazulina, is in her second year at a university in Eindhoven, the Netherlands

I did quite a lot of planning when packing for my exchange; I took different clothes for different weather conditions, but it’s impossible to foresee everything: will it be snowy in winter? How often does it rain? So I had to buy some things on site.

This article by Ivan Zhuravlev was first published in Russian by ITMO University’s student news portal Megabyte.