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Packing Your Suitcase For Your Exchange Program Pt 2

Updated on July 4, 2011

This hubs is Part 2 of Packing Your Suitcase For Your Exchange Program Pt 1.

You might be laughing at this list, but I have seen this happen so many times each time I have gone on a trip with my friends overseas for a competition or exchange. One friend even brought an entire suitcase of food from home - just in case she needed a midnight snack!


Perhaps you might be so used to eating rice as your staple food, but now all you can find is bread and pasta - fret not. In no time you will get used to it, and probably will find a way to incorporate the new bread and pasta diet into what you grew up with. Also, many universities have help for foreign students and once you make friends you’ll learn where to find your Asian delights and ingredients. If all else fails, look at your exchange as a time to try new food for a short period of time.

Bringing bottles of toiletries is not necessary, at they add unnecessary weight to your luggage. Besides, you can easily get them over there when you are on exchange. Most exchange durations are around 3 to 6 months, and this is a substantial amount of time - enough for you to purchase a medium sized bottle of shampoo. If you are in the states, you can go with other students to places like Costco where you can share the cost of buying toiletries and other foods and even toilet paper.

Also, though you might have your favorite towel, towels take up much space in your bag, and can be easily bought overseas. Buy them together with bedsheets, and pillows and blankets. If you are good at planning your laundry, all you will need is 2 towels, and 1 set of bedsheets - but you should do your math based on the availability of laundry services.

One of the things that I discovered on my trip to the US was that the cost of clothes over there was much less than where I came from. There were thrift shops which sold really good quality clothes and other goods, and when there were clearance and normal sales, the prices of things really plunged all the way down - this applies to stores all the way from Old Navy to Banana Republic.

One of the strategies that I really pride myself for adopting was to bring the bare minimum amount of clothes that I needed - wearing them out overseas and coming home with a set that was brand new. It’s quite amazing. When clothes wear out and become unwearable with too many holes, you can use them as rags and floor clothes (yes you should have a cloth in your bathroom to step on!) that you can use and throw away easily - especially if you are on a shoestring budget wanting to save money to travel or do something else.

I encourage you to check out the racks of the clearance sections, and buy stuff online where you can return merchandise (with money back) or enjoy free shipping. My friends and I were really impressed by the quality and prices - my only regret was that I was too stingy, and did not buy that many things compared to my friends. In fact, when I came home, there was actually space in my bag!

So if you are about to explore the world and embark on an exchange program, my last advice is to buy a luggage lock that is approved to keep your luggage safe. I hope you will find these stories useful in helping you to pack wisely. Please leave your comments! If you have some more advice, please leave them in the comments too!

Leaving On a Jetplane - John Denver


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