I’m a pretty meticulous person when it comes to packing. I started a list well over a month before I was due to leave, and every couple of days I would add to it when I thought of something I wanted to remember to take with me. I had three lists. Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s a bit over the top isn’t it? Maybe, but it worked for me. Things to pack, things to buy, and things I’d already put in the suitcase. I’m sure there was a way to make it easier on myself but hey I made it here in one piece so who’s complaining.
In all of that there’s really only one thing that comes to mind that I didn’t bring with me and wish I had. My camera. Before you go thinking who doesn’t bring a camera to another country where they’ll most definitely want to take pictures, calm down. I figured my iPhone would be able to take pictures just fine. And it does. Sometimes I just wish I had a camera instead. Slightly better quality to the picture and to be honest sometimes I hate having to whip my phone out for photos. Who knows, maybe the camera would give me the same feeling.
Aside from the minor longing for my camera I have to admit, anything I didn’t bring with me I was able to buy here, or at least a proxy of it. I can still buy my beloved Vegemite so what else could an Aussie want?
So besides telling you what I miss I’ll give you some tips I’ve gathered from my extensive packing.
I don’t know what your grandparents are like but my Nan has a thing for crocheting. Every Christmas, without fail, all the women in my family over the age of 18 get a tea towel and face washer that she has crocheted around the edges. For those not in the know, crocheting is kind of like knitting but done with one needle. Anyway back to my point. I brought one of these tea towels with me. Best decision I made. I bought one of the kitchen packs to be in my flat before I arrived. When I opened it and saw the pitiful pieces of fabric they deemed a tea towel I was over the moon that I had my own. Not only is it functional but it also keeps me connected to my family back home.
Ladies, this one’s for you! All those beauty and women’s products you favour at home, those brands you took multiple purchases to find the right one that you absolutely love and can’t live without, pack extra. I for one am picky when it comes to certain products. I like a particular brand and nothing else will compare. Some might think that’s fussy but to be honest I know what products work best for me and I like to stick to them. Some brands aren’t available in the U.K. I know for a fact once I run out I will have to spend extra time standing in the aisle of the grocery store staring at the labels of the products trying to decide which one to try. And no one has time or can be bothered with that when you have the excitement of another country at your fingertips.
Finally, power adapters. The one thing you never want to forget when you travel to a different country. I decided before I left to pack two. The first has the connections for two Australian cords to one U.K. socket. The second had one to one capabilities. Did you notice that? Had. That’s right, the first time I plugged my hairdryer into the wall socket the power adapter blew up. I’m serious, it started to smoke. No one told me before I left that things like hairdryers and straighteners are best to purchase in the country you’ll be using it since the power conversion for them is so different and often the power adapters can’t handle it. The power the dryer required was different to that the socket was providing, hence my fried power adapter. My solution you ask? I bought an international power adapter from Wilko. Now my hairdryer dries without the worry of smoking electronics. Pro tip, you can get international power adapters that also have multiple wall connections for different countries. They just pop out at the flick of a switch. Now my U.K. power adapter can also be used in Europe. Watch out Europe here I come!
These are my tips to you. Sure, there are things I wish I’d brought with me and I definitely miss some Australian brand foods but I can find everything I need here. There is nothing you can forget that will take away from the experience of your exchange, aside from your passport. Do not forget your passport!
by Katie Foster – University of Newcastle – Australia