Study Abroad Essentials

This is a park I walk through on the way back from class

When I was preparing to study abroad, I did a lot of research regarding what I should bring with me. I watched YouTube videos, read articles and blog posts, anything that would make me feel more confident and prepared. I know that everyone can do the same research I did so I wanted to make a list of what I consider to be 5 study abroad essentials that I haven’t seen listed anywhere else.

1. A large, durable backpack

A large, durable backpack can have many uses while studying abroad. Firstly, you can use it as your personal item on the plane. I stuffed my backpack so much on the way here. I had my camera, my toiletries, an entire packing cube full of clothes, multiple journals, my laptop, snacks, every cord I could possibly need over 4 months, and more. You can also use it when you are taking trips on the weekend when you don’t need to bring that much with you. And lastly, you can use it as a bag to carry your groceries. Without a car, you need to carry your groceries back to your apartment. If you have to travel a long distance, a backpack is more helpful than tote bags or regular plastic bags.

2. Sneakers that match (nearly) everything

You will be doing A LOT of walking during your semester abroad so it is crucial that you have shoes that are comfortable to walk in. Additionally, make sure that they match with most if not all of the clothes you plan to bring. You have limited packing space so you won’t be able to bring all of the sneakers you own so make sure to bring a versatile 1-2 pairs.

3. A phone with a good camera

I brought a fantastic DSLR Canon camera with me for my semester abroad. While it takes great pictures, it is big and heavy so I don’t want to bring it with me any time I go somewhere. I can take pictures on my phone but the quality of my phone camera isn’t great so I would recommend getting a new or newer phone before going abroad and not have to worry about whether or not your phone’s pictures will turn out well.

4. Citymapper

I’ve mentioned Citymapper in a previous blog post. It is like Google Maps but is more accurate and will give you several options for how to get somewhere. I recommend downloading this app before leaving and maybe even trying it out in your area!

A screenshot from the Citymapper app

5. Comfort items from home

This can be anything from a favorite t-shirt or pillowcase to food that you enjoy from home. While a large part of the study abroad experience is trying new things, food especially, sometimes you just need a little piece of home. My roommate brought, among other foods, a box of Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms are one of my favorite cereals and they don’t really have anything similar here in Rome. She was kind enough to let me have some! Also, the more food that you pack on the way there, the more room you will have for souvenirs on the way back! I had no extra space or weight so unfortunately I wasn’t able to bring much but you should learn from my mistakes.

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.