Along with graduating seniors across Beijing, Year 13 students at Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing) are preparing to spread their wings and fly the nest. As students excitedly look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that await at universities around the globe, the first order of business to prepare is packing.
Packing for university can be tricky for any student, but for students studying abroad figuring out what to bring presents its own unique set of challenges. With this in mind, and as part of his ongoing series of articles helping students prepare for university, YCIS Beijing University Guidance Counsellor Jonathan Mellen has prepared his own ‘Guide to Packing for University’ with special insights for international students. Jonathan is also working on a new ‘Mental Packing List’ to provide a few tips for students to pack away in their mental suitcases (visit the YCIS Beijing’s website for that article, www.ycis-bj.com). Here he shares his packing tips for a safe, happy, smooth transition to university, wherever in the world that university may be.
Pack an overnight bag as a carry-on for your flight in case your big luggage goes missing.
Bring your birth certificate. You’ll probably need it to set up a bank account and possibly for registering at a university or collecting scholarship awards.
A sim card and mobile phone that work in the country you’re going to attend university. Consider a dual sim phone to allow you to keep your old sim and phone number while easily adding a local number. This will make it easier to call home and still be easily accessible to your new contacts at university.
Pack a supply of meds, vitamins and supplements that you routinely take, but be sure to check the laws regarding drugs in the country you are headed to before travelling. Some medications and supplements that may be legal in your home country might be restricted in your destination country. Also, work with your parents and university staff to devise a plan for refilling your prescriptions while at university if possible.
What else are you going to do your work on?
Memory sticks to back up your work. You don’t want to know what it feels like to lose the work you spent so long creating.
Bring your passport. This probably goes without saying as you’ll need it to get where you’re going, but make sure to take some copies of it plus your visa in case you lose it. If you are a dual or multi-national, discuss with your parents if you should bring multiple passports.
You will need to present proof of insurance to receive medical treatment in some countries. Be sure you have a card, letter or some other document showing your policy number and providing a 24hr service number where that policy’s administrators can be reached by medical staff. Joining large institutions (like universities) puts you at higher risk of falling unexpectedly ill as you encounter new pathogens.
A list of all the passwords you use for your accounts. It’s not nice being locked out when you need to access resources online or communicate with friends and family back home!
Living in China and many Eastern countries we have become accustomed to paying for everything with our mobiles, but real cash will be needed when you are abroad. Don’t forget to bring currency for the country in which you’ll be living with you when you set off, don’t wait until you arrive in your new country to try to get money. As soon as you reach the airport, you’ll be looking for transport. Be armed with some small notes in the local currency and a city map.
Nowadays we all live and die by a plethora of electronic devices from electric toothbrushes and curling irons to digital tablets and laptops. Be sure you know the electrical current and power outlet configuration of your university so you can bring the right adapters to allow you to plug your electrical appliances into the mains and the correct converters to ensure you don’t damage or destroy them when you do so! This can prove to be a very inconvenient and expensive mistake!
Don’t forget a towel, toothbrush and your hygiene essentials. You will probably find everything you need in your new country, but don’t risk a few days of poor hygiene before you can find what you need there.
Pack the warranties for your valuable electronic devices and research places near your university where you can get your electronic devices fixed. Nothing is worse than having your laptop die before an assignment is due and having no idea of how you can at least try to recover your work.
Bring a small safe for your valuables (passport, wallet, medical records, insurance cards, etc.). This should be fire resistant, and you should keep your valuables in it whenever not using them to prevent theft or loss.
Check into the customs regulations for the country where you will be attending university. Be sure you don’t try to bring things into the country that aren’t allowed. Countries such as Australia and New Zealand have incredibly stringent customs regulations, and you can face harsh penalties and significant fines for violating their laws (even by accident). Consider researching the relevant ethnic food stores and restaurants located in your university’s city. This might provide good leads on where and how you can get your favourite foods, locally and legally.
That concludes YCIS Beijing’s university packing guide for international students. We hope you find it useful and we wish all graduates the absolute best as they prepare to tackle life’s next adventure, university!
Visit YCIS Beijing’s website to find more tips for preparing students for university success.