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What to Pack for Uni!! (Objectively)
Watch my video above to get the full story of packing for uni.
With that said, I know I speak very fast when listing things, so I thought it would be helpful for prospective students to have a written list and tips as well.
First things first, I want to highlight the differences in packing and what to bring for home vs. International students. Obviously, international students won’t be able to just pack all of their stuff into the boot of a car, (yes, I said boot, I really am becoming English) and drive it up – or down – to the university. Taking that into account, there are a number of things that international students are going to have to be prepared to buy.
Here’s a a few examples:
- Kitchen Appliances and Utensils – you are not packing pots and pans into your suitcase, it just isn’t practical
- e.g. Pots and Pans, Cups and Mugs (although if you have one special mug at home, that’s okay to bring) etc.
- Electronics – The UK has different wall sockets, and these things are big and clumsy to pack.
- e.g. bedside lamp, hairdryer, kettle (if you want your own), etc.
- Pillows – that would literally fill your suitcase (But again, only if you want new/specific ones not provided by the uni)
- Close drying rack (horse?) – If you’re looking to save some money, you’re going to want to airdry clothes in your room.
- Plants for your room
- Big wall posters
Of course, home students may want to buy these items too, if they aren’t things you have ready for the taking at home, or you’re ready for new stuff. Most home students I knew, however, brought a lot of it from home.
Another big difference is going to be how you pack, and therefore, what you decide to bring. International students are going to have a limited amount of space. This could be a couple of big suitcases, maybe an additional small one, but practically, you’re not going to have room for everything. Learning to pack as much as possible into a small space is a skill that you will learn to acquire when you have to pack enough clothes to last six months into two suitcases.
My tips for the best packing are as follows:
- If you are bringing hollow things, like mugs, thermoses, or any type of box, make sure you stuff them to the brim!
- Don’t fold up to the maximum, laying thinly, to build up a base, then fill the middle and fold the loose ends over. You’ll find that a lot more clothes and things fit. Then go in and stuff those awkward corners with things like socks, small skirts, dresses, shorts, and other small easily folded items.
- If you’re like me, you like to keep quality shoe boxes as storage units. – if this is the case, here’s an easy way to bring them with you:
- Layer the bottom of the suitcase with something like t-shirts to even it out
- Place the boxes in to maximise the space around them. Fill the boxes with things you are going to bring – square items, vitamins, jewellery, moisturiser, soaps, perfume/cologne etc
- Make sure to maximise the amount of stuff in the boxes as well.
- Then place the lids on, and start stuffing the areas around them with more clothes! – Make sure to surround the corners with stuff too, to prevent them from being beaten in.
- Layer more thinly folded clothes on top (Folded twice, into small rectangle/square shapes is ideal)
- Make sure everything is really compact in there! And bam, packed and ready!
- For large, but light things, such as big sweaters, jackets, etc, I highly recommend investing in a travel vacuum bag. It compresses big bulky clothes and helps make a log more space. If you can’t buy one, try and DIY vacuum suction bags. (Here’s a link)
- Be selective! – Do you really need 7 pairs of beach shorts in the UK during autumn and winter? (If you said yes… well, you are a brave soul)
Okay, top tips for international students aside, it’s time to make this post home student friendly too! Here’s my list of absolute essentials to bring or buy, simply to HAVE at UNI!
- As far as tops and bottoms, pick a variety of what you wear most, t-shirts, button-downs, trousers, jeans, tights and skirts, etc, keeping the weather in mind.
- Winter coat – it does get very very cold
- Light Jacket
- Jumpers! – for when it’s chilly, but a coat is too much
- Obviously Underwear (That includes socks and bras too) – I’m saying this because you can forget them (I may or may not have…) SO DON’T.
- A couple of going out things
- English Club culture is not like European club culture. Showing up in a suit will just get it ruined, and wearing heels will leave you with no feet at the end of the night. But again, you do you!
- Ball attire – gowns and tuxedos! (You may want to wait until Christmas and bring this back if you have one at home since balls are usually held in second term anyways)
- Shoes – think about the rain, and how much you’ll be walking/biking around campus!
- Bedding – including sheets, pillowcases, and maybe a duvet cover. (Uni provides you with a duvet, pillows and even a set of sheets, but I prefer to have my own, plus a spare set)
- Hangers!! – Some rooms get lucky and find loads, others get the two to four university-provided ones.
- Drying Horse – air drying does save money
- Pictures/Wall decor – bring a few to spice up your room, and make it feel homely!
- Plant? – are you a green thumb, or looking for a bit of life in your room?
- Large Pot – for meal prep, and larger meals to share (Flat meals are a thing, and they are super fun!)
- Small Pot – you’re going to be cooking for one too
- Pan/Skillet – average size will do
- Average to a large-sized cutting board – small ones are just uncomfortable to use
- I recommend having at least 2 of each (Fork, knife spoon) in case you have a friend over
- Plates and Bowls – Same idea ^
- Cups/Mugs – Same goes with having many, and mugs are more useful than cups, I found, for both hot and cold drinks
- Storage containers – if you meal prep this is crucial!
- Kitchen Knives – usually come in sets with super big ones, and a small one – for all your shopping and dicing needs! Some even have scissors!
- Can Opener – yes, people still use these. Not all cans have convenient tabs on them
- Strainer – pasta is your friend and newfound lifeline
- Cooking spoons, spatula, ladle etc.
- Unless you have very specific dietary needs, e.g. gluten intolerance, you DON’T need your own toaster, kettle, or microwave. (The uni provides all)
LIFE HACK: before you buy wooden cooking spoons, toothpaste, pens, condoms, etc, make sure you go to the big fair in the SU on move-in day! There will be tons of stands giving things out (You may have to fill in a form with your email, but it’s so worth it!) I got 3 full tubes of toothpaste, 4 wooden spoons, 2 boxes of condoms, 3 amazing gel pens, some Starbucks coffee, and much more!
I think I’ve covered it all (Hopefully). Hope this helps give you all an idea of how to prepare for moving into uni!
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