Taking part in summer school abroad is a thrilling experience and, each year, many students look forward to arriving in the UK to soak up the atmosphere and to experience higher education in a new culture. However, the secret of a good trip lies in the preparation beforehand, and not leaving things to the last minute!
So what kinds of things do students need to study abroad?
Here are 10 essential pointers every international student should think about, and items they should pack before arriving to study in the UK.
1. Consider the Duration of Your Stay
The duration of your stay in a different country has the biggest bearing on your packing checklist. If you are moving abroad to study for a whole year, you will need to take into consideration the seasons and pack a wardrobe accordingly. However, if you are planning to travel to the UK in the summer months, your essentials checklist is significantly shorter and more manageable. The secret is not to overpack and to leave some room in your suitcase for the return trip home!
2. Luggage Allowance
Before you travel, check your airline’s luggage allowance information including luggage size, weight, excess weight charges and any restrictions on hand luggage. Your airline’s website will outline all the facts you need about baggage restrictions, tips on avoiding excess baggage charges and checking-in online. This way you won’t face any surprises at the airport. You should also make sure that you leave enough room to pack any souvenirs you have purchased during your stay in the UK.
3. Bringing Goods into the UK
Before you start packing make sure that you check the UK government website for any goods that are restricted or banned from entering the UK. The likelihood is that you won’t have any of these items on your checklist, however, it is always worth double checking.
4. Important Documents
Put together a checklist of all the important documents you may need to travel and have access to while you are studying in the UK. Make sure that you keep these documents organised in a folder and pack them in your hand luggage when you are travelling.
It is also worth taking photocopies of all these documents and storing them in an email, or leaving a copy of them with your parents in case you misplace the originals and you need access to them quickly.
The checklist for important documents may include:
- Your passport
- Any visas you may need to enter and study in the UK
- Admissions letter from your UK summer school
- Health insurance documents
- Travel insurance documents
- Medical records
- Any prescriptions you may take
- A paper record of important contact details, in case you can’t access your phone or it gets lost.
5. The British Weather!
There is no denying the unpredictable nature of the British weather, which can change quickly but is rarely extreme. Occasionally, you may experience sunshine, rain, hail and wind on the same day but generally speaking, temperatures do stay relatively mild and constant throughout the year.
The summer (June, July and August) is the UK’s warmest season with long, warm, sunny days interspersed only with occasional thunderstorms or rain, making it the ideal time to visit.
6. Layering is Key
When it comes to selecting the clothes you pack, layering is key. If you are planning to visit the UK in the summer, it is unlikely that you will need a warm coat but make sure that you have short sleeves as well as a handful of jumpers, cardigans or hoodies to layer up and keep you warm, especially in the evenings.
It is very important to wear what you feel comfortable in so always choose practical clothes and footwear to see you through your time in the UK. You may also pack one smarter outfit for your evening social outings, but jeans paired with a smart shirt or blouse, or a dress is more than acceptable.
7. Backpack, Sunglasses & Umbrellas
Don’t wait until you get to the UK to purchase a small backpack, for it will become an essential item on your extracurricular activities and sightseeing trips. To stay on the safeside, why not use a backpack as your hand luggage on the plane, and that way you will already have it with you.
In the UK, during the summer months you will need sunscreen and sunglasses; however, due to the fickle nature of the weather, it is also advisable to have an umbrella handy!
8. Essential Electronics
Don’t bring any unnecessary electronics with you to the UK. Think carefully about what you might need during your stay. If you are only attending a short course for instance, you will want to make sure that you take in all the sights and make the most of your time with your new friends.
However, if you are bringing some essential items, such as your phone, tablet, camera or headphones, make sure that you also pack a UK specific electric adapter to charge your electronics.
9. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
If you find that you have forgotten to pack something, or you are missing an item, please don’t worry about it. You will never be too far away from a well-resourced town or city, where you will find plenty of shops to fill the gaps in your wardrobe without blowing your budget.
In addition, on our popular illuminate Cambridge summer program, our friendly hosts will always be on hand to help you with any queries, point you in the right direction, or even lend you some items for the duration of your stay.
10. Keep a Journal
Journalling is a great way to absorb and reflect on your experiences abroad. While taking photographs is a fantastic way to record your trip, writing down your experiences gives them further meaning because you also record your feelings and emotions.
Writing can also lead to critical thinking, which is a sought-after skill in many areas of life. By keeping a journal, you make time to think critically about what you are observing and experiencing, and this critical insight cultivates cultural sensitivity.
Furthermore, journaling is a healthy habit to get into. It can become an emotional checkup that helps you maintain your mental health, and keeps you grounded on the days when you might feel a little overwhelmed or homesick.
Book Your Place With Us
Our illuminate Cambridge summer study abroad program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for girls aged 13-17. St Mary’s School offers a nurturing and inclusive environment where girls can connect and form lasting friendships.
In a supportive and encouraging summer school environment, illuminate students can try out new experiences, push their limits, develop new skills and interests, and expand their academic and social potential.
During their two-week stay, students will explore a series of lively academic themes devised by our Oxbridge-educated course leaders, and beyond the classroom, exciting educational and cultural visits will bring their learning to life.
Don’t miss out on this incredible experience. Book your place today!