In most European universities the winter semester begins between September and October, so millions of students from all over Europe are now ready to start a new academic year. But September is also the month in which many of these students are preparing to embark on one of the most beautiful adventures of their lives: an Erasmus abroad.
If you have lived this experience personally you know very well how exciting it is to imagine what the months to come will be like, how many people you will meet, how many places you will visit and how unforgettable the experience will be. But are the practical departure preparations just as exciting or are they more stressful than exciting?
We would say they are both. Packing 6 or 12 months in a suitcase is no easy feat, nor it is being prepared for the life in a new city, apartment and university. This is why we want to give you some practical advice on how to best prepare your departure for Erasmus without going crazy in the attempt!
What to pack? Choose the essential for each season.
First of all, collect information on the weather conditions of your destination: how many and which seasons will you go through? What are the average temperatures there? Knowing this in advance will be of great help. Our advice is to bring with you some essential outfits for each season (clothes + shoes combination) including days at university, sports, night outings and excursions (don’t forget a swimsuit if you’re staying until the summer semester!) .
What do you need in the apartment? Ask the owner.
Sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, hair dryers, dishes and kitchen accessories: when you are about to leave you realize how many things you need in everyday life. An effective way to avoid carrying unnecessary weight and volume with you is to ask the homeowner in advance what he makes available in the apartment. If the answer is “nothing”, consider if it is cheaper (and more comfortable) to buy what you need locally – even second hand – or contact some student who is about to leave and has stuff to leave you.
The essentials for the university? Laptop, backpack, pens and notepads.
We know that you are starting with the idea of unbridled fun, but we have to disappoint you: Erasmus also means study and commitment. You will spend many hours among lectures, library and exams so you need to arrive prepared. Bring a backpack with you to carry your PC and the books that will be provided to you and, of course, don’t forget pens and notepads to take notes!
Still having space problems? Sending packages can be a solution.
If despite the careful selection of clothing and necessary for the home you still have space problems, you can consider sending packages by post or private couriers. This solution can be cheaper and more convenient than loading an additional suitcase: for a similar amount (or a little higher) you can ship many more kilos that will arrive directly at your door! Furthermore, there are shipping companies such as Eurosender which offer attractive rates for students.
Always remember: leave some empty space for shopping.
Let’s face it, many Erasmus students carry large suitcases full of shoes, clothes and accessories and then they inevitably end up shopping in the destination country. This is because the countries they go to often have lower prices or really attractive student discounts. So we recommend that you leave an empty corner in your suitcase for new purchases or bring an extra empty bag to refill on return 😉.