5 Things to Bring From Home When You Study Abroad

May 11, 2016

ISEP student Emily S. is a part of ISEP Voices Spring 2016. She is an international studies and French major from the University of Southern Indiana, and is studying French while abroad at Université de Caen in France.

When I go back to Indiana, I will be a study abroad ambassador for my home university. I already know that many prospective study abroad students will be asking me, “What are some things I should definitely buy while I’m still at home?” I know this question will be asked because I asked about 500 people this same question before I left the U.S. I was never really given direct answers, and most of the time I was told I could buy anything I needed in my host country and to just pack as light as possible. This answer was not good enough for me, so I have been racking my brain for months to compile a perfect list for all of you.

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Photo by ISEP student Sara B., who studied abroad in France


This may seem like a ‘duh’ type of thing, but when I say backpack, I mean the type of backpack you can easily fit your whole life in if you need to. I’ve been using my Adidas soccer bag from high school as my travel bag for week-long vacations and also as a laundry basket. Invest in a nicely sized backpack so you don’t find yourself struggling when it’s time for breaks. My large backpack was also great for the flight over here because I used it as my carry on and could travel with way more belongings than most people could travel with.


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Photo by ISEP student Madison E., who studied abroad in France

Walking Shoes

Another 'duh’ thing to some, but I advise investing in very nice walking shoes before coming abroad. In Europe, if people aren’t wearing boots, they’re wearing tennis shoes. So if you’re torn between an extra pair of Vans or Nikes, go with the Nikes.

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Photo by ISEP student Thomas M., who studied abroad in France

Travel Size Toiletries

Bring refillable travel size toiletries. By having these, you won’t have to keep searching for travel size toiletries each time you take a plane somewhere. You’ll be able to easily refill them with whatever soaps you already have on hand. I also brought a travel size toothbrush, and that has come in handy as well.

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Photo by ISEP student Andrey K., who studied abroad in France

Travel Journal

Quite a few students here with me in Caen did purchase a journal before coming abroad. I almost did as well, but thought, “No, I’ll be blogging and that should be good enough.” However, there are certain things you experience that you simply don’t want the world to read about. There’s also just something so relaxing about putting pen to paper and letting the words flow. Little notebooks are also way cheaper in the U.S. than they are in France, so I would recommend purchasing your journal before you leave to study abroad.

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Photo by ISEP student Madison E., who studied abroad in France


Most students brought their own medicine from home. I was advised to do so as well, but I thought that I would be able to find whatever medicine I needed in France. What I didn’t think about is when you aren’t feeling well, all you really want is medicine immediately, without having to run out to the store. Because of that, I would advise that you bring any medicine you use, even if you don’t use it frequently.

Are you ready for your own adventure? See all of your study abroad options on the ISEP website.

Want to see more from our ISEP bloggers? Learn more about our ISEP Voices Spring 2016 group.

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