4 things to remember while packing for uni — an international student’s POV30 August 2022
Having recently graduated, I have been nostalgic not only about my adventures at Cardiff University but also about the time I spent preparing for the past three years. Being an international student, I think it is safe to say that I was nervous and constantly overthinking about the things I needed to bring from home and like many offer holders around me I was stuffing packets of spices and desi snacks, big puffer jackets and authentic Indian utensils that I worried I wouldn’t find here.
Amidst this chaos I totally filled up the space in my suitcase with non-essential items and things that are easily available internationally. This made my 9 hours+ journey very very inconvenient. It would’ve been great if I had a more thought-out packing list based on the advice for international students — oh the time, money, and effort I could have saved! But hey! we all learn some way or another and so, I thought why not share a quick listicle to make packing for university easier for you. These are my top tips from personal experience but feel free to alter them to your needs:
1—Read the ‘New Students’ page on the University website: So, something I discovered quite late was Cardiff University’s amazing resources to prepare for your arrival in Cardiff. Honestly, the new students’ checklist would have been a lifesaver! It is a comprehensive checklist of all the things you could possibly need to through your first year, or during the first few weeks at least. I think, most of the items in the list can be carried on even after you move out of university halls.
So, before you start on your personalised list, check this one out. It will be of great help, believe me. Maybe once you have an idea of things you’ll need, you could add or omit things based on your needs. There are lots of other resources available online, you could check those out too.
2—You don’t need more that 2 bags, trust me!: I recently heard an advisor say that 2 bags are more than enough to bring essentials (and some extras) without having to worry about baggage-weights and lugging your stuff around the city. And that would’ve been so helpful because over the past three years I have started travelling light in my trips after learning the hard way that you can find most things everywhere (thanks to globalization!).
Carrying your luggage around the airport is okay because there are mostly courtesy strollers available. But once you’ve landed. managing heavy bags can be highly inconvenient, especially if you are taking the train or walking to your accommodation in Cardiff. So, remind yourself that you don’t need to stuff your luggage with goods you can buy here and make sure the bag is light enough for you to drag around easily. Plus, remember you will shop a bit (especially in you first few weeks) regardless of how much stuff you bring. You also don’t want to end up throwing away or taking back things you don’t use. Accept that this is inevitable if you bring more than the necessary items.
A 2-bag limit helps you pack purposefully and not get carried away. Also, even if you end up carrying 2 large suitcases, you will be able to bring more without making the ‘managing your luggage’ bit hard.
3—Divide your packing list as ‘essentials’ and ‘others’: This technique will save you so much time and money (that you would rather spend with your loved ones anyway). Once you’ve made your packing list, decide on the things that are absolutely essential for you to take from home — consider that you can easily buy cutlery, utensils, bedding at an affordable price once you’re here.
I remember packing food (spices and snacks) and utensils (tava and pressure cooker) because I thought that I wouldn’t find those here or at least not of the same quality. I was wrong — we forget that there are so many businesses that export these items to local stores in Cardiff, and you would find them easily around campus. Also, there are so many eateries that offer really yummy desi delicacies. There are also tiffin services if you ever feel like you miss home-food. So, go on and rewrite your list, and this time remember to think hard about what is essential and what is not — you will be doing yourself a favour.
For things that fall in your ‘others’ section, get to these once you have packed the essentials and see if there really is space and need for these. Remember, you don’t want to waste resources on items that you might outgrow.
4—“Will I really wear that?”: Since it’s all about downsizing the amount of stuff you bring, one of the things most of us will struggle with are clothes. You’ll think: “I don’t want to spend too much on clothes and accessories here”, “I want to cover my basis in terms of weather”, “I want to go on a shopping spree before uni (I mean it is fun!)”, or like me you could be emotionally attached to your clothes (yes, even the ones you haven’t worn in ages) and don’t want to part with them. Well, believe me you will shop when you’re here — the sales will attract you, you would want to enjoy your financial independence, and most importantly your sense of style will evolve.
So, when packing ask yourself ‘Will I really wear that?’ and answer honestly. You might have to leave some things behind, but this will only make space for more once you’re in Cardiff. Plus, we need to keep in mind the wastage and climate issues we are tackling at the minute — every little helps! Try and buy puffer jackets, umbrellas, and other such items (that are essential but not immediate) from here because A)they designed for the weather here and B)you will have a clearer understanding of what you need and want once you’re actually here.
The uni website says the same, but I learnt the hard way from personal experience. Remember, this is just an additional step towards making your move easy and convenient.
So, these are my top tips brought to you from personal experiences. I wish you have a safe journey and a smooth experience settling in. I hope these tips help you through the experience!
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