Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What to pack when moving overseas

I've never been an over-packer. Practicality has always been my motto. What I've learnt in the time I've been here is that packing for travel and packing for living overseas are two completely different things. If I could give you one piece of advice it's bring a few home comforts because these things make you feel right at home in a place that isn't yet. And don't pack too many "just in case" things. If you really do need it you can get it here.. and 99% of the time you realise you never would've needed/used it.

Here are some items I think are worth bringing and other essentials you shouldn't leave home without:
  1. Favourite bed sheets/pillow case/bedding: Because your bed is were you want to feel the most comfortable. And there's nothing better than feeling like you're in your bed at home, when you've just arrived somewhere new.
  2. Small snacks/food you won't find abroad: To eat when you feel home sick or to share with new people you've met. I brought Vegemite and Tim Tams and it felt nice to have Australia in a small way in my kitchen. Another plus is once you eat it, it's gone. No more weight/space in your suitcase.
  3. Mementos: Whether you bring photos to stick up or a poster or whatever, bring something with you that makes your new home feel like its yours.
  4. Slippers: Nice warm fluffy shoes you can walk around in without having to worry about how dirty the floor of your new apartment is because you haven't had a chance to clean it yet. Plus, who doesn't like slipping into slippers after a long day at work?
  5. Laptop//Tablet: You'll need it. All the time. Don't leave home without it.
  6. Clothes: Based on my experience in the North, the French wear a lot of black, especially during the winter. The winter wardrobe consists of boots, dark blue/black jeans, a top and a dark jacket/coat and scarf- colours are not something you see a lot. I've gotten a few questions from people asking if wearing bright clothing will make them stand out. I say perhaps a little bit, but I always think that you should dress in what you're comfortable in. In general, I think the french dress more classically, with trendy pieces reserved for teenagers. In terms of what to wear to work, follow the lead of your colleagues. My school was neat casual so I wore what I would wear in everyday life, which was easy. Most days I wore jeans and a nice top.
  7. Souvenirs from home: Bring cheap magnets, key rings or postcards from home to give to your school, teachers, friends or as prizes to your students. Bring examples of your home currency too, the students usually find this kind of stuff pretty interesting. Also, it's cool to have a few coins on you when you meet new people, especially if you come from somewhere that they rarely come into contact with. If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked for Australian money...
What things can't you live without when you're packing your suitcase? Let me know in the comments below!

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