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The basics
STUDY ABROAD : Student Accommodation - Must read

8 accommodation essentials every international student needs

Packing for your new life studying abroad involves making lots of decisions from what is an absolute necessity to what is a ‘nice to have.’ To make your life and decisions easier, we highlight the top 8 essentials to take to your new accommodation.

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Moving abroad means moving towards a hopefully brighter future while leaving behind all that we know and love. Everything you own will take on new meaning. ‘Will I need this?’, ‘Can I leave this behind?’,  ‘I’m going to miss this.’ These are only some of the things racing through our minds. Deciding what you will need to take with you when you leave home can be stressful. Hopefully, this list of the top 8 things you’ll need will help ease your mind a little.


What must I take with me?

1. Documents

If you pack nothing else, you must bring all your documentation with you in your hand luggage (don’t put them in your suitcase). The documents you must bring with you include:

  • Passport – with a minimum of 6 months’ validity
  • Printed copies of airline ticket
  • Student visa
  • University offer letterv
  • University acceptance letter (CAS for the UK)
  • Scholarship letter (if applicable)
  • Proof of fees paid
  • Academic transcripts of high school qualifications and/or bachelor’s qualifications
  • Registration letter / confirmation of enrolment
  • English language certificate, e.g. IELTS
  • University accommodation contract (if applicable)
  • Proof of address in home country – e.g. university letter with your address on it.
  • Proof of destination address
  • Receipts of any payments you’ve made or money you’ve exchanged
  • Proof of health and insurance cover


It is a good idea to have PDF copies of these as well as digital copies.


2. Electricals

You’ll obviously need to take your electronic devices, chargers plus adaptor plugs. Depending on your destination, you may also need a voltage adaptor and an extension cable would also be handy although you could always buy one later after you have settled in.


3. Medication

It’s important to remember to not only bring any medication you take (make sure to carry it in your hand luggage) as well as translated copies of any prescriptions you will need.


4. Clothes

Depending on your study abroad destination, you will need to bring weather-appropriate clothing. If you start university in September in the UK or Ireland for example, you will definitely need a hoodie/sweater plus a raincoat. You can always buy winter coats after you arrive as these take up a lot of room in your suitcase (see below for information on this).


5. Towels & bedding

If you’re going to stay in on-campus accommodation you will be able to order a bedding pack from the university for your arrival. However, you may feel you want to take your own bedding to make it feel more like home. Make sure you check the size of the beds with the university accommodation services. Remember you will need:

  • Mattress protector
  • Sheet
  • Duvet
  • Duvet cover and pillow case


two arms holding white bedding - duvet, cover, pillows


Equally, it’s good to take your own towels – one big and one small.

If you need more, you can always buy them later after you’ve settled in to new university life.



6. Travel toiletries

We all have the products we prefer to use and there’s a fear that we won’t be able to find the same ones in our new city/town. Space and weight is an issue when travelling so take only travel sized toiletries to use for the first few days/weeks. You will be able to find the same or new products in the local shops/stores – you may even find some better ones.


7. Suitcases

Obviously you will want to bring a large suitcase to pack all of these things but remember you’ll need to store your suitcase in your room during your studies. It’s best to choose soft suitcases or bags that can be easily stored under a bed or on top of a wardrobe.


8. Memories of home

You’re going to feel a range of emotions when you first arrive and homesickness and loneliness will be two of the strongest ones. It’s important to take memories of home with you, perhaps some photos to put on the wall of your room or some of your favourite objects that remind you of home. You should also bring your comfort snack foods from home (remember there are strict customs rules that prohibit bringing in meats and other food items). Snack foods in packets are fine though and can help you feel comforted during difficult times.


What things could I buy after I arrive?

The above are the basics and essentials that you should take with you when you study abroad, but there are many things that you can buy once you arrive. This will save you space in your suitcase.


These include:

  • Cutlery and kitchen stuff  - knives, forks, spoons, wok, pan, plates, etc
  • Toiletries
  • Bedding – can bring your own (see above) and then buy extra when you arrive.
  • Towels – can bring your own (see above) and then buy extra when you arrive.
  • Coat hangers for hanging your clothes (they aren’t included in the furniture).
  • Stationery – pens, notepads, folders, etc.


You can buy student kitchen and bedding starter kits online in many study destinations. These kits include all the above and more. They are reasonably priced and save you the trouble and the worry about what to pack and what to leave behind.



forearms and hands holding different kitchen utensils such as whisk, frying pan, wok, wooden spoon



Essentially you could survive with just the top four things above, everything else is a bonus.