A couple of weeks ago, I received the email from my university stating that I had been accepted into the student exchange program and had been placed at a university in the Netherlands next winter! It still hasn't completely hit me yet, probably because I still have to wait till the summer to start receiving any paperwork. 

This, however, hasn't stopped me from scouring Pinterest and YouTube for any and all videos about student exchanges to Europe (and even other parts of the world). 

Since receiving the email, all the free time that I have had (and made through procrastination -- no shame) has gone to planning

From what I've researched, Netherlands is obviously different than Canada, but actually, really different. The weather is relatively average, it doesn't get too hot or too cold but it apparently rains... A LOT! 

I've already begun to start saving for this trip but I've also begun to prepare a list of items that I would like to bring with me and that I believe are important to have (especially if you're going on exchange in Europe).

10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad | Le Northern Belle

|| Rain Boots ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

Like I said, parts of Europe are known for raining a lot. Check up on the average precipitation for the months you'll be living there and decide whether rain boots are needed. Late September to Mid February tends to be prime time for rain in countries that don't get cold enough to snow.

|| Fleece Sweaters ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

Though the weather is relatively "warmer" than what I am used to, it is still cold none the less. I may not need my heavy duty winter coat but I still need to keep warm. I currently don't own many fleece sweaters, because my current winter coat is pretty great on its own, but since I am not planning on bringing this coat with me, I'm going to need to stock up on those sweaters.

|| Wool Coat ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

I've been wanting a long wool coat for a while! It's a classic piece that I know I will have for a long time. I've been bouncing between three different styles of wool coats but I'm still trying to figure out what is my perfect coat.

|| Pictures of Home ||

Whenever you go away from home, it's usually inevitable that you will become somewhat homesick. Some people have more intense symptoms of being homesick than others and hoping on a plane to move 5000 kilometres for a semester or more, probably won't help. I moved away from home to go to university and how I was able to get over being homesick was by printing off pictures of my family and friends to hang in my room. Most times if I'm feeling a little homesick, looking at these photos usually help, but in times it doesn't, we have Skype and I can still make phone calls  (be weary of time differences)

|| Calling Cards ||

I am certain your friends and family love and miss you, but the last thing they need are excessive charges on their phone bill because of collect calls. Especially if you get homesick easily. I've done this once when I went on exchange in high school, and my parents were presented with a $100 excess charge. I called a lot... Whoops! Do yourself and your family a huge financial favour, and buy a five or ten dollar calling card to make your phone calls on! 

|| A Small Wardrobe ||

Bring items that not only pair well with other items you are bringing but are also practical. When it comes to packing, forget about all of those, "but what if's." The odds of you needing 5 semi formal dresses "just in case" is a space wasting mentality! Bring the essentials of your wardrobe and on the off chance you do forget something, you can always buy it when you get to Europe. Depending on where you are living abroad, you can most likely pick up items on great deals. Plus, you don't want to over pack and have to end up paying for extra baggage or worse, having to leave some items behind. The best way to pack just the right amount of stuff is to figure out as early as possible, what you'll be doing while abroad. If you'll be traveling and exploring a lot, you may want to bring some comfortable running shoes.

|| Electronic Adapters ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

To my surprise, many people often forget that not only are voltages different across parts of the world but so are the outlets themselves. If you're coming from North America and are going to anywhere outside of North America, you're definitely going to need an adapter. However, only get adapters for items like your cell phone, laptop and/or tablet. If you have a Mac laptop or an iPad, the Apple Store sells plug adapters that fit into your charging brick. Most laptop chargers come in two pieces as well, so check with your manufacturer to see what options they offer for travelling with the device. For cell phones, it's as easy as replacing the plug part of the USB charger (if they can be separated, if not, you'll need a whole new charger). For other electrical items such as hairdryers, straighteners, curling irons, etc., leave them at home and just buy a cheap new one once you go abroad. Do not buy a converter because those devices are meant for very short term use (i.e. a few days). The last thing you want is to blow out the circuit and kill your appliance!

|| Travel Size Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipes ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

If you're going on exchange, chances are you'll be travelling to other parts of the country and/or continent during your weekends and school breaks. When you're travelling, often times you won't have quick access to a bathroom to wash your hands if needed. To maintain proper hygiene and to keep from getting sick, I'd pack a few of these with you in your personal bag. 

|| A Camera ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

Whether it be your iPhone or a Point-and-Shoot or a DSLR camera, make sure to bring something to document your trip. An exchange is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity! I've heard of so many people who have come back and had wished they had taken more photos. I'm planning to work extra hard this summer to save up for a DSLR camera, just so I can take great quality and high-resolution photos and videos while I am there. If you're not much of
 a photo person, I would highly suggest bringing a journal to document your days. Just bring something that will help you remember this awesome experience.

|| Bags That Completely Zip ||

Rumour or not, I've just heard one too many stories about incidences where people have had items stolen from their bags by pick-pocketers while in Europe. Help prevent this from happening to you be bringing bags that completely zip. When carrying tote bags, make sure the zipper tab is in front of you as opposed to behind you and bring cross body bags in front of your body as opposed to on your side or behind you. I'm planning to bring (in terms of bags) one black backpack, for school, my pink Longchamp tote, a small/medium sized satchel and a black Longchamp large travel bag, for weekend trips.

I want to know if any of you has been on a student exchange or have had a study abroad term! How was it and is there anything I'm forgetting on my list? Let me know in the comments!


© Classic Martha