Packing from abroad

An image of a University of Kent student in thier study bedroom
What to pack?

As someone who was given 30kg of luggage allowance when moving from Thailand to Canterbury, I understand the panic that comes with choosing which material parts of your life should come with you to university. 30kg can seem like a lot until you’ve added half your favourite pair of shoes and suddenly you’re at 35kg, but fear not—you’ll find a way to get it down.

My first piece of advice would be to avoid buying anything at home that you’ll only ever use at university and instead wait until you need it to buy it. For me, this was the winter clothes that were useless in Thailand and only really required once winter actually began in the UK. Bedsheets and pillows for your student housing can be bought on moving day, and will only take up space and weight in your suitcase. This way you can also use your new student discount to buy things as well, especially if you won’t have a student card until term starts.

It’s very tempting to bulk buy stationery so you feel prepared to hit the ground running, but paper weighs a lot more than you’d think, especially when it’s bound in diary covers. Cheap but good quality pens and notebooks will always be available to buy on campus and in town, so unless you have specialised equipment then try not to bring more than a pocket notebook and pen or pencil.

Toiletries and household cleaners are also very bulky and can be bought anywhere. While some people will bring bottles of their preferred shampoo or laundry detergent from home, it is much more practical to look for these later on, probably during welcome week. This will also give you a chance to explore town and find local stores that carry what you need, so you’ll know your way around better.

Objects with sentimental value are always hard to leave behind, but a box of personal treasures can be a burden to carry. Often, reminders of home can damped your spirits when you’re away and it’s better to find new memento to decorate with; poster sale on campus are a great way to start. If there’s anything you are really reluctant to leave behind, maybe choose a few of the sturdiest and leave the rest at home.

I personally have a very “better safe than sorry” outlook and tend to over-pack, but it helps to remember that as long as you have the bare essentials (mainly your ID cards and money in some form) you’ll always be okay.


This post is by Natcha Chirapiwat