What to Pack For A Semester/Year Abroad

Ready for Europe!
Ready for Europe!

Packing for a semester or year abroad might seem daunting, but the more you prepare for it and the more in advance you start- the better. I started packing for my semester abroad a month before I left. A little aggressive? Yeah.. probably. But it gave me enough time to stay organized and to know exactly what I’d need and what I wouldn’t. I was also extremely excited so I wanted to start packing straight away. If I didn’t need to wear the clothes I’d be packing then I would have started packing the minute I got accepted into the program!

You surprisingly don’t need a lot for a semester abroad. Besides, you will most likely be  shopping in your new host country! My semester in France goes from September – January plus I spent 2 weeks in Greece at the end of August so I needed to consider clothes for summer – fall – winter. I brought everything I needed for the semester in one suit case, and I surprisingly still had plenty of room. I decided to leave that space instead of filling it because knowing me I would have bought so much and would need that extra space at the end of my semester. I also decided that I wouldn’t bring a winter jacket because it took up too much space and let’s be honest, did I really want to be wearing my old Canadian winter jacket when I was amongst the most fashionable women in Europe? Hell, no.

What I packed for France:


x 2 jeans
x 1 black pants
x 2 maxi skirts
x 3 skirts
x 2 bar dresses
x 2 casual dresses
x 1 pullover
x 1 sweatshirt
x 2 cardigans
x 1 Jean jacket
x 1 rain jacket
x 1 fall jacket
x 3 long sleeve shirts
x 5 tee shirts
x 4 dressy shirts
x 3 workout shorts
x 1 Leggings
x 1 sweatpants
x 3 workout half-leggings
x 5 bras
x 5 sports bras
x 14 socks
x 20 underwear
x 2 tights
x 3 tank tops


x 1 pair of Runners
x 1 pair of sneakers
x 1 pair of heels
x 2 flats
x 1 black booties
x 1 brown knee high boots


x 1 hat
x 1 large shoulder bag** Big enough for laptop and school things – they do not use backpacks in France for school
x 1 small backpack **for travel
x 5 pairs of earrings
x 4 assorted rings
x 2 scarves
x 2 watches
x 3 necklases
x 2 pairs of sunglasses
x 2 clutches
x 4 cell phone cases
x 1 wallet

Toiletries & Cosmetics

** You can buy a lot of this when you arrive

Medications – prescription and/or over the counter – I always travel with Gravol (non-drowsy&drowsy) as well as Advil.
Toothpaste & Toothbrush & Floss
Hairbrush & Hair Ties
Make Up
Small First Aid kit
Cotton Tips & Cotton Balls
Nail File
Hair straightener
Blow dryer


Phone & Charger
Camera & Charger & Spare Memory Card
Laptop & Charger
Electrical Adaptors

Other Essentials

Something from home – your favorite food, pictures, etc.
Travel Journal & Pens
Photocopies of important documents – it is a good idea to have electronic copies in a dropbox too
Foreign Currency
Bank Cards
Student ID
Drivers licence
Small Padlock

Did I miss anything? Any suggestions of things you brought on your semester abroad or things you wish you had brought?

2 thoughts on “What to Pack For A Semester/Year Abroad

Add yours

  1. I’m moving to Australia for a gap year and I am so stuck i what I need to pack! So this has helped me so much, I’ll probably print it off so I don’t forget anything hahaha thanks!


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