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Packing Advice for International Students

If you are planning to begin your college education in New Zealand, you may feel unsure as to what you should pack and what you will need. International shipping can be prohibitively expensive, so you will need to do some shopping once you arrive to replace items that are not worth paying to ship across the ocean. This is especially true of large or heavier items. Consider the essential items while packing your luggage and then determine what you can purchase or have shipped to you.

Send a Box Ahead of Yourself

After the bare minimum of clothing in your luggage, you may be looking around your room and wondering what else to include. First, do some unpacking and send a box to yourself before you leave. Whether you’re planning to study in New Zealand for one semester or four years, remember than no one calls home and asks their mother to send more socks and underwear. Most students make the mistake of packing far too many clothing items that are easily replaced once you arrive or they try to stuff absolutely everything into a suitcase and a carry-on. If you’re a fan of designer jeans or American branded t-shirts, include more of them and skimp on items you can purchase upon arrival or stuff into your shipping box.

Don’t stop at clothes, also remove the following:

bed sheets, towels, blankets, and pillow cases

family-size shampoo and conditioner bottles, other grooming items

copies of mass-produced books

most of your shoes, unless designer

pillows and stuffed animals

school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and pens

All of these items should be packed into a box and sent to your university ahead of time. Once you arrive, you will already have the means to make your bed, take a shower, and get ready for classes without tearing apart your over-stuffed luggage. You want to pack items that are expensive, difficult to replace, or absolutely essential in your luggage. If there’s more room in the box, then stuff in some extra socks, underwear, t-shirts, or favorite pajamas.

Pack Your Electronics

Before you slide your laptop into its protective case and add it to your carry-on, purchase an external drive or several thumb drives and back up the most important information it contains. You will be leaving this copy at home. Copying your pictures and documents folders can save you plenty of heartbreak if your laptop is stolen or develops a fatal error. If you have a netbook or a hand-held ‘pad’ computer, do the same with it. Make sure your computer is charged, as you will be required by airport security to turn it on.

Then, consider your hand-held devices. While your cell phone will probably not be coming with you, you will need the numbers it contains. Download them, if your carrier allows it, and print out the list. Pack one copy in your luggage and fold another copy into your wallet or purse. If you have an MP3 player, you will need the USB cable, the charger, and headphones or ear-buds for it. If you have hand-held gaming devices, pack them and their accessories in padded cases. If you don’t have specialized cases, you can also pack hand-held electronics in several plastic grocery bags and the wrap the excess plastic around it. This will act as a cushion and help prevent breakage. Take the batteries out of everything and pack them in their own separate bags.

Plan for a Shopping Trip

Almost as soon as you arrive in New Zealand, you will want to go to your room, unpack your box, and take a long look around. You can then hire a taxi or jump on a bus to a store to purchase items such as a small waste basket, a bath mat, or other small furnishings to make your dorm room comfortable. You will also want to buy snacks for yourself. Make sure you have the cash or credit necessary to cover these expenditures.

Being a student for the first time and living far from your family can be a challenge. By sending a box ahead of yourself, packing your luggage wisely, and planning for a small shopping trip, you can make the transition from your parents’ house to the dorms with a minimum of fuss.