Pre-Study Abroad Checklist: Summer in Europe

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DSC_0278 It's almost that time of year again - summer! Which means it's time to start planning for the upcoming months. Hands down my favorite season, summer beats out the rest of the year, especially for traveling. While I will admit popular tourist destinations can get a little frustrating in the summer due to being more crowded and having longer lines, the general carefree feeling of being outside, in an awesome city, doing awesome things, makes it worth it.

It's much better sipping a glass of wine on a sidewalk cafe during aperitvo in Rome under the warm rays of the sun than it is on a cold, dreary day. (Am I right, or am I right.)

Maybe I love Europe in the warm weather months so much because my first time outside the US was to study abroad in Italy for a 6-week summer program.

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While in Italy for my study abroad, I lived in Florence and took trips within the country to Rome, Siena, and the Amalfi Coast. I also went to Ireland one weekend and England the next.

Besides our orientation, I didn't have much to go off of in terms of a list for what to pack when you study abroad over the summer. Most lists were for stretching your suitcase to fit four-eight months of clothing (semester/full-year abroad), and I wouldn't need to be packing riding boots or a parka.

Instead, I'd be wading the waters of Capri with sandals and a swimsuit.

Here's a brief overview of what to do and what to pack prior to heading to Europe for a summer study abroad program.

Also Read: How To Make The Most Of Your Study Abroad

Pre-Study Abroad Checklist: Europe Summer

First things first

-Passport: Because you can't leave the country without it.

-Plans: Have you started planning weekend trips or any extra traveling before/after your program? Now's the time to do some research and coordinate with others in your program on where you want to go! In my opinion, having things planned out at least somewhat in advance is worth it, though spontaneity can be exciting too.

-Luggage: I brought a backpack, carry-on roller bag, and a large checked roller bag, though for six weeks I probably would've been fine with a large duffle and these packing tricks.

-Check your emails and confirm with your study abroad program that everything is squared away. This includes any visas you may need, tuition payments, program fees, housing, trips through your school, etc.

What Clothes to Pack (Ladies)

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Clothing

Dresses (makes putting together outfits easier, plus they're nice for warm weather), Tops (basic tees/tanks, a couple nicer ones to dress up an outfit), Bottoms (2 pairs of shorts - one athletic for physical activity and one pair of trendy ones for daytime - 1 pair leggings, 1 pair jeans - because no one's going to notice or care that you've worn them 3 days in a row - a skirt or two, and either a light jacket, sweater, or chambray shirt for when it's chilly.

Accessories & Shoes

1 handbag (medium size is best), 1-2 pairs  sunglasses, a lightweight scarf (for chilly nights or flights), 1 pair comfortable flats, 1 pair sneakers, 1 pair strappy sandals, 1 pair flip flops.

This is where I went a little crazy when I studied abroad. I brought ten (10!!!) pairs of shoes with me, and then I bought two pairs in London, so I can home with 12. However, a majority of the shoes were sandals so they took up very little room, but I really did not need that many pairs of shoes.

Realistically, you only need one pair of sandals, but if you have some room, a couple extra pairs couldn't hurt. Just keep that in mind for having to bring everything home in terms of luggage space.

Extras

Beachside Positano Italy

-Bug spray: you will need it. You can buy some once you get there, but if you do, make sure to get some right away if you plan on stepping outside at night.

-Electronics: Earbuds, phone and/or laptop or tablet, camera, adapters, portable speakers (nice to have).

-Journal: To document your experience.

-Toiletries: Travel-sized ones are fine because you can easily stock up while you're there, if needed.

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