I am currently half-way through my first semester, and I’ve had time to reflect on what I wish I’d brought with me. Coming to America, I had 52kg overall to bring with me, which culminated in a massive suitcase, a carry-on, and a backpack. Even with this, I struggled when deciding what to bring, as I knew I could not bring everything (I tried, trust me). I had to buy a lot of things once I got here, but there are some things that just could not be substituted or replaced, and I wish I had brought with me from home.
- My dressing-gown and slippers:
As the weather turns colder, it has me wishing for my fluffy dressing-gown and slippers. However, they took up too much space. As I sit at my desk working, my toes protest at the cold, even in my socks. I thought bringing my flip-flops would be enough, but alas, sadly they are not. Also, I take a risk every time I step out of my room in just a towel to go for a shower in the shared bathroom. It’s only a few rooms down, but it feels as though it is at the other end of the hall (thank god it actually isn’t!)
- Pharmaceutical essentials:
One thing I have found every time I pop in to the local CVS (the pharmacy) is that not everything that is available off-the-shelf, or over-the-counter, at home is as readily available here. Also, they may not have the same brands we’re used to (I’m thinking of Benylin cough syrup whilst I write this – the gold mine for getting rid of a cough). For the most part though, they stock most of the same stuff, if not similar products. It’s just a pesky few things that need to be gotten on prescription, or just don’t compare to personal preferences. I advise looking into this before coming, and stocking up if, and when, possible.
- British chocolate:
Ah chocolate; the ultimate comfort food. Whilst I am studying at a University with #1 dining in the country, I am missing my British chocolate: Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Galaxy, Cadbury’s Oreo; I could go on and on. Whilst the chocolate here is good, it just isn’t the same. Then again, I’m biased.
- More summer clothes:
Everyone told me about the cold, cold weather to expect come winter. No-one told me of the extremely hot weather I was to expect on arrival, and the several months following. So, unknowingly, I packed half of my suitcase full of fall and winter clothing, and very little for summer. Boy, did I regret that. Don’t make the same mistake I did, folks.
- Photos of family and friends:
This last one is pretty self-explanatory. I regret not making use of the free printing facilities at home to print off some photos of my friends and family to use as decorations for my room (my walls are pretty sparse compared to my roommate’s). They don’t take up room, and they’re a nice reminder for when you’re missing home.
Written by Isabelle Currie – University of Massachusetts, USA