My To-Do List Preparing for a Semester Abroad

Headshot of Alexandra Carillo.
Alexandra Carrillo
January 14, 2023
Train station of my hometown Redlands

After asking myself where I wanted to go abroad, and what that process looked like, these were my to-do's to get there:

To-do #1: Knowing your resources

(Apart from the IES Abroad website, advisors, emails, orientations, etc.)

Your university study away office

As a Latina student from an immigrant family, when applications began, my university's study abroad office was extremely helpful and walked me through the process. If your university has this type of office, I strongly recommend taking full advantage of this resource. I could send emails and schedule appointments to get answers to any questions or concerns I had quickly. They even helped me look for flights and the airline’s policies, you do not have to do this alone! 

The Internet

Another aspect of studying abroad is that you are going to be in another country with a different culture. I watched YouTube videos to get a glimpse into Spanish culture. I saw one video of a student who studied in Salamanca and her experience, a travel guide company listing what places to visit in Salamanca, and a Spanish couple saying what dishes and drinks to order to get a more authentic experience. You can also look at the country’s laws and regulations for travel and what you can bring into the country since what may be allowed in your country can be illegal in that country. A quick google search is but a click away!

Social media

Online, I have asked mutuals what they pack for their dorms, and from their responses, I acquired a list to see what I have at home and what I should go out and buy. I’ve even talked with past students that studied in Spain and had them review my list as well as tell me about their own experience abroad. They also recommended places for me to visit within Spain and the types of transportation they used. Other’s experiences can add to your own! 

To-do #2: Leaving things in order

Saying goodbye to family and friends

The people around you are your biggest supporters. My family has joined me in preparing to go abroad by shopping with me and giving me countless pieces of advice. I am enjoying my time with them before my departure. I have had many dinners and hangouts over the last few weeks to have one last laugh and one more hug before I leave. It is important to take care of those around you since your journey will impact them as well. 

To-do #3: Packing my bags

A general list of what I am taking abroad

To end off, this is what I compiled after online responses, chats, and my own thinking. Reminder, also take into account the weather!! My list is not perfect, and there might be some things I don’t need or forgot to pack, but we won’t know until later, so for now:

Clothes and shoes:

  • Asgard waterproof shoes
  • White Adidas shoes
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Pants 
  • Undergarments
  • Coats
  • Thick socks
  • Leggings
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Skirt
  • Nice dress (in case there are events)
  • PJs 

Dorm and bathroom items

  • Shower sandals
  • Makeup, sponge, and brushes
  • Hair comb and brushes 
  • Toiletries (mini sizes to start me off because I can get some once I arrive since I’m not picky with brands)
  • Body scrubber, Deodorant, and Menstrual products  (I use specific ones)
  • Hair clips and rubber bands
  • Headband
  • Dorm Slippers
  • Laundry bag

Technological items

  • Plug adapter/converter (the U.S. and Europe have different sockets and voltage)
  • Extension cord (to make sure all my technologies can be charged)
  • Laptop, tablet, phone, earbuds, and their chargers
  • Portable charger for phone

For class

  • Glasses
  • Handbag
  • Notebook(s)
  • Stationary pouch

The last item on this list is traveling to Salamanca, Spain, and beginning my semester abroad. I will write and document to you all next time from out there, ¡adios!

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Headshot of Alexandra Carillo.

Alexandra Carrillo

Hi! My name is Alexandra Carrillo and I am a 2nd year at my university. I am studying International Relations and Spanish with emphases in politics and security and Latin American literature. I am from the USA and México and I often travel between the two. My hobbies include embroidering, painting, and reading (my favorite genres are romance and history). A fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister who goes to the same university as me (we are fraternal and people still mix us up!). I look forward to documenting my journey abroad and the people and places I'll meet along the way!

2023 Spring
Home University:
University of Redlands
International Relations
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