My first semester in Santiago, I filled two suitcases plus a big backpack. I don’t think I’ll be able to downsize all that much from this setup - it is almost four whole months - but there are definitely things I should’ve packed but didn’t and shouldn’t have packed but did. This post will be all about how I’m packing differently - and better - for my second semester.
First off, I brought too many first aid types of items. I had two boxes of Band-Aids. They might not take up a lot of space, but every inch counts when you’re going off for months on end. It was an unnecessary addition to my bags, especially because I only used ~3 and had to borrow them from other people when it mattered because I hadn’t thought to bring them with me to and from classes.
Ridiculous and silly example out of the way, clothing-wise I was definitely getting tired of the options I had towards the end of my semester. It is key to bring clothes you like, and enough clothes that you will feel comfortable in how you’re presenting, even and especially when these people have seen you wearing variations of the same thing 20 times. This might be more personal, but for me, clothing is a very important mood-setter for my day, so this is something that will be at the front of my mind as I pack up for part 2.
School-wise, the basics really are all that you need. Its the 21st century, so computers are the most essential. There were a few times when I was short a piece of paper or hadn’t brought a pen that I plan to prevent in the future. All of those materials are also purchaseble in Chile - if you’re going somewhere else, there will probably be more research required. As long as you have the means to submit assignments and take notes, you don’t need to overthink the small details.
I brought lots of pictures and posters that needed to be hanged. I don’t regret bringing those items, because it was great to see family and friends in them, but I think for this next semester I will try to find a way to display them without hanging them up. Bringing things that remind you of home is important and helped me a lot while I was so far away.
Some of the things I am happiest I packed and will pack again are my travel neck pillow, small and thin but very warm blanket, and earring organizer. These things made my day to day much easier. Anytime I went on a trip, the blanket and pillow made the trips all the better and more comfortable. The organizer example might be a bit specific to me, but the principle of it is bring things that will make your days easier. For me, that means bringing something that helps me see all my earrings in the morning and pick the ones to wear for the day, which also starts me off on the right foot.
Packing is very subjective, but I hope that the ideas I included help you determine the things you will really need versus the things that aren’t so vital to include.
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My name is Maggie and I'm from Chicago, Illinois (one of the best cities in the States in my completely unbiased opinion). I'm left-handed, could watch Encanto every day, and I am a huge fan of the singer-songwriter Mitski. I study Public Policy at the University of Illinois in Chicago and am excited to learn more about Santiago. I hope to find a community away from the one I have at home and make Santiago my own.