How to pack for a student program in the UK

Indian students travelling to the UK for studying abroad can benefit from packing advice from past students who have visited the country. Find out some packing dos and don'ts for your student program in the UK and an easier transition.

Are you going to study abroad in the UK soon? It can be a daunting task to pack for a long stay in a foreign country. And though there are many similarities between everyday life in India and in the UK in things that we take for granted – appliances are rated 220-240V in both countries for instance – there are differences you need to be prepared for. Here are some packing tips to help your transition to life in the UK as a student from India.

Pack good quality fused plug adaptors

The UK uses three-pin plugs with rectangular pins, for which you will need a plug adaptor to use with your Indian appliances. It is also highly recommended that you get yourself a fused socket connector when you get to the UK or before you leave India. British standards require all plugs to be fused for safety against fires. Also consider packing light and keep your appliances at home. Appliances such as hairdryers and steam irons are inexpensive to buy in the UK.

Pack enough warm and waterproof clothes

Weather in the UK is almost always lower than 27 degrees C, which may even be the lowest temperature you are used to in India. Temperatures go down to -2 degrees C in winter.

Be sure to pack warm, waterproof outdoor clothing – constant UK rain and fog are colder and wetter than we are used to in our warm Indian monsoons. A windcheater (and an umbrella) is a good option to keep the rain away – you will almost never find people wearing raincoats.

Carry a heavy fleece jacket or layers of pullover and jacket for winter (November/December). For autumn (August-October) a light jacket is enough. You should also buy a cheap warm overcoat for late winter when you get to the UK. Thermal socks and inners, a muffler, gloves and a cap will help keep you warm in the winters. Scotland can get very cold in winter, and snow, ice and frost can make walking difficult – snow boots in India are cheaper and ideal for severe winters.

Do not forget warm indoor clothing (sweatshirts, fleece innerwear etcetera.) and comfortable shoes (sneakers or sports shoes are enough, if you do not want to carry boots). Buy your formal clothing in the UK.

Household items to bring

If you will be living in student residences, you will not need to carry much with you. You can buy cooking utensils, bed linen and towels at the SOAS Accommodation office. Do not forget your laptop, a torch, battery alarm clock, sports equipment. Some photos and mementos of home will keep you from feeling homesick.

Spare phone chargers and your old handset

Bring your old handset and simply buy a sim-only mobile plan in the UK. Carry a couple of spare chargers so you are not left high and dry if you lose or break one.

Bring contact lens solution

Contact lens solutions are expensive in the UK. If you wear contact lenses, it is best to buy solutions in India to take with you, after consulting with your optician on the best kind to carry.

Do not forget to pack your important documents (CAS statement, offer letter, degree certificates, transcripts, funding proof, passport) and medical prescriptions; bring some important medicines (with prescription) to take while you wait for your NHS benefits to become active. Also remember that there are strict restrictions on bringing food into the UK – no dairy, meat, potatoes or meat products from outside the EU, only up to 2 kg of healthy fruit and vegetables in personal baggage etcetera.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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