Packing and travel tips from USAC Maastricht students

Several University Studies Abroad Consoritium (USAC) Maastricht students were featured in the August 2023 issue of the Center for European Studies (CES) and Maastricht Summer School (MSS) publication, cestories.

For many study abroad students, they are embarking on their first overseas trips and aren’t sure how to prepare for the journey. Evan Stover of Appalachian State University offers some advice.

“When I was preparing to study abroad I was so anxious about not being able to find the products, food, and essentials that I need in the Netherlands, which caused me to overpack. There are so many places to access things in Maastricht and if you forgot something essential there is no need to be worried about having to go without it.”

Julie Parrey of the University of Cincinnati continues the point by saying, “Take advantage of programs/orientations or other things provided for you. CES events are literally the most fun, so I always recommend you attend those. You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you have on your calendar the first few weeks and you may feel inclined to skip some of them, but I encourage you to attend everything you can. You never know when you may meet a great group of friends or study buddies, or just learn information that is important for you to know.”

When it comes to packing for your trip, Leah Noble of Lindenwood University has first-hand experience as a self-confessed over-packer.  

  1. A capsule wardrobe is your best friend. Creating a small, cohesive set of clothes means less options, but easier decisions. Clothes can weigh down your suitcase quickly, so bring clothes, shoes, and accessories that can pair with multiple outfits.
  2. If it’s not essential, pack it last. Prioritize what you need over what you want. There are plenty of shops near the Guesthouse for the things you may have forgotten or left behind. If you can leave something at home without missing it, leave it.
  3. Bring less now, come home with more later. If you love shopping like I do, make sure to account for it. An emptier suitcase upon arrival leaves space for your purchases over the months you’re abroad. Trust me, you’ll fill up your suitcase before you return home!
  4. Don’t forget a (little) slice of home. I brought along a few of my favorite snacks I couldn’t get in Maastricht and some photos I had printed to decorate my dorm. Skip the large items from home and opt for compact ways to curb homesickness.

Read the full issue online.

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