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I. Packing
luggagePack lightly! Remember that you will be carrying your things around airports, train stations, subways, stairs, cobblestone walkways, etc. Be sure you can handle your own bag(s)!

Some people prefer to buy some of their wardrobe in their host nation – this helps you blend in more with the locals. This of course will depend on your budget. A general rule: Americans stick out when they wear sneakers, college/pro sports apparel, Fraternity/Sorority/Eating House/Student Organization logos, extremely colorful clothing, or very casual clothing like sportswear. This obviously varies on where you are and is not necessarily a bad thing. Just be aware the more you blend in with locals, the less attention you will draw to yourself.

If you will live with a host family, it is customary to take a small gift. For example, a picture book of your hometown, an item with the Davidson logo, or a locally produced non-perishable food item would all be a thoughtful way of introducing your home culture to your host family.

If you are concerned about being abroad during the course of multiple seasons, you may want to consider only packing clothes which you will need first. Halfway through your term abroad, you can ship your out-of-season items home and have new clothes sent to you. Alternatively, if any family members or friends plan to visit you, ask them to pack an extra suitcase with your next set of clothing, and send your out-of-season clothes back to the U.S. with them in the empty suitcase.

II. Electricity
The U.S. uses 120v and 60Hz. You will find this not to be the case throughout the world. Other countries also have differently shaped plugs. In order to use your own electrical items abroad, you will need to purchase an adaptor (plug shape) and converter (voltage). You can buy a set at a specialty luggage store, WalMart, Target, Brookstone, online, etc. You can find information about different electrical systems on the following websites: and through the International Trade Administration.

Rather than dealing with adapting and converting your small appliances, it may make more sense for you to buy everyday items in your host country (like a hairdryer or alarm clock). Hairdryers are especially troublesome – even if you use a converter and adaptor, it still may not operate correctly because it uses so much power.

These days, most electronic equipment like laptops, digital camera battery chargers, and cell phone chargers are capable of operating in any voltage (check the language on the adaptor or plug – it will look like 100-240V). In this case, you would only need to use the plug adaptor, not the converter.


Last modified 01/04/2017

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