What not to forget!
Some things just make life a whole lot easier when you remember to take them with you when going abroad – even though you might not think of them in the first place.
by Pia Knappstein
Something so small, so easy to forget but nevertheless one of the essential things that you should fit into your suitcase. This way, you need to take less adapters and you can easily charge or use any electronic device you want to without too much effort.
But don’t forget to take an adapter, too!
You will probably get a tourist guide before you leave from your parents, family or friends. Make sure to take it and have a look at what you can do! Usually, they have information about the country, culture and also the city you will be visiting. Have a look inside to get some insights about nice spots to go sightseeing, shopping and eating. But make sure to ask the locals for some special tips as well. They will have interesting perspectives and can definitely give you insights that are different than the ones a tourist would get. And that’s the goal, isn’t it?
Something I found really useful, too, is an app called “City maps 2 go”. You can download maps and use them with or without GPS. There are many places with ratings that can be really useful. A good tourist guide I would suggest is the “Top 10”-tourist guide by Dorling Kindersley or the Marco Polo Tourist Guides.
No matter if you like chocolate or not – the locals you will get to know will definitely be excited to try some candy of the country you come from. Plus, you will really appreciate to have something to offer to people – it is interesting for others and it is a nice way to get in touch with people talking about your own culture. Additionally, I can tell you from experience, that sometimes while you are travelling you are more than happy to eat things you didn’t like before. In Germany, we have a really dark bread called Pumpernickel that I absolutely disliked when I was in Germany. Being abroad for some time, I found it really nice – until I came back to Germany again.
Something from where you come from
Bring something unique to the region or country you come from. It could be a nice wine for your Homestay family, a game you really enjoy to play or music that a local band produces. As you grow into the new culture, and learn many new things, you should give something back to the people around you. For example: I brought one of my favorite games called “Ligretto” and fridge magnets from the city I come from.
No matter if you like writing or not, you really should hold on to your memories. You are going to experience so much in the upcoming time that it is almost impossible to keep all of that in mind. Photos capture some of these moments, but it is also nice to have a place to write down funny stories and new impressions. I am 100% sure after your return, you will enjoy flipping through the pages seeing all those memories. It is one of the best feelings going back in time to these wonderful moments. You can also find very nice applications for your computer. Mac users might like Day one that looks very user-friendly and you can also add photos and export it as a PDF file.
The saying goes that The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – this is also true for friends and family. You should absolutely be able to prepare a traditional meal or desert for friends and family abroad. This creates an international understanding of the culture and maybe corrects the impression people have on your origin before getting to know your culture. Furthermore, you are going to want to show off with the great things your national cuisine offers! And of course, sometimes you are going to miss your mother’s cooking skills and then it’s up to you to take over the cooking spoon.
How-To Washing Machine
Although your parents might still be doing your laundry at home, there is no guarantee that your host family is going to do the laundry for you, too. So now is the time to look over your parent’s shoulder and get some tips and tricks how to use the tools you might need. You don’t want your favorite shirt to turn out to be the shirt that is too small since the last laundry load. And even if you don’t need to do your laundry yourself – maybe you don’t want your homestay to wash your underwear.
Last but not least be sure to bring an open mind and be ready for all the new adventures that will come your way!