“When deciding what to bring on a study abroad trip, you walk a very fine line. The trick is to cover as many potential disasters and weather changes as possible while bringing the least amount of stuff. Sounds like a challenge, right? That’s because it is. This is the first step you have to take in order to prepare yourself for entering a completely new environment with new people and a new school in a new country. The following list of things will ensure you get the most out of your abroad experience by being the most prepared person there!”

This is the typical introduction for one of a gazillion places online where you can find a list of items you should bring on your study abroad experience. I’m not saying they haven’t been helpful in preparing, but most of them I’ve seen leave out the stuff you absolutely NEED to have when going on an adventure abroad: pictures from home. Everybody advises you to bring a camera to document the amazing places you’ll go and the sights you will see, but what about your pictures from the past? I’m bringing pictures of my sister, my mum and dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and everything in between. You know why? Because I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that when I go to London the people over there won’t want to see the “super cool picture I took of Big Ben at night” because they will have seen it a million times. What they won’t have seen, and will subsequently care about more during the bonding process, is pictures of your home. My home. My own little slice of good-old-fashioned American Midwest. These are the things which will be unique to the friends I plan on making- the memories and pictures from home that they wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. And I have a sneaky suspicion that it’ll help a lot more with making friends than yet another “amazing shot of the London Eye” I capture there. That’s why I’m going to bring a little bit of home with me to share with the people in London, in the hopes that they will in turn share a little bit of their home with me.

Oh and also I’m bringing outlet converters. Those are essential, I’m getting them for places all over Europe for when I travel. Can’t survive abroad without them!!