Lifesaving Advice: What I Wished I Would have Known

Written by kelseyharper May 26, 2023

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Ciao from our quant home away from home of Paderno Del Grappa, Italy! I am so grateful to be able to call this place even somewhat “home!” How do I deserve this? Besides the magical side of studying abroad, I have also learned about realizing the things that I wish I would have brought truly serve an impact. A huge one! Now besides the occasional pair of socks or your favorite pajama set, I am talking about the ultimate things that you need to survive in order to have the best experience possible. Just kidding. It does not truly rely on having everything 110% ready and planned before, but rather makes the joy of the experience. But hey, you can still have one of the most rewarding experiences besides the occasional forgotten thing. I wish I would have had a survival guide of things that almost everybody leaves off and forgets. The items I wish I had paid more attention to. You know, the one that you can find on Pinterest in the pink and white flowers when you search frantically before you leave titled “abroad packing list help” but make it tailored to Cimba? I hope my lifesaving survival guide, one I wish I would have considered, can at least dent your packing decisions!

Attire/ Weather

Jackets!! Bring lots of jackets, or lightweight cover ups when you are thinking about packing that other dress or pair of jeans instead! I found that the most appreciated item in my closet was my $5 white pullover jacket. I got this from a street vendor in rainy northern London at the last minute when I realized that I had already packed for 102-degree desert weather in a place that is quite the opposite. Europe is not a dessert, and Paderno Del Grappa is surely not a dessert. And all days are not Lake Como beach days out in bright, beachside view. Some of the nights on campus get chilly the first two weeks because of the early May temperatures from our mountainous surroundings. You might want to get an extra blanket/ pillow at the store the first week! Bring athletic outfits and super comfortable clothes for classes and travel weekends! Most of my suitcase consisted of summery beach outfits that were arriving for the destination of the Italian summer sun only. Truly, it was shocking at first that the weather was not as warm or bright that I expected in the beginning of the May season in Europe like it was when I was seeing my friends post last year. So, pack for weather/ comfortability versus cramming another unneeded item in your 50-pound bag…you will thank yourself later for the comfortability in the adventurous train travels, early start morning classes, and the studying outside of the local town café days.

Personal Belongings

Go to the grocery store visit opportunity the first week and get all you need! Get your personal belongings ahead of ahead of time! I found myself getting most of the essential items that I “thought” I needed and realized that the things I truly needed were found out at week two. Some of the common items I missed at the realization of week two: extra blanket/pillow, highlighters for class readings, backup charger in case you lose one, extra snacks (you will enjoy the art of snacking from the European lifestyle), protein packed bars for the breaks in between classes, energy bites, one substantial water bottle to refill versus a multi-pack, clothing wrinkle spray for packing the crammed clothes in your carry on, a good book, and something that reminds you of home. Wow that was a lot! But I hope you can take away something helpful on your list.

I hope that this finds you well to show you that there is joy in it all, the forgotten, to the “I wish I would have brought this” and to all the above. I have already realized that if I learned first, I could better prepare for the next time traveling or help someone walking the same sidewalks next year that I walked on in Summer 2024. For now, Ciao from week 2 of Cimba!!