Friday, December 12, 2014

Hello! I've been receiving so many emails regarding my international exchange lately so I thought I would just write about all the tips and tricks i've learnt when it comes to surviving exchange!

I'm sure all of you are super excited about going for your trips, because trust me, those 4-5 months are gonna be the best days of your life!
So here's a little background about my exchange, I am attending the university in Grenoble, France, and prior to the start of school in early September, I travelled around the UK for 2 weeks.

Temperatures may vary depending on the place you are going, but it is more or less the same, you will definitely need a mixture of items for the warmer (spring/summer) and colder (fall/winter) seasons. If you are visiting a place that's gonna be extremely cold ie Sweden, then please bring more winter clothing, those that can tide you through the bitter winter!

So here goes:

Here are the things I brought and found useful, of course you may tweak it to suit your personal needs. 

2 sets of thermal wear, top and bottom
3 pairs of winter socks
1 winter coat, preferably one that is sturdy and good.
1 leather jacket
3 cardigans, for layering
3 sweaters / long sleeve tops
4 pairs of jeans (1 black, 1 white, 1 denim, 1 beige - PS. you don't have to bring that many)
2 pairs of thermal leggings
2 pairs of gloves
2 scarves (preferably of different colours)
1 pair of winter boots
2 sets of PJs

3 pairs of shorts (1 white, 1 black, 1 denim - again, you don't have to bring so many)
3 pairs of skirts (different colours, can be worn in the winter with thermal leggings)
3 summer tops
2 pairs of ankle socks
1 pair of walking shoes (if you're gonna be walking a lot, opt for comfy ones)

& undergarments of course! As for clothes, you can always buy more when you're there.
And if you're going to a place in Europe, shopping is pretty amazing, contrary to popular belief. Winter clothes and necessities are also a lot cheaper there than in SG, so don't lug your entire wardrobe there if you can resist it.
I know how hard it can be ><
Also, do note that you don't have to bring as many pairs of jeans/skirts/shorts as I did. I simply brought all of them with me because I knew I was going to be taking advertorials here, and my bottoms are usually specially tailored to fit my waist and hips.

1 small bottle of shampoo (you can buy a big bottle when you settle in)
1 small bottle of body wash
1 small bottle of hair conditioner (if you use)
1 small bottle of body lotion
1 small bottle of facial wash
1 small bottle of shaving cream
1 personal razor (if you shave)
1 small bottle of facial moisturiser (bring a huge one if you're unsure about finding one there)
1 sunblock
2 thin towels

If you are used to using certain products like myself, and are convinced that you can't find it in the place you are heading to, then bring a huge bottle! You don't want to be stuck with products that do not work on you, especially skincare items :) Otherwise, bring travel sized bottles, they should be enough to last you through your travels before you settle in.
But ofc, if you are travelling for a long time before school starts, then please bring more!

Make Up (for the girls) 
Products (optional)
1 Foundation
1 BB Cream
1 Bronzer
1 Mascara
2 Concealers (I use 2 different ones)
2 Blush (2 different shades of course)
1 Eyeshadow palette (I brought my NARS palette that is small, compact and has every colour i need)
3 Lipsticks (1 nude, brighter pink, mauve)
2 of my favourite liquid eyeliner (You can bring just 1, i brought 2 b/c I know I can't get heroine make here)
1 Eyelid primer
1 Lipbalm 
1 bottle of perfume (Or buy from duty free when you touch down)

Tools (optional)
1 Pair of tweezers (for brows)
1 Beauty Blender sponge (or anything you use to blend your foundation/BB cream)
1 Eyeshadow brush
1 Eyeliner/Brow brush
1 Contour brush
1 Eyelash curler

Once again, you all know i'm a make up junkie and I know I'm not the most effective at packing light when it comes to make up. Haha! If you are a guy or if you don't use make up, good for you! 
You'll save lots of space in your luggage hehe. 

For all you make up junkies out there, (hi-five), you WILL be buying lots of make up when you are there because its so hard to resist when there are so many new brands that are not available in Singapore. At least for Europe, there's a Sephora at every corner in cities so don't worry about not having enough. 

Food (optional)
5 Packets of Milo (they don't have that anywhere else, i think :( BOO )
4 Packets of instant soup sachets (if you make soup, but they are so fuss free and yummy)

I made the right choice by not listening to some of my friends who told me to bring a rice cooker with me, LOL imagine how much space it will take up in my luggage! Luckily for me, the apartment i'm staying at has a rice cooker. But even if there's none, you can always buy a mini rice cooker there, or make your rice over the stove. 
Although it will definitely be easier with a rice cooker, it is not worth the effort to bring it there and back, haha (imo).
Also, for all you chilli/asian food lovers out there, don't worry about not being able to find chilli padi or chilli paste etc because Asian supermarkets are available in Europe. Not sure about the other countries but they should be avail, because even a tiny town like grenoble has a handful of them! 

One tip I would give is to bring things that are exclusive to Singapore if you really can't live without them for 5 months. Things like Sambal Chilli pre-mix, Laksa Instant noodles, Nasi Padang Pre-mix etc. You prolly won't be able to find them overseas, boo.

1 box of regular Panadol 
1 box of Panadol Flu
1 box of charcoal pills
A few plasters
Personal medication

The usual gadgets, laptop, camera, phone, tablet, earphones
Chargers of all the gadgets
1 Worldwide Travel Adapter
1 Row extension plug (VERY IMPORTANT if you use more than 1 gadget)
1 Hairdryer (optional)
2 Statement necklaces (optional)
2 Everyday necklaces (optional)
1 Set of rings (optional)
1 Pair of sunglasses
1 Pair of slippers
1 Pair of trainers/running shoes
2-4 Locks for luggage, lockers etc depending on how many luggages you have
2 Pens/Pencil case (Stationery in Europe is freaking expensive. Plus you need it for school!)
1 Bag for everyday carry. To school, to travel whatever.

Pack all your clothes (esp winter clothes) in huge Ziplock bags, get those with an opening specially for you to fit your vacuum cleaner in, it will save you lots of space and time!

Here's a rough photo of how it looks like, I got mine from Japan Home, each for around $3-$6 in assorted sizes. I wouldn't recommend the ones from Daiso because the quality is pretty bad.
Why not spend just a few more dollars and get a good one that you can re-use over the years?:)

Voila! There you have it, the ultimate packing list. HAHA. Okay I hope I didn't leave anything out.
I know it sounds like a lot, but once again I'm not saying that you all have to bring the exact things I brought. 
I'm merely sharing my packing list and tips I learnt over my time here! 

Let me know if you guys need more tips, I'm thinking of writing a review on the Eurail Global Pass I got for this trip, should I? 

Thank you for reading, I hope it helps!

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