Many students ask us for advice on how to pack for their study abroad experience. Below you can find some frequently asked questions. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.
1) How much luggage can I take?
Check with your airline to see what the baggage requirements are. Recently international carriers have reduced the amount of luggage that you can have, so it’s important that you check before you start packing. Also make sure that your luggage meets the size requirements. If you are changing carriers in Europe during a layover, check the carry-on luggage requirements for that carrier. Remember that you can’t have any liquids in your carry on (or only a small amount). Check with the airline to see what their requirements are. The airlines are very strict these days, so make sure you follow their regulations or else they can charge you a hefty fee.
2) What kind of clothes should I bring?
Poland has four distinct seasons, with summer being very hot and winter being very cold. You should bring warm clothes for the fall, winter, and spring. If you don’t have enough room in your luggage, you can buy some clothes in Poland or your parents can send them to you. In the winter it’s important to have a warm coat, hat and gloves because you will spend a lot of time outside walking to and from class and around town. You should also try to bring clothes that you can layer because in the winter the inside of the university buildings can be very warm and you can take off some layers until you feel comfortable.
You should bring one or two nice outfits because there is usually an opening ceremony/inauguration the first day of class, which students dress up for. Other than that, students tend to dress very casually for class. Students dress up more when going out at night, so bring some “going out” clothes.
Here are the average yearly temperatures in Poland:
January: High: 30° Low: 21°
February: High: 34° Low: 23°
March: High: 42° Low: 29°
April: High: 55° Low: 32°
May: High: 65° Low: 46°
June: High: 70° Low: 51°
July: High: 73° Low: 54°
August: High: 73° Low: 53°
September: High: 65° Low: 47°
October: High: 56° Low: 39°
November: High: 44° Low: 32°
December: High: 35° Low: 24°
3) Is there anything special that I should bring from home (toiletries, medicine, etc.)?
Regarding toiletries, in Poland you’ll find all the same name brands that you are used to in the US. As for medicine, generally you’ll find the same over-the-counter medicine (but with different brand names). Because toiletries and medicine can be expensive, it would be good to bring a supply with you. If you are taking any prescription medicine, you should bring enough to last you the whole duration of your stay because it might be hard to obtain those.
4) What other items should I bring?
You might want to bring some souvenirs from your home-town to give away as presents to Polish friends that you meet during the program (for example, key chains).
Here are some other suggested items:
-towel (a towel is provided at the dormitory, but students like to bring their own)
-USB flash drive
-any medications that you’re taking. You should have enough to last the whole program
-any special eye-drops that you use
5) Do I need an adapter or a converter for my appliances?
In order to plug in your laptop, you need a plug adapter because the plugs are different in Europe. The adapter is a small piece that fits over your plug to make your plug compatible with European sockets. During your orientation session, your Program Director will give you an adapter to borrow during the program, so you do not need to bring one. You do not need a converter for converting the voltage. Most modern American laptops can handle 100-240 Volts, which works in Poland and the US. Check the cable on your laptop to make sure it can handle that voltage.
For any other appliances besides laptops, like blow dryers or electric razors, most likely you will need a converter to convert the voltage. The voltage that comes out of European sockets is very strong, 220 volts at 50 cycles, which is almost double that of American standards! Therefore, it might be too much voltage for your appliances. From experience, most American appliances tend to work poorly in Europe, and converters can be quite expensive so it’s better just to buy or borrow these appliances in Poland. Your Program Director will let you borrow a blow dryer throughout the duration of the program, so you don’t need to bring that. During the orientation session, you can also visit one of the many shopping malls in your host city to buy any other appliances that you need.
If you’re bringing a digital camera with rechargeable batteries, check the voltage on your battery recharger, because most likely it can handle 100-240 V, which can be used in Poland. In that case, you will only need a plug adapter (you can use the same one that we’ll give you for your laptop).