Sometimes one of the most challenging aspects of spending time abroad is deciding what to pack. How much should I bring? What should I bring? What will the weather be like where I am travelling? In what sort of activities will I be participating while I am away? These are the sorts of questions you’ll probably be asking yourself as you pack your bags for the BISC, and here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- You will have an opportunity to purchase necessary stationery and school supplies from the campus library or from the local town during orientation.
- You will have to carry everything that you pack. Before you begin packing, the first thing you should do is check with your airline to determine what their regulations are concerning checked and carry-on limits and restrictions. If you can’t carry something, leave it at home!
- Pack clothes that are comfortable, warm and durable. You will be travelling almost every weekend, and field studies trips run even if it’s raining, snowing, or blowing a gale! See this overview of the weather in Herstmonceux to get an idea of seasonal averages.
- Avoid bringing bulky consumables. Packing copious amounts of stationery, laundry detergent or other consumables might save you a little bit of money in the short term, but you will save more in the long run if you use that luggage space for an extra sweater or pair of shoes instead of having to buy such items in the UK.
- England has a very damp climate. The climate in south-eastern England is best described as a moderate, maritime climate. The seasonal temperatures may be higher than you are accustomed to, but the rain and wind can actually make it feel much colder than you would otherwise expect.
- You will be spending long periods of time outside. As well as the short walking commute to the Castle for class and meals everyday, there are a number of outdoor activity programs at the Castle, and experiential learning opportunities can also involve long walking tours and trips to exposed areas. Please be sure that you pack suitable attire for these activities.
- Sometimes things will get a little messy. Some activities that take place outside, such as volunteering with the gardeners or participating in an archaeological dig on campus, require more durable clothing. We recommend that you bring something along that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- You will also need to get dressed up. There are a few occasions at the Castle when “business dress” is appropriate. For these occasions, you should pack a jacket/suit, dress shirt/blouse, tie, dress/skirt/dress pants, and dress shoes. Please note: some of these occasions take place a couple of days after your arrival at the BISC, you will not have enough time to go out and buy something to wear if you didn’t bring it with you. If you are in courses and/or programs such as Commerce and Global Health and Disability you will need business attire for your experiential learning opportunities.
- Voltage and plug adapters. Most laptops now have built-in voltage convertors but other items such as hair straighteners do not. You must have these items inspected by Maintenance before use and you must use a voltage convertor with them. Do not bring a mains-powered clock as the voltage difference will cause it to lose time.
- School supplies. A small supply of stationery (writing utensils, tape, ruler, etc.) if you have room. North American paper does not fit in UK binders or printers, so you can leave it behind. Bring a small backpack for experiential learning opportunities.
- Travel iron (available in residence)
- Bedding (linens and comforter) and towels (provided once a week in residence)
- Hairdryers (available in the residence bathrooms)
- Electric blankets
When you are organizing your luggage, you should keep in mind that airlines have baggage limits and generally you will be restricted to one or two checked bags. Bring a small carry-on bag that fits the budget airline restrictions (Ryan Air and Easy Jet) for weekend trips.
If you are hoping to use any of your electrical devices in the UK, you will need to come prepared with plug adapters and perhaps a voltage adapter as well. Plugs in the UK have three prongs, and a simple adapter fits over the end of the North American plug so it can be used in the UK. These adapters are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased in luggage shops or electronics stores. Bader Reception also stocks these items.
Voltage converters (for use with equipment without a built-in converter of its own) are more expensive and may be required for personal computers and other items. Before you leave, you should check any electrical devices you plan to bring to see if a converter will be required. Most laptops have a built-in voltage convertor but please do check.
Please Note: Plugs in Continental Europe are different than in the UK. Some adapters can accommodate both types of plugs; if yours doesn’t, you should consider purchasing a separate adapter for travel to the Continent. The UK uses 220 volts, however in Canada and the US the standard wall outlet voltage is 110.