Last year before I travelled to Exeter, I was on a family trip and all I did was bring suitcases full of clothes, but – THIS WAS NOT A LOGICAL DECISION! And I wanted to save up a few hundred pounds, my mum then sent me a few parcels from Hong Kong, with several items in them. Very soon I’d be returning to Exeter and I thought it’d be useful for me to list out the 10 things I found crucial to have during the academic year.
I won’t lie about this, but as a law student, I love using fancy stationery because quality stationery give me the motivation to study harder! As a student from Hong Kong, (and if you’re from Asia, you should know what I mean using fancy and quality stationery), it’s a usual practice to purchase a few gel ink ball pens from brands like Uni-ball and Pilot, and to have several Zebra Mildliners in my pencil bag for highlighting important points on notes.
I would highly recommend bringing the stationery you usually use (especially those that you’ve used in your school exams), they would be handy during your studies! I personally think that it’s more expensive to get quality stationery in the UK and there are less brands, colours and styles you can choose from.
Below I’ve listed the stationery I brought with me last year:
● Gel ink ball pens
● Highlighters & Mildliners
● 1 long and 1 short ruler
● A4 folders and binders (Paper binders are usually available for purchase rather than plastic ones and the latter would be more expensive)
If you are a person who likes to handwrite your notes, lined paper and notebooks are available for purchase at a reasonable price at high street stores and on campus, so you do not have to worry about bringing them with you as they could be very heavy to move around.
2. Schedule Book
University life surely isn’t only about studying, but also social life and proper rest time inclusive. I would suggest purchasing an A5 day to page planner, where you can write down all your daily schedules, including lectures, society trainings and socials!
With the use of a planner, you can write out your to-do list as well and you would be able to achieve better organisation skills to help you get through your busy university life!
3. Formal workwear
As the term goes on, the career zone and many academic societies would hold employability activities, including employer presentations and firm open days. At these occasions, it’d be best to dress formally to make yourself look professional.
If you have a set of office wear that you usually wear, you can bring that with you, or simply purchase them online or at high street stores as well. That would come in handy when attending employability events.
4. Things that will make you feel like home (THIS IS CRUCIAL!)
As you are travelling away from home for a couple of months, it’s very important to make yourself feel like home even if you are not. This will help you gain comfort and a sense of security knowing that you are still connected to your family.
I brought with me my teddy bear, some printed photos of my family and friends, some Asian snacks and food items for cooking my meals.
I did not feel very homesick but it was a relief to have many things around me that I could relate to at home and that provided me with a peace of mind even when I was stressed with assignments and exams.
5. Extension Cables
Your accommodation could be very small and possibly have only 2 to 3 sockets (or at most 4). A 4-way or 6-way extension cable would be useful when you have a computer, printer, hairdryer, phone charger and extra desk lamps to plug in for use.
6. Shopping Bag
Similar to many countries, you have to pay an additional 10p for a plastic bag when you shop at any stores. I would advise bringing a strong, reusable and washable shopping bag. You can use it to hold all your food items when you shop at the supermarket or any random accessories for your room during the first week of Arrivals. That would be very convenient and saves you a few pounds throughout the year.
7. Rail Card
The rail card is basically a discount card that could save you A LOT OF MONEY when you travel by train in the UK. It could be used on most trains, if not all. That would be of use if you wish to travel to and from London international airport, or take a day off to nearby cities during reading week and other holidays.
You should be prepared to experience 4 seasons every day. Having an umbrella in your bag can prevent you from getting soaked when you’re rushing to the Forum for your lectures, or causing embarrassment when you are walking home from high street after a big shopping spree.
Back in February and March when the UK experienced the first wave of Covid-19, everyone was panic buying surgical masks from pharmacies and online stores. Everything was out of stock and I was just lucky enough to purchase masks from Boots before I left for home.
I would URGE you to bring some masks with you, at least for term 1 because masks in the UK are quite expensive. It is also possible everything will run out of stock again, if another wave of Covid-19 hits the UK. Prevention is always important!
10. Hand sanitisers
Similar to the above, nobody knows what could happen in the next few months, it’d be better if you prepare extra hand sanitisers with you in case everything runs out of stock.
Things you should not bring to university:
2. Electronics: kitchenware/rice cooker, hairdryer, printer, fan etc
3. Bed items: duvet, bedsheet, pillow
5. Household items: cleaning agents, extra towels, airer
As mentioned above, I brought two suitcases full of clothes, and I had too many clothes to fit into the closet. I didn’t even wear most of the summer clothes because the weather was always chilly. I also admired how my English friends wore fancy clothes to the club so I purchased new clothes online. For sure you should bring a coat that can keep you warm for the rest of the winter, but you can also purchase clothes at high street stores or online conveniently. Other items such as rice-cooker and duvet are bulky and heavy to bring all the way from home. They can be purchased from stores like Wilko and Ikea at affordable prices.