What to Pack and What to Leave Home
It can be all too easy to get carried away when you’re trying to squeeze your life into a suitcase and prepare for all eventualities in a new country. Luckily, there are those who have been there before you. Here are some tips from CEU’s Alumni Scholarship Recipients to make packing for the big move a bit easier for you.
Weather and clothing
Budapest has four distinct seasons: baking summers (think over 30°C, with temperatures sometimes climbing up to 40°C) and cold winters with some snow (from 10°C to as low as -20°C), plus beautiful mild springs and falls in between. “Bring the warmest and thickest coats and jerseys you’ve got,” advises Zuleyha from Turkey. But don’t despair if you’re coming from a hot country that rarely sees snow and ice, you can get winter clothes once you’re here, like Angel from the Philippines did. “When you get here, it will be the beginning of fall so you’ll have a few weeks before you start to feel the chill in the air. You will have enough time to shop for thicker jackets, scarves, gloves, leggings and so on. And they are much cheaper here than in Manila.”
Depending on what you’re into, you might also want to bring your hiking boots, running shoes, football kit or other sporting gear, and join one of CEU’s sports clubs. “And don’t forget your swimsuits or trunks so you can enjoy the many amazing spa baths in Budapest,” adds Iliana from Russia.
Household items and other must-haves
As a good rule of thumb, don’t bring any large items that can easily be bought in Budapest, such as towels, bedding and general kitchenware. There’s a huge IKEA that can be easily reached from the center and is only a 15-minute walk from the Residence Center, not to mention all the shopping malls across the city. However, if you have space and you know you’ll miss them, do bring traditional cooking pots and other household items from your country that might be difficult to come by here. Maisha from Bangladesh, for example, suggests packing some traditional Bengali cooking utensils (though the most essential items can be bought here), while Angel recommends bringing a tabo.
Importantly, make sure to pack chargers for all your electronic gadgets and devices and if you’re from a country that uses different plugs and sockets from the two-pin European ones, buy at least two travel adaptors. Also, “don’t forget your camera, you’ll need it,” says Sanjay. However, you’re better off leaving your books at home and bringing an e-book reader instead.
“Getting homesick is a serious problem, especially during the winter,” warns Angel. She suggests bringing your favorite snacks that remind you of home as well as letters, photos of loved ones and other little mementos, also great for decorating your room. Yifei says you should pack something you really like or are very attached to. “I wish I had brought my instrument with me. It seemed inconvenient at the time but continuing your hobby helps you destress from the academic workload. It definitely would have been worth it.”