Advice, such a wonderful concept, but there is always something left out, something that may be important to you but not to someone else.
Packing: pack light, I guarantee that you will see something you have to have and buy more clothes here (especially if you’re a girl who likes to shop). I brought 5 or 6 shirts with me, I have doubled that.
Shoes. Do NOT bring 50 million pairs of shoes. Bring shoes that are comfortable for walking in, because you will be doing a lot of walking. Also, make sure you have at least one pair that is water proof or you are going to have wet feet a lot. If you LIKE to hike and plan to do so here, then it’s good to bring hiking boots. I’ve barely worn mine even though they were recommended on the packing list. Hiking always seems to be optional, so the footwear is also optional.
Another one (which may or may not be weird) but if you are particular about your personal hygiene products, like deodorant, bring it. They have many things to offer here but they are NOT the same as what is available in the US.
Bring a raincoat. With a hood. Umbrellas are great, but I gave up carrying mine after the wind turned it inside out a couple times. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the fight. If you worry about your hair, believe me, everyone else will be just as windblown as you.
Shopping – be prepared to go to more than one store. They do have Asda, which is like Walmart, but with not quite as much variety. Other than that, groceries, medicine, and clothing/linens are not generally sold in the same place. Also, different stores have different varieties depending on how picky you are. However, the variety of stores are usually located geographically near each other, probable because they don’t threaten each other’s sales. Either way, shop around for the best deals and ask the locals for tips. Usually, the other college students can tell you the best places to shop for particular things for cheap.
I’m fairly independent to begin with, so I haven’t struggled as much as some others with the course load here. As a short-term student (only 1 semester, and Autumn term) all of my lecturers provided me with a longer or another essay for my course assessment. Be prepared to write.
Also, pace yourself. Don’t procrastinate until the last minute for your essays. The only other real homework I have received for my classes is reading and being prepared to discuss and critique the material assigned. Start the research part of your papers early or the amount of reading to find papers with usable material is evil. And if you do leave it, you have no one to blame but yourself for the workload. That research reading is what everyone else means when they tell you that you’re expected to research and read on your own.
Classes: whatever you do, do NOT miss seminars. Not all of your classes will take attendance and sometimes you want to go to lecture when you’re sick. But no matter how bad you feel, it isn’t worth missing seminar. Seminar is where you get to APPLY what you’re learning. The seminars are usually much smaller and allow you to interact more with the material.
I think the most important bit of advice, especially for those of you who are close to your family and friends, is to have fun! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You get to study in another country. Stay in touch with your family and talk to them as much as you need to keep homesickness as bay, but also immerse yourself. Canterbury, England in general, has so much to offer and explore. Take advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given. Do your schoolwork, but explore when you can. You never know what friends you’ll make and what amazing places you’ll see until you try.
Like visiting the White Cliffs of Dover with the friends I made here…