13 July, 2011

Hamlet Might Have Said As He Headed To Wittenberg, 'To Pack or Not to Pack?'

As August approaches and the number of days until your departure becomes more and more surreal, the ICLC staff are busily getting ready to welcome Group 79.  New carpets are being put in (we don't do that for just any group! Perhaps for a forthcoming group we will put in a new boiler! Or a kitten!), tickets are being ordered, mass emails and quizzes are being sent out.

On a side note, has anyone out there ever heard the phrase, "If Jamie Oliver (or anyone else) saw that, he would have kittens!" as a way of saying that person will have a tantrum?  Is that a British-ism? 
Jack Hrkach- Captain of packing lightly

We've touched on some of the major points of getting ready to come over- money, housing, football solidarity- and one major one still lies ahead: Packing.  For everyone but those with the most special personalities, this is a dreaded job.  There's the weather to consider (don't forget your winter coat, even though London winters aren't much like Ithaca winters, we have had some snow the last few years.  Last year's even made the news!), activities (will you be going on many walking tours, will you need to dress smartly for your work placement?) and airline luggage allowances to name a few.

Here are a few key things to remember when packing:
1. You are coming for 4 months, not forever.
2. If your luggage is too heavy for you to carry on your own, you have too much stuff and need to take things out of your bag.
3. If you bring enough clothing so that you can be fully dressed for 2 weeks, you're doing fine.  Don't weigh down your bags with enough clothing never to have to do laundry.
4. You will accumulate things to bring back by December.  Leave room in your bags for them.
5. The UK has loads of toiletries.  Many are the same at those sold in the USA.  And if they don't have what you like, be brave and consider it a cultural experience.
6. What is your airline's luggage limit?  You don't need to pay extra- that's a sign that you have overpacked

Having done a quick reread, I apologize for sounding a bit pedantic.  This is all common sense.  But it's also easy to ignore.  Perhaps there is one thing that you can't live without, but remember to be practical about it.  If it's your duvet you may want to tough it out with a British one for a few months.  If it's your Arsenal jersey, bring it by all means!
No joke, Drew really is attached to his kilt!

What are some important things to bring?  A converter plug for your computer is good, no need for many other electricals.  Good walking shoes hardly ever go amiss.  You're here to immerse yourself in British life and culture!  It will be ok to leave some of the USA behind for a few months!

-Claire

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