Learn how to prepare for your year abroad with Spring 2022 student Mackenzie Messineo.

***This is an example of a student’s experience from Spring 2022. Specific programming and activities are

subject to change semester by semester.

Hello students, my name is Mackenzie Messineo. I just finished my year abroad in London and Florence with Verto. One of my main concerns before leaving was what to bring. It was my first time leaving home, so I didn’t know what was a necessity and what was okay to leave behind. I hope to help future Vertoans  feel prepared for their semester abroad!

I think the most important items to pack are clothing! It’s important to note that the weather at your Verto experience can be completely different from what you’ve been used to your whole life! For the Fall semester, we are just transitioning out of summer. Due to transitioning weather, you should pack a variety for certain locations like Europe. When I first got to London, it was still beautiful and warm but by the time I left, it was winter. I feel the best solution for clothing was to bring items you can layer with. For earlier in the semester, you can have a lighter wardrobe but towards the end of the semester, you can add jackets or cardigans to shirts you wore in the beginning. For shoes, I can’t emphasize enough how necessary it is to have comfortable walking shoes. For example, Florence is a major walking city. There’s no public transportation going through the historical center; you have to walk everywhere! You will be so incredibly thankful for comfortable shoes after a long day of walking.

Besides clothing, there are a few final items you can add. First, I highly recommend you don’t bring your heated hair products. In Europe, the electricity voltage is too strong for your US cord. Even with a converter, it is dangerous to use heat on your hair. In London, I purchased a blow dryer, which can be affordable and worth the investment for the semester. Next, I recommend bringing a few photos or sentimental items from home. Bringing these can honestly help the adjustment. For example, I brought a blanket that reminded me of my room at home. It felt like I had a piece of my old room in my new room.

It can be overwhelming trying to pack your life up to move abroad. It is important to bring anything that can help the adjustment and moving process. As much as I would’ve loved to bring everything, I couldn’t. Packing is all about balance. If you forget something at home that’s okay too! You can buy most things in your new city as well as go thrifting! One thing I loved doing abroad was exploring the new stores! If you’re in a European semester, I recommend Primark!