What should I pack for university?

Student packing to move house

You’re through the entire application process, you’ve been accepted, and made you’ve made your decision. You’ve got your accommodation and now it’s time to start packing. But deciding what to pack is a huge decision because let’s face it while you may want to just pack your entire room and transport it to a new city (or even country in my case!) you just can’t.

I’ve pulled together a list of things you should bring with you to make your transition from home to university more comfortable.


A lot of items on this list are going to be obvious, but hear me out! A lot of our identity revolves around how we dress and portray ourselves to the world. You’re uprooting a huge part of your life and the one thing you should still have when you move out is a tryst with yourself. So, pack clothes that make you feel the most yourself. Also, keep in mind that some places/classes might have certain clothing restrictions. Remember not to overload your suitcase with just clothing. Your clothes will be one of the hardest things to pack but try not to overpack, take things you know you’ll wear.


For some, food might simply be something you cook and eat without it having to mean anything but for a large number of people, food is a form of love language, a sense of familiarity with a pinch of nostalgia. Try to bring some snacks and dry food like ramen packets or instant noodles for at least the first few days. The first week or so will be the hardest and without some comfort food by your side, you might struggle with homesickness. Speaking of food, do remember to bring some cutlery with you. If you’re going to accommodation where you’ll need to cook your own food, remember to pack kitchenware or order it online once you reach your accommodation.

For your room

You’ll want to make your new home feel as homely as possible. For different people home means and represents different things. However, one way to feel closer to home is by decorating your room and maintaining a certain aesthetic that’s personal to you. You could take some like fairy lights, posters or postcards or maybe you prefer wall hanging and artwork. If you’re someone who absolutely can’t live without music, Bluetooth speakers should be on your list. If you like plants, don’t take your plant babies with you. Why not buy some whilst you’re there instead?

Documents and electronics

I can’t stress enough how important it is to carry all your documents and have them ready and organised in the order they’ll be needed. It honestly makes orientation a breeze for both you and the volunteers. It’s preferable if you come to university prepared with your laptop or tablet rather than buying one once you’ve reached your accommodation. Trust me, you’ll need them on the first day of your classes, evening if you end up telling yourself you won’t. Bonus point if you have your notebooks and stationery in place as well but you could definitely buy those once you’re on campus.

Toiletries and skincare

Just because you’re moving to a new place doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritise self-love and skincare. You’ll need your toiletries immediately. So, make sure you don’t forget to carry the basics with you e.g. shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Take your skincare products with you as well e.g. suncream, serums, scrubs, etc.

You may need to shop for some things when you reach your accommodation, including things like duvets or duvet covers, pillowcases, etc. Once you’ve arrived at your accommodation and scoped out your room, you’ll have a better idea of anything you’re missing.

Surabhi Sanghi is a SOAS Digital Ambassador, pursuing a master’s degree in South Asian Studies and Intensive Language (which also means she gets to be in London for one whole extra year). She has a background in history and is interested in the religions of South Asia. She is a dog person and her only wish is to be able to pet all the dogs in London. 

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