4 Essential Items to Pack for Study Abroad in Spain

Elizabeth Armbrecht is a student at Missouri State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Granada, Spain.

For an over-packer like me, packing for a weekend away is difficult. Packing for a week vacation is a trial. And packing for a three month long stay in another country? Impossible! Navigating the numerous packing lists you’re given before your departure date can be tricky especially since they’re general for all students going abroad, not those who are going to your specific city, which in my case is Granada. So that you fare better than me, here are four things to make sure to bring:

  1. Water bottle. Bring it, love it, and carry it with you always. The steep steps of the city and the hilly landscape of the country
    A typical water fountain in Granada.
    A typical water fountain in Granada.

    will make getting anywhere in the area rigorous exercise. There are numerous water fountains around the city but it seems like whenever you’re the thirstiest, there’s none to be found.

  2. Dressy clothes. Fashion is a BIG deal here in Granada. And even if you’re not so into that scene, there is a certain caliber here that you’re kind of expected to meet. Most packing lists suggest “one dressy outfit for formal events” but I would suggest multiple. People like to dress up for going out at night, even if it’s for a low-key evening at a tetería.
  3. A smaller backpack. Most people in my group arrived in Granada with one suitcase and one large backpack but some of the cleverer ones brought along a second, smaller backpack and that has been an immense help to them in this trip. Granada is situated in the mountains and a lot of activities involve day hikes into the hilly countryside which don’t call for a big bag, but my little over-the-shoulder purse doesn’t quite do the trick. What with the sharp increase/decrease in temperature and the need for water, having something medium sized to carry sweaters and water bottles in a must!
  4. Tennis shoes. This is the number one thing I regret deciding not to bring on this trip. As I’ve mentioned twice now, Granada was made for walking
    Hiking, Granada, Spain - Armbrecht - Photo 2
    My friend and I got lost in the city, which resulted in one of our greatest mountain adventures yet!

    and you will get exercise doing anything around the city, even just walking to class. I only brought my Converse sneakers with me and I’ve been wishing for real running or walking shoes since I arrived. Also, there are lots of opportunities to play sports here and doing that in Converse–or flip flops– is not fun.

Trying to fit three month’s worth of your life into one suitcase is challenging, but hopefully this guide will narrow down the list of infinite items you could possibly bring. Lots of things that your school or ISA recommends are great suggestions but also generalized to fit students studying abroad in other places. This will hopefully give you a more concrete idea on what is absolutely necessary to have!

Want to read more about Granada? Check out “3 Questions to Ask Before Studying Abroad”