Packing for a Semester Abroad in Shanghai

Feb 14, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPA_DanielleThai_Blogger_Shanghai.pngDanielle Thai is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A resource economics major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In her first post, Danielle talks about packing and how she managed to fit in everything she needs for her semester in China.


Shanghai, here I come! Oh wait… just kidding; there is a nor’easter on its way. Up to fifteen inches of snow along with powerful winds are headed my way. Fourteen hours before my flight, I get a call from the airline informing me that my flight has been canceled. After talking with the airline to reschedule, I had to get in contact with several other people to alter our plans. Instead of arriving in China on Friday, I will land on Sunday.

These two unexpected days allow me more time to get everything in order and make sure I have packed all I need. Those who know me know that I am not a light packer; if a trip is a week long, I over pack and end up packing for two-weeks. I was frequently asked, “How do you pack for three months?” and I would always shake my head and shrug because I did not even know how I was going to pack. It seemed like an impossible feat. I knew that if I packed how I normally do, I would need to check in three to four bags in addition to my carry-on. Not only is the thought ludicrous it is also impossible and unimaginable to carry all that luggage by myself through a foreign area. So I needed to come up with a game plan.

Before I moved anything into my bags, I restricted myself to using a suitcase (weighing less than fifty pounds), a carry-on piece of luggage, and a backpack. I began by gathering the essentials such as toiletries, clothes for my internship, electronics, medication, and shoes. Once I packed what I knew I could not live without, I added items I thought I would need or a few extra pieces of clothing. I did not realize how many possessions I wanted to bring that I would only use a few times so packing them would be a waste of space. The category I struggled with [which should be no surprise] was deciding on which shoes to bring. I was torn between which ones to bring and how necessary they would be. In the en,d I decided to bring a pair of sneakers, rain boots, flats, wedges, shower flip-flops, and sandals. When packing I tend to pack more because I like to have the choices.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2017_From Danielle Thai - Packing.jpg

Here is photographic proof that I somehow did manage to pack everything I needed for three months. Do not ask me how I was able to do it because I do not even know.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2017_From Danielle Thai - Packing1.jpg

In my backpack, I packed the things that I will need to be comfortable and entertained on the flight. Not only is my scarf an accessory and keeps me warm, it duels as a blanket too. I brought an extra pair of clothes in case of an emergency or accident occurs. What I am also bringing that is not pictured is my camera [I was using it to take the picture] and a folder that contains all of my important documents [it did not look aesthetically pleasing, so I did not include it].

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2017_From Danielle Thai - Packing2.jpg

I took a picture of the outfit I will be traveling in. When traveling, a person wants to be comfortable but look put together while doing so. For long flights, I recommend dressing in layers because I do not know about you but my body temperature fluctuates way too often so it is nice to have the ability to shed or add layers.

Packed and ready to go, I am ready to start my semester in Shanghai! My emotions are all over the place, but I cannot wait to see where this semester takes me and the adventures that await.

Until next time,

Thanks Danielle!

Danielle's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned!

New Call-to-action

Topics: Shanghai, China, Official Bloggers and Vloggers, Practical Study Abroad Advice