5 Things Every Trainee should have in their Suitcase
Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to your experience abroad, and already have a job lined up. Now what? It’s time to buy some plane tickets and pack your bags to go on your work experience abroad. Here are 5 things that you should pack when you decide to work overseas.
1. The right apps
Photo by Christian Wiediger
You may think that your 6-week training session on Duolingo will be enough, but when you get off an 8+ hour flight and must navigate an airport or train station? You’ll be glad to have some electronic backup.
Google has some great apps straight from the browser experience. I’m talking about Google Maps and Google Translate. Both apps offer the ability to download the specific experience you are looking for. Meaning a map of Stockholm is ready to go once you get off the plane, and you don’t have to worry about wifi or data.
Google translate also lets you download one language. This app can be a real lifesaver in a new country. With the advancement of technology, you can now speak into the app, and have it translated verbally. You can also take pictures of signs or menus and have the English right on your phone. It feels like magic!
Other apps I would suggest are any local transportation apps. Many public transit stations will have apps that show you the map of their coverage, including routes and stations. They will also often have real-time information on when the next train or bus is arriving at your station.
Although your placement may not be in a city, having the right apps can make the journey to your new home a lot easier. While it is always fun to try navigating on your own, its good to have a backup plan, especially when you just arrive.
2. Your Favourite Work Boots
Photo by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash
While it may be tempting to save precious suitcase space and buy boots when you arrive, bringing your own is always a better plan.
First of all, your old work boots are already broken in. You don’t have to worry about blisters or any discomfort, especially when trying to settle into your new work duties. It will be nice to have comfortable shoes to work in, and it will be one less thing to worry about.
Second of all, it will be nice to have something familiar once you are in a new country. While the job may be recognizable in terms of your background experience, there will always be new learnings and challenges that come from a new environment. Having something as simple as work boots from home will be comforting and help you settle into your new position smoothly.
3. Your favourite snack food
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda
As long as you don’t bring any fresh fruit or produce, you should be able to bring food across the border.
Having your favourite snack food will be a sweet comfort in an unfamiliar environment, especially if you are unfamiliar with the local cuisine. When I travel, I love trying new food, but I also look forward to having some of my favourite snacks as I unwind for the night.
Not to mention, it can be a great way to ingratiate yourself to your host family or new colleagues. Embrace your Canadian side and show your new friends some of the crazy snack food that you brought from Canada.
4. A Sturdy Day Bag
Having a great bag with lots of space will come in handy more than you expect.
Having a day bag on the ready will be useful every day. You can pack your lunch in it, for easy access, or any daily supplies you may need.
Even if you don’t use it day-to-day, it will come in handy on your days off. Having a day bag is essential for any international adventures. You will need it to store any spending money, bus tickets, water bottles, or purchases you make. Just make sure that any valuables are stored in an inside pocket, and don’t bring anything that you aren’t willing to lose.
5. A journal
Photo by Thought Catalog
Take some time every day to write down your experience of the day, what you learned, and the challenges you are facing. Journaling is an enjoyable activity to help you acclimatize to your environment, and work through any struggles you may have. I always find it helpful to record my thoughts and to write down my favourite and least favourite things of each day. It’s beneficial to reflect on your experience so that you can make sure it is successful in the long run.
That being said, you don’t have to write a journal entry for each day. You could write one every few days, every week, bi-weekly. Whatever fits your needs and schedule best. I recommend that writing more often is better because you will have a better memory of something that just happened. Also, in a new country, a few days can feel like a whole month, because of how much your brain is processing. So even having journal entries for every day at the start and slowing them down as you adjust is also a good idea.
Having a journal is also great as a keepsake from your adventure. Once you come back from your trip, you will get the dreaded questions from family, friends, and strangers. Having a written record of your journey will help you remember the important things that happened and will give some structure to your stories. Also, it will be nice to have in the future to read through yourself and reminisce about your adventure abroad.
Do you have any other suggestions for must-pack items? Leave your ideas in the comments below!