Cover image by Kindel Media from pexels.com.
It is August! This means that you guys will be here soon! Some of you have been asking us about what to bring and pack in your suitcases. I know you guys are thinking about the limited space and what the most necessary items are. So I have put together a list of the items that I think you’ll need the most when coming to KI right now.
1.) Decide whether buying clothes is for you or not
Before you even begin packing sit down and think. Do you want to buy new clothes when you come to Sweden? Or do you want to save money on clothes and wear what you already have? This might be possible for the one-year Master’s programmes. But even then, you might have to buy one or two things. Also, consider the Swedish climate. If you come from a warm country you will have to buy winter clothes. Also, if you come from a country where it gets down to around 10°C you will need better winter jackets, as well as shoes, gloves, scarves, beanies etc.
NB: From what I recall you are allowed 50 pounds (23 kg) per checked-in luggage. Carry-ons differ by airline.
2.) Consider the number of bags that you can bring
If you are flying with Delta, or KLM from the Americas you will get one carry-on, one checked-in luggage and a personal item. I say pay the extra $100 for another suitcase and make that two checked-in luggage so you have more room for stuff. Remember you are not only moving houses, you are moving countries. If you decide to stick to one suitcase, do not fear, my advice still applies to you.
NB: Those vacuum bags from Walmart, Target, Amazon or any home store in your country will be your best friends on this trip. Especially if you plan to bring everything with you.
Okay, let’s get to packing!
3.) What to pack first
Clothes for class should be your priority. This is where you will spend the majority of your time. When you guys get here it will still be warm, so your regular T-shirts, light blouses, shorts etc. will work well for you for about 3 weeks. Then it will be Autumn and you will need a light jacket to layer on those clothes or just longer clothes if the cold is not your thing. This should take up 3/4 of your largest suitcase.
Then you need just regular clothes for hanging out. For me, this was one and the same. What I wore to school was also what I’d wear to go shopping, or to cafes with friends on a regular basis. However, I know some people prefer to be a bit more stylish outside of class. These sorts of clothes I’d recommend bringing enough of these for a week and then buying more. But if you prefer to save then a week’s worth should be good if you can mix and match.
You need socks and you need underwear. Socks are like $10 for 6 pairs in H&M and other stores here so you can always buy more. But make sure you bring any essentials that are comfortable or unique to you that you cannot live without. Put them into packing cubes and they will only take up a small section of your luggage.
5.) Loungewear and Pyjamas
I don’t know about you guys but I spent the second majority of time in my room studying. I am big into comfy clothes for home. So on the days that we had Zoom lectures, I was in loungewear. Also, you need pj’s to sleep in. It isn’t something that you can forego packing.
If you are planning to buy these things here, then I recommend packing 1 item of clothing to sleep in that you can wear for a few days until you get to the mall. Jetlag will keep you back from doing this the day that you land.
5.) Skincare and haircare
This is super important for people who follow a 10-step skincare routine etc. There is a Sephora here, plus local stores like Kicks, Apoteket and some online sites like Pricerunner which tells you where you can find your products. However, if there is something you have that is unique to you or shampoo that you love that you can only find where you are from make sure to bring a couple of bottles. You won’t immediately go and get skincare and haircare stuff when you land so consider packing them with you until you find your way around here, or find an alternative in one of the stores. Also, pack a manicure set, I could not find a proper one here.
NB: Advice from some curly-haired girls- there are basic items that you can use for your routine like shampoo and conditioner but try to bring any hair masks and stuff that you may need.
6.) Formal and stylish clothes
When you first get to Stockholm you will want to hang out with your classmates. Probably go to a couple of parties or explore the nightlife. When events pop up later down in the year with a dress code you can 100% buy the clothes for those. However, it is good to pack a dress or a really nice shirt that you can go to events with. If you have space I recommend at least two of these. I also recommend something formal. Like a formal shirt, or jacket. There are seminars that you can volunteer for in Sweden and also people dress formally to present their thesis so it will be useful for then.
NB: Some of my classmates brought their graduation outfits with them one time. I asked my mum to bring mines over but maybe this is something you’d like to consider.
Shoes are a hassle for me. So this was one thing I tried to avoid buying here. I wore my boots to come to Sweden because it was the heaviest pair of shoes I had. Then I packed my sneakers, sandals and heels separately. They do take up a ton of space which is why I recommend that second luggage. Also, I was not able to pack my hiking shoes so I had to buy those here.
6.) Autumn clothes
This depends on you. But autumn for me means warm sweaters instead of summer clothes with a jacket on top. This fell into the first category for me “clothes for class” because we spend the entirety of Autumn in a class. Also, it took up the most space in my luggage since it was for class. So I recommend that you pack your comfy pants and sweaters because Autumn begins in September.
NB: Thicker clothes like these are where vacuum bags come in handy. My sweaters weren’t heavy but they took up too much space. So I was happy to compress them.
7.) Winter clothes
If you are from a warm country, then I recommend that you buy them here. It will save you a ton of space and there are cheap options too. If you are bringing them then I suggest bringing everything in two. Two jackets, two scarves, two pairs of gloves and of course your snow boots. Seriously consider bringing that second luggage if you will be bringing winter clothes and using vacuum bags.
8.) Extra things
If you have space bring the stuff you know you will need. Running clothes, hiking clothes, skiing clothes and apparel. Also, things to decorate your dorm. I recommend Ikea for getting all of your necessities, but feel free to bring that decorative bowl of stones you’ve had since you were 7. Anything to make yourself feel at home.
Also snacks. I knew that Chips Ahoy and Graham crackers weren’t a thing here so I brought some of those with me. I also packed a few ingredients like pumpkin spice and pumpkin filling to make pies for Autumn, but that was just for me.
NB: What you might not need is a backpack since KI gives you one in your first week.
So this is my list and here is what I recommend:
Suitcase 1: The clothes suitcase. Pack 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of slacks (or chinos or short pants your preference), 2 pairs of sweatpants and 8 tops to coordinate for summer. Or make it 6 tops and 2 dresses. Pack 8 sweaters for Autumn, plus a light jacket, 1 scarf and 1 pair of gloves. Put in your pyjamas, which I assume will be 7 pairs. 2 soft pants and shirts for loungewear. Your toiletries which are all of your skincare, shampoo, conditioner and haircare. Also your underwear and socks. I would throw in 3 basic T-shirts or tank tops to wear under your clothing as layers if you don’t plan to buy them here. Also, throw in your jewellery and put your stylish clothes and formal clothes as well.
Suitcase 2: We will call this the heavy-duty suitcase. I recommend packing your sneakers, sandals, running shoes, heels/loafers, bedroom slippers, winter jackets, snow boots and any canned foods in this suitcase. Out your handbags or gym bags and laptop case here too. Pack your decorative items in here but also wrap any breakables in your carry-on. Also, all of your sports things should go in here as well as any large boxes. If you bring stuff like a bedsheet and pillowcases for your dorm (which I recommend buying in Sweden) it should also go into this box.
Carry-on luggage: I would put all of my breakable stuff in here, as well as one suit of clothes just in case the luggage gets lost or delayed. I’d also pack the snacks in here so they do not get crushed, and if you have a lot of electronics like your laptop to bring I’d store them in here too.
Backpack: I brought a backpack as my personal item since it held the most stuff. Here I packed an extra meal and snacks, brought my thermos to fill with water, my iPad, my pencil case because my stationery is the best, and all my travel essentials for the 26 hours I spent flying from SAV to JFK to ARL.
So that’s it. I did not have to ship anything because everything fit into my luggage and my mum brought any extra stuff I needed for graduation as well as an extra luggage to take extra stuff I had accumulated here back with us. Good luck! And I hope that this guide helps.
Hi, my name is Zaynab and I am from Trinidad and Tobago, a country in the Caribbean. I am currently studying a Master’s in Global Health here at KI and am a blogger for the DA team. I look forward to sharing my experiences at KI and I also hope to expose students from the Caribbean to university life here in Sweden.