By Kiersten B., Auxiliar de Conversación in Murcia 2019/2020
So you’re getting ready to move to Spain, and you are trying to pack your whole life into a suitcase or two or five. Along with packing your shirts, pants, underwear, favorite things, and your lucky hat, mixed in between your socks, you are probably packing your excitement as well.
Packing for a regular vacation or trip can be stressful, but this time, you’re packing for more than a few weeks; you are packing for several months and it can be particularly stressful if you’ve never been to Spain.
What Exactly you Should Bring
Your mind is probably racing trying to decide what exactly you should bring. So here is some advice from someone who has experienced the same stress and painful decision-making process that you are going through now. I have some good news for you; you don’t need to bring everything you own. Of course, you can bring your essentials such as your laptop, cellphone, and cameras. However, there are many items you will find here in Spain. Madrid and Murcia are two major cities with tons of clothing stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, which are pretty easy to access, whether you are placed in a major city or small town.
With this being said, there is a golden rule to remember when packing: pack light. Take what you know you will need and take what you know you will miss. If you are wondering what exactly those things are, here is a list of things to bring because they may be difficult to find here in Spain.
Here is the ultimate packing list of things you’ll want to bring to your new life. This list includes everything from practical devices to things that will help when you start to feel homesick from time to time.
The Ultimate Packing List for Spain
1. Peanut Butter. For some reason, many people are not a fan of this delicious treat, so if you can, bring along a jar or two or five. Nothing beats coming home after your first day at school and celebrating with a nice PB and J sandwich or, at times, when you want a taste of home, peanut butter will do the trick.
2. Copies of every document. If you’ve already gone through your visa process, you know the importance of having copies of almost every document from your passport, to your Acceptance Letter, etc. If you happen to find a portable printer, I would bring that too, but if not, make sure you bring at least three copies of your passport, the Acceptance Letter, and application forms. This will not only save you time, but a handful of stress.
3. Favorite hair products. This is especially important if you are placed in the southern region of Spain, where it’s more humid in the summer months. If you use any special cremes or oils, it may be hard to find them here in Spain, so it’s best to bring them with you. The same applies for any special shampoos or conditioners you might use.
4. Outlet converters. These are important for anyone coming from a non-European or Asian country. In Spain, there are only two-prong outlets. You will not be able to connect your devices, or recharge your phone without a converter.
5. Portable charger. When you first arrive in Spain, you will marvel at the wonderful architecture and you’ll probably be taking pictures of every street corner, every glass of time, relying on Google Maps to help you get around and, before you know it, your battery will be drained. So do yourself a favor; bring a backup so you can take advantage of every Instagram moment.
6. Your favorite spices. You are going to be tempted to eat out every day with Spain’s great assortment or tapas and wine. However, after the first month, you’ll probably want to be more cautious of your spending and spend less time eating out and more time cooking. With this being said, you’ll want to bring your favorite spices to help add a flavor of home to your meals.
7. Photos and trinkets from home. If this is your first year or even your fifth year abroad, you are bound to get homesick from time to time. To help Spain feel more like home, bring photos or small trinkets to put in your new room: things like a special blanket, a poster from home or any small artifact you can put into your suitcase.
8. Clothing for all seasons. During your eight months in Spain, you will experience sunny and hot summers, chilly autumns, cold winters, and pleasant springs. So it’s a good idea to bring a variety of clothes from jackets to shorts, from t-shirts to long-sleeve shirts and pants. Also, the dress code for many schools is usually pretty simple. Jeans and a nice shirt are acceptable for most schools.
9. Comfortable walking shoes. Many cities in Spain are walkable cities. You can get across them by walking, biking, or using the metro or bus system. Moreover, since most auxiliaries don’t purchase a car during their stay, it’s a good idea to not just bring tennis shoes, but shoes that you are comfortable walking in for hours.
10. Your patience. Being in a new country brings many adventures and many challenges. The systems you are used to, such as driving anywhere you want, 24-hour stores, and fast customer service are not readily available in Spain, and there is nothing wrong with this. It’s just a different culture.
There is less of a sense of urgency and more of a sense of relaxation and confidence knowing that the job will get done, but not at lightning speed. So when you are packing your things, make sure that you leave room for your patience. You will be waiting for the bus, waiting in line for appointments, maybe even getting lost, but remember that it’s all a part of the journey and there are people to support you.
This concludes your ultimate packing list. Follow this list and your transition will be a little easier.