What to Pack for to Work in Europe

When you pack your bags keep in mind that you will be setting up house in a foreign country.

Not only do you need to pack clothes for four seasons, you also need to include items that you normally might take for granted. Certain essentials aren’t readily available in Eastern Europe. Some of the things that you are used to at home will only have approximate equivalents abroad. You will likely find yourself wishing you had had the foresight to take a more careful inventory prior to your departure.

Make sure to bring a sufficient stock of personal necessities, especially items like birth control, contact lens solutions, tampons, and anti-perspirant or deodorant (not in heavy use in Eastern Europe). Bring a copy of your lens prescription in case you lose or damage your glasses or contacts. Also bring plenty of any medication you require, and have your doctor write out your prescription in generic terms so that a pharmacist in Eastern Europe can identify your medication should you require another prescription.

Other items to consider are those that can help make the transition easier. Photos of family and friends will not only make you feel more at home, they will assist you in breaking the ice with your newfound acquaintances abroad. There is something about a funny picture of your friends or family, especially if it includes you, that almost instantly induces laughter, endearing you to other folks, despite formidable language barriers. Small souvenirs from back home make great gifts for your new friends. Also think about bringing along materials that will assist you in the classroom.

Picture books, maps, children’s stories and sing-along tapes all can help you entertain and educate at the same time.

If you are staying longer than six months, you might want to consider sending yourself a box of clothes to replenish your wardrobe. Winters in Eastern Europe can be blustery and bitter cold, while summers range from warm and pleasantly sunny to downright hot. You will need enough clothing to cover the range. Unless money is of little concern, sending a larger package air mail would be prohibitively expensive. You might as well buy new clothes abroad. But if you send packages via surface mail, and don’t mind them taking a long time (around three months), you won’t be set back nearly as much. You can also arrange for friends to send you occasional packets of teaching materials, such as current magazines and newspaper clippings. Though there is a fair amount of English-language reading material available in the larger cities of Eastern Europe, you might soon tire of the often limited selection.

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