Preparing to leave for UBC…

By Sophie Black (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).

Since my final second year exam, time has absolutely flown by. With so many warnings about the expense of studying abroad, I have spent much of my time working to earn as much money as possible. Usually I’m pretty organised, yet with only a few days to go, I seem to have an ever-growing list of things to do!

Keep in Contact

I’m not ashamed to admit I am a homebird, hence the thought of spending so much time away from home is pretty scary. I do have a few relatives in Vancouver who I have been in contact with over the past few months who assure me there will be home-cooked meals on offer (phew!). I would definitely recommend getting in touch with any relatives or contacts in the area before you leave, just to gain some much needed reassurance and support!


Tips for packing your life into two (pretty small) suitcases

  1. I started a packing list two weeks prior to departure, and referred back to it when additions needed to be made. If begun early enough, its definitely a great way to be sure you are taking everything you need. I have only two suitcases to pack all of my belongings in – a significant challenge!
  2. Roll your clothes instead of folding. In my experience, you fit so much more in! Leave thicker jumpers for the top, and pack everything in really tightly.
  3. Write your name/address/flight number on an A4 page and place it on the top of everything inside your case. It just gives you a little more comfort in knowing if it gets lost it will eventually find its way back to you.
  4. Bed covers…pillows….duvets….don’t bother trying to fit them in – too bulky. Far easier to just hunt down some inexpensive ones when you arrive!
  5. Don’t forget to include a few photos and things to put up onto your walls, just to make your room feel a bit more homely when you arrive!
Suitcase, please don’t get lost!


I have opted for a Travelex ‘cash passport‘ to take with me, as it seemed like the easiest and quickest option. You can order it all online, the terms and conditions/charges are really clear, plus it’s simply a relief to know I’m going out to Canada with it all already sorted. The only catch is the conversion rate they set themselves, yet for the sake of saving any hassle once arriving in Canada and having to organise transferring money over to a bank account, I thought it was worth the £50 or so I lost. I’ve also exchanged some sterling to Canadian dollars to take some out with me so taxi’s from the airport and initial expenses can be paid for. I shall report back in later posts on how successful the above were!

Only a few days to go now, doesn’t quite feel real yet…

Thanks for reading,

Sophie 🙂

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