Congratulations! You’ve made the bold and rewarding choice to teach abroad. After the excitement settles and the reality starts to set in, you might experience a bit of panic: what the heck do you pack when you’re moving to a foreign country for only a year??

Unfortunately, you can’t take your entire closet(s) with you. And some of the small luxuries we enjoy in the western world may not be so easy to obtain depending on where you’re teaching. But by packing smart and appropriately for the area you’ll be teaching and living in, you’ll be setting yourself up for a truly impactful year.

The All-Clear

A guide appearing on teaching abroad recruiter’s Reach To Teach site says, “Stock up on medications, contact lenses, and anything else requiring a prescription. Get yourself in good physical form: you’re going on an adventure.”

So go ahead, check in with your doctor. You’ll need all documented prescriptions in order to get through customs and to ensure you can keep your medications. Once you have the all-clear, and the documented medicine necessary, you can really start getting excited.

The Essentials

Other than the medical records and prescriptions tied to the mentions above, there’s quite a long list of essentials that you’ll need while abroad. Extra copies of passport photos, multiple forms of ID, and a few different types of currency appropriate to your teaching location will be very useful. You’ll also need the power sources attached to the laptops or gear you’ll be taking to ensure you’re never truly off the grid, and to provide a means of communication to make sure you don’t get too homesick.

Travel apps and a library of books for your kindle aren’t a bad idea either.

The Layers

This logic applies to both men and women. Layers are your friend. A trustworthy forecast can only prepare you so much for the climate you’ll be living in. You’ll have only a tiny amount of space to pack your favorite clothes, so make sure they are multi-functional and matching in order to get the most out of their wear.

When it comes to teaching in your classroom, make sure your work attire is appropriate but comfortable. The right shoes are also an absolute must. Packing multi-functional items for teaching, exploring, and enjoying will give you freedom to do what you want and feel good too.

The Tokens

Let’s face it, you’ll probably be stressing over the clothes, medical records, and school supplies you need to pack for months before you leave. But the things you may not think of right away may end up being the things you wish you had the most.

Whether it’s a picture of your family, your favorite tv show on DVD, or a piece of jewelry from a loved one, you’ll be glad you brought a piece of home with you while you’re on the road.

No matter where you’re going, be sure to do your research. You’re in for a year full of new places and new faces, but if you’re prepared, it will be a year you won’t soon forget.