Study Abroad in South Africa with Arcadia University

Ready to Go to South Africa
Packing Advice

As a supplement to our "official packing list," we asked Spring 2011 program participants in South Africa about what they packed for their semester. Remember, the seasons are opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. Here's what they said:

What I Wish/Am Glad I Brought:

  • "Sheets, dvd's, more t-shirts."
  • "Bring your favorite pieces of clothing, that's what you will stick to most of the time. The weather changes on an hourly basis, so pack for all types of weather and temperatures. If there are products (like hair products or toiletries) that you really like, bring them with you!"
  • "Sweater/Jackets! (It can get really cold!)"
  • "My camera."
  • "I wish I had brought my own planner from home."
  • "My laptop speakers."
  • "Tank tops and comfortable shirts. Also, people go out here - bring good clothes."
  • "I'm mostly really happy that I packed a lot (even though I know this isn't normally advised). Cape Town is such a fashionable place! I was happy I had lots of options. Everything I brought I pretty much have worn!"
  • "SLIPPERS! The hardwood floors get cold at night!"
  • "BATHING SUITS! Swimsuits are so expensive in Cape Town."
  • "MULTIPLE STICKS OF DEODORANT - this too is really expensive and hard to find here. They've only got spray-on or the roll-on type."
  • "SWEATERS/FLEECE. I brought a few cardigans. But it's cozy to have something to warm up in at night."
  • "A rain jacket. Also I'm glad I packed clothes for when it is cold, but also clothes for when it is 100 degrees, such a wide range of temperatures in one day."
  • "Bug spray and a shoulder bag for school, not a backpack. It's very easy to spot the Americans because of the backpacks."
  • "More clothing for cold nights and layers. I was so excited to come to a warm place that I think I was in denial about it getting cooler."

What I Wish I Had Left at Home:

  • "Too many pairs of pants, any food item (they basically have some version of everything here)."
  • "If you dont wear it at home, you wont wear it here."
  • "I wish I didn't buy a lot of tank tops and simple tees back home because they are really cheap here."
  • "I wish I hadn't brought so many toiletries because they are super cheap here and still have name-brand products and could have packed other things instead."
  • "I wish I hadn't brought any sandals from back home because they have so many sandals here that are stylish and very inexpensive."
  • "I would NOT bring fleece boots. Maybe another pair or two of cute sandals. Closed-toe shoes are good because it will get cooler; but the semester is already halfway over and I haven't used mine!"
  • "Definitely don't bring more clothes than you will need. If you don't wear it at home, you are not going to wear it in Cape Town. But on that same note, bring a variety of clothes. You get sick of wearing the same thing over and over and over again."