Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Happy weekend dear reader! I hope the weather is lovely wherever you are.
So this is it. You've poured your heart out in the application process, navigated your way through interviews, and have landed a coveted place at a UWC!!! Congratulations!!! 🥳 This is no doubt a great feat and I hope you're excited to begin what will likely be one of the craziest adventures of your life.
As promised, I've put together a packing list for incoming firsties along with some personal notes and advice. It can be very exciting as well as a little overwhelming to be moving away from home for the first time so I've tailored this guide for our newest generation of Pearsonites. It is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
Here's what you should know before shopping for new items:
At Pearson, all students are given access to the Chic Boutique- our small version of a second-hand shop filled with items donated by past Pearson students. While the Chic Boutique will not be enough to supply your full wardrobe, it is a very good place to get stationary such as notebooks, paper, pencils, binders, folders etc., gumboots, and winter jackets. There are fewer shirts and long pants (which are much harder to find in your size), so be sure you have enough basic clothes for what's typically autumn weather for most of the year.
2. Similarly, LeDep is the student store where you can purchase snacks, basic toiletries, notebooks, and receive feminine hygiene products free of charge. Usually, we're able to go to town for these things too; however, with Covid, shopping is limited to one Walmart order per month (for now! 🤞🏻)
3. What someone else considers "essential" might not be necessary for you. The best way to pack for any UWC is to reflect on YOUR interests, hobbies, comfort, and needs. I, for one, love to kayak and spend a lot of time camping outdoors, so swimsuits, quick-dry sport shorts, hiking pants, and warm fuzzy socks for chilly nights are a must. However, if you are more of an indoor person and only plan on going for the occasional short hike, it might be best to ditch the outdoor gear and hiking pants (these may also be borrowed from the camp shed). After all, suitcase space is precious and any extra weight can always be filled with snacks :)
Okay, with that being said, here we go! For your reference, I've colour-coded optional items and *starred a few of the must-haves I find the most helpful at Pearson :)
In addition to the staple shirts, pants, and undergarments...
Socks. A lot of socks.
Formal wear for events, dinners, parties etc.
PJs/comfy clothes (sweatpants, soft shirts, etc.)
Sweaters & hoodies (you'll likely need a sweater/light jacket for most of the year!)
1 warm jacket (I have a two-in-one jacket with a removable layer. Not necessary, of course, but very very convenient if you already have one. Warm winter jackets are also available at the Chic Boutique)
Reusable masks (Ah, Covid)
Warm socks + one set of thermals (if you plan to camp often. Even then, not completely necessary)
1 DryFit or non-cotton shirt (optional but great for paddle sports)
1 non-cotton sweater for hiking/action weeks (optional, see above)
1 pair of hiking pants (optional)
Rain jacket (optional but if you have one, bring it)
*Mesh laundry bags (a lifesaver!!! I swear the laundry machine eats stray socks)
*Bath robe (totally up to personal preference, but I feel so much more comfortable having one!)
Day pack for short hikes & trips to the city
Reusable water bottle
Hiking backpack (optional- may be borrowed from the camp shed. I love having one of my own and use it all the time for overnight trips. Consider using it as your carry-on backpack to save luggage space!)
Hiking shoes/boots (you can get away with a good pair of runners for most hikes but they will get wet, muddy, and destroyed. Bring hiking shoes if you have OR an extra pair of comfortable running shoes you don't mind getting dirty)
Sun Cap + Winter Hat, gloves/mittens
Small bug spray + AFTERBITE
*Headlamp! (It's very convenient to go hands-free when it gets dark out)
Academics & Electronics:
Ti-84 graphing calculator (scholarship students may be able to borrow one from the school, however, there is a limited supply and priority will go to those who absolutely cannot afford it. Solution: bring your own if you can!)
Laptop + charger
Mac adaptors/HDMI adaptors for presentations (and movies :)))
Tote bag or backpack to carry books/laptop to class
Plug adaptors for North American outlets
Select stationary (a couple high-quality pens, some nice paper to write letters, sticky notes, ruler, scissors, sharpies) --> write your name on EVERYTHING
Food & snacks from home!!!
Your country's flag
Camera (highly recommend if you're interested in photography!)
Personal first-aid kit (just the basic Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, etc.)
Mini sewing kit & safety pins (optional)
Small utensils set (DON'T STEAL FROM THE CAF)
Pictures/posters to decorate your room + TAPE/sticky tack to put them up (I'm lucky enough to have some very artistic friends so I asked them to create an art piece to take to UWC with me- it's a beautiful and meaningful reminder to have with me!)
Art supplies (optional)
1-2 tupperware containers (the school provides you with one, but nice to have extras for leftovers from regional bondings 😋)
A mug and/or thermos for hot beverages
Postcards + stickers from home (I like the idea of writing birthday cards on postcards for a special touch!)
Twin-sized bedding (optional- in fact, I suggest bringing only a light throw blanket to personalize your space if anything at all. The school provides you with 1 fitted sheet, a fleece blanket, 1 pillowcase, and 1 zonta knitted blanket. You may want to purchase nicer sheets etc. but that can be done when you get here)
Coins in your country's currency (many people like to collect them)
Shower caddy/waterproof mesh bag for toiletries/soaps (the school provides each student with one small bin for toiletries. If you'd rather hang up your shampoos/soaps in the shower rather than leaving them on the floor, this is a great option!)
*Food from home!!! Snacks! Teas! Candy! Instant meals! EVERYTHING
A note on toiletries: ladies, be sure to bring the hygiene products you need for at least the first two weeks. You can definitely find pads/tampons on campus but you'll spare yourself some panic from having to go search while everyone's still unpacking.
What you DON'T need to bring:
Paper, notebooks, etc. (unless you have a strong preference, these items are available at the Chic Boutique or LeDep)
A sleeping bag (from someone who camps a fair amount- I brought my own sleeping bag only to bring it back home at the end of the year. Pearson just bought +80 brand new sleeping bags and mats which can be borrowed from the camp shed)
A laundry hamper (we're each given a laundry bin!)
Detergent (some houses have communal detergent, but you can always buy tide pods when you get here!)
Some final thoughts...
To help you pack, consider reusable vacuum-sealed bags. They save so much space and it'll help you pack your things for the trip home as well!
Remember, any fluids +100mL must go in your check-in luggage, not your carry-on!
Don't underestimate things you love about home. If you've always found comfort in a certain item (whether it be a toy/pillow/something you think you should have probably outgrown at this point 😆) there's no shame in bringing it along :) You'll thank yourself later when you're looking for a little piece of home.
Well there you have it. Everything I know about packing for Pearson College UWC! As always, don't hesitate to reach out with any questions (I don't seem to be notified by the comments section anymore so you're more likely to get a quick response via ig or email). Hope this helps!
Until next time,