10 essential tips for packing when going to study in Switzerland

You’ve been accepted to Glion. Congratulations! You have quite the adventure ahead of you in Switzerland, but first thing’s first: time to pack. There are few things more daunting than packing up your life and moving across the world, yet with 96 nationalities represented on campus, that’s exactly what most students must do at Glion. I arrived at Glion from the east coast of the United States in the summer of 2018. After multiple transatlantic flights between JFK and Geneva Airport this past year, I’d like to offer some advice on the essential things to bring to Switzerland, and what is better left at home.

Here’s my list of 10 essential packing tips for your adventure in Switzerland:

  • Reliable rain jacket: The weather in Switzerland can change in the blink of an eye. I’ve learned to never place my trust in the weather reports, as a sunny, blue-sky morning can often turn into a torrential downpour by noon. Perhaps we have Switzerland’s mountains to thank. Therefore, bringing a decent raincoat is essential.
  • Toiletries: Pack as many toiletries as you can. This includes shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste—everything you need for your morning routine. Firstly, it saves you the trouble of having to venture into town to find these things upon your arrival when you’re tired from your long journey to Glion. Secondly, purchasing these items regularly will get expensive. 
  • Hiking shoes: Whether it’s the real thing or a sturdy sneaker, you’ll want a good all-terrain shoe for when you venture outdoors in Switzerland. Switzerland contains some of the best hikes in the world, from the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Kandersteg to Zermatt and Verbier. If you want to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, this tip is a must.
  • Outlet converter: If you’re coming from afar, odds are your electronics require a different outlet socket than Switzerland’s. Buy a good universal converter from the airport before you leave for Glion. Perhaps buy a spare as well, because let’s be honest, you’re bound to lose it at some point.
  • A good book (or two): For the rare days you have time on your hands, be it on a train ride to a different city or a lazy Sunday, why not spend it reading a good book? Bring one or two from home, as you may not find one in your native language in Switzerland. Perhaps you’d like to read industry-related books to get you in the hospitality mindset? If so, I recommend Setting the Table by Danny Meyer.
  • Professional flats: This one is for the girls. While a pair of heels may be necessary for special events or company visits, make sure to bring a sleek pair of flat shoes as well. I entered Glion thinking I would wear my heels every day, but I’ll tell you now that it gets old (and painful). Do your feet a favor.
  • Portable iron: Glion dorm rooms come with an ironing board, which is awesome. However, an iron is not included. I suggest buying a travel iron from Amazon. They are smaller and lighter than a normal iron, and are also easy to use. Better yet, maybe you’d prefer a travel steamer as I do.
  • Towel set: Glion has you covered in terms of sheets, pillows, bedding, trash cans and ample storage space. This was a great surprise to me coming from the US, where you typically have to bring all of these to college. However, one thing Glion does not give you is a set of towels, so make sure you pack some. 
  • Token from home: I’m never one to pass up a chance for sentimentalism. Bring something from home, whether it’s pictures of your friends, your country flag, your soccer team’s jersey, or snacks found only in your country. Be proud of your country and be ready to share it with your Glion family. You’ll learn so much at Glion, perhaps the best being about the cultures and customs of your friends from countries vastly different from your own.
  • Finally, what NOT to pack: Number one on my list is excessive clothing. I made the mistake of overpacking, and now my closet is filled with clothes I never wear. At Glion, you’ll be wearing a suit 50 per cent of the time. My recommendation is two-to-three suiting combinations with around four different shirts to wear underneath. Then, three or four essential tops and bottoms will do.

There you have it—my ten tips for packing for Switzerland. I hope these tips make the prospect of packing a little less daunting and inspire you to pack smarter! Get excited for an amazing time in your life…and don’t worry, if you forget something, your friends will have you covered.

Thank you for reading,

Kristen Mari Gatti

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