What to bring and not bring from your country when arriving as a student

Moving from one country on the equator to a different country in the northern hemisphere, it's worrying to choose the right items to travel with. Especially due to the limitations of luggage’s by many airlines, it makes the list very tight.
Winter accessories

My journey to Finland

My flight was from Saudi Arabia, where the average temperature during September was 35 degrees. I had only one luggage allowed of 23 kilos and a handbag. Pretty little, right? So, this is what I did, and I would like to share some tips that would help you when packing your bags!


I packed only a single puffer jacket, a few full sleeves and a thermal so that I wouldn’t feel cold when I arrived in Oulu (around 9 degrees). I planned to buy all winter clothes in Finland, as warm clothes in Saudi Arabia/South Asian countries would be according to their average temperature, and it may be useless to buy from there for surviving negative temperatures. So, after reaching Oulu, I bought a winter jacket, fleeces, sweater, and hoodie at reasonable prices.

This was the best decision that I made to save space for other things in my luggage and get temperature appropriate winter clothes.


Being from a South Asian country, I need spices to have some fulfilling meals. Even though I got some spices from the  Tuiran Oriental  stores, I would suggest you bring the brand of masalas from your own country. That would not be even half a kilo of total weight and would give the right tinge to the tongues. If you get hungry too often, a pack of dates is the perfect snack to wipe off that hunger. In terms of fresh meat and fish, they are easily available in the nearby supermarkets. 

Utensils, pots, and pans can be easily bought in second-hand shops at reduced prices. But sometimes new ones are also on discount in some marketplaces like Tokmanni or Prisma. If you want to make dal (lentils) or beef curry, I suggest you bring along with you a small cooker (around 2 L). It can be difficult to find good cookers here and they are expensive.


Since moving from a hot country to a cold one, I forgot about the chances of getting a cold or running nose. You must carry some basic first aid kits and medicine along so that you don’t have to go through a lot of ‘procedures’ to get an appointment and get checked for simple flu.

Also, sometimes pharmacies don’t let you buy medicines without proper doctor prescriptions. Medicine for anti-allergy, paracetamol and a bad stomach would be a must in the kit.


The outlet plug sockets are similar for all European countries but are very different from Middle Eastern and South Asian ones. So, it’s better to bring along with you an international socket extension board, so that you don’t have to buy expensive socket converters here. A power bank is a must, as sometimes you won’t find USB cable connectors to charge with. Also, if your phone is a little old, cold temperatures can reduce the battery levels in seconds. A good water bottle and a mug will help you survive the cold and have some warm water and hot coffee in Finland.

Even though we don’t use stationery a lot and write notes on our laptops/tablets, it’s better to bring a notebook, a pencil and a pen. Stationery is slightly expensive compared to my country.

That’s the basic advice I can give you. Just remember that you’re not going to a completely new area where necessities are scarce! :)

About the author

Syed Jawad Akhtar from India is studying Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Oulu. You can talk to him about robots and their social aspects for hours. He lived in Saudi Arabia most of his life, and now he wants to experience the cold weather to the fullest by diving in an iced lake, ice boarding and cross-country skiing.