Moving to the Czech Republic: stuff a student should bring with them when moving away to study
It's one thing to pack your things for a vacation, and quite another to try to pack your whole life in one suitcase. Which of them are going to come in handy for the future student in the Czech Republic, and which can you safely do without? We are compiling a list of things together with the author of the GoStudy blog, Alexandra Baranova.
Our list of things can be figuratively divided into three smaller lists:
The "green" list includes items that are indispensable
The "Yellow" one – items that can be purchased at your destination, but it`s still better to take them with you
And the "Red" one – items that are definitely not worth being brought with you from home
The "green" list of must-have things when moving to the Czech Republic:
Foreign passport with a student visa. You`re going to need it to prove your identity, open a bank account, issue a travel card and other documents. In the Czech Republic, a policeman has the right to stop you in the middle of the street and ask to see your identity documents. A fine will be issued if you fail to provide your passport.
Attention! You can easily lose your passport. Re-issuing it is a hassle that is best avoided, so the best option here is to carry a copy of the document with you instead of the original. Take your country’s internal passport with you to the Czech Republic - having it will facilitate the procedure for re-issuing a foreign passport.
"Passport" format photos - those will be useful for issuing a travel card, an ISIC card, as well as for visa extension.
Accommodation contract (dormitory, rental apartment, etc.).
Documents received from your language school.
Diplomas and language certificates that may be required at the university or when applying for the ERASMUS+ program.
For those who have work experience in their home country, bringing an employment record book and asking for letters of recommendation from the previous employers will also be a good idea.
Underage students must bring with them two copies of power of attorney from their parents. The first copy shall allow you to travel abroad for the duration of your studies, while the second one shall provide a trustee from the language school staff with a right to do all of the student's paperwork. In accordance with the Czech Republic laws, an individual gains the right to sign official documents on their own behalf only after reaching the age of 18.
Tip 1: Make digital copies of all important documents in a set of two. Leave one of the "digital" document sets to your parents and save the second one to the Google Disk, iCloud or any other reliable external media and take it with you. While still at home, it is best to translate into Czech and notarize nothing but the most necessary documents. Take care of the rest of them in the Czech Republic (this way there will be fewer inaccuracies and errors).
Tip 2: Before leaving home, go through a full medical examination and translate the medical report into Czech. This one will prove useful when you first come to see a doctor in the Czech Republic.
Appliances and gadgets
Laptop. Of course, you can always use computers available in the libraries or language school classrooms, but then you will have to do homework, fill out applications to universities and research additional materials not from the comfort of your home. Splurging on buying a laptop in the Czech Republic immediately after arrival is most likely not a part of your plan.
Tablet. It will definitely come in handy if your laptop unexpectedly bites the dust.
Mobile phone. The primary mean of communication.
High-quality headphones that work well both with the phone and the laptop. They will be useful not only for video calls with your family, but also in case if your classes are switched to the online format.
Original chargers for all your appliances. If you are an Apple fan and going to take both your phone and tablet with you, then throw a charger for each of them in your suitcase.
A couple of small flash drives. Those will come in handy when you need to print something at the nearest shopping mall.
A large and reliable external drive. Digital copies of important documents and educational materials can be stored there.
Power bank for your phone. An invaluable asset on trips or long walks, especially while you still have no sense of direction without Google Maps. The power bank should support at least two full battery charges.
Universal socket adapter. This is especially important for the girls who have a lot of beauty gadgets. The "plug" of the hair dryer or curler may not fit into the outlet.
Hair dryer. Dormitories and rental apartments do not provide those. You can purchase a portable one that takes up minimum space in your suitcase.
Electric water heater. There is no point in lugging a bulky kettle along with you, but then again, it might not be available at the dormitory. An electric water heater will come in very much handy during the first couple of days.
Scientific calculator. Will be useful for the applicants of technical universities.
Cash in euros and dollars. Will get you through your first few days. At the same time, you should be careful when exchanging currencies – do not buy into the "No fee charged" sign. As a rule, those are the exact places that offer the most unfavorable exchange rates. To find out how much money you will need to cover the cost of living in the Czech Republic, read on here.
An international bank card. You should issue one while still at home and clarify in advance the size of the fee that can be charged for each ATM withdrawal.
Attention! Do not put cash or bank cards in your suitcase: if your luggage gets lost, you are bound to find yourself in a very difficult situation. It`s better to put the money in two or three different spots: if something suddenly happens to fall out of one of your pockets, the rest of the sum will still be safe.
For monetary transactions in the Czech Republic, you will need a local bank card, which should be issued as soon after your arrival as possible. It is worth looking into AirBank, mBank, MONETA Money Bank.
Bringing textbooks in your native language for the subjects you plan to study at university is definitely worth it - Czech terminology may seem difficult at first. This is especially true for technical and natural science disciplines: algebra, statistics, physics, chemistry, biology.
If you take any medications on a regular basis, then you need to stock up on them while still at home. In the Czech Republic, you can`t purchase medications for hypertension, neurological and vascular diseases, as well as contraceptives, antibiotics, and allergy medication without a prescription.
Light painkillers are usually off the shelf (not "Ketanov" though!) alongside the common cold-relief medications (like "Coldrex"), vitamins, ointments, eye and nose drops, gastrointestinal adsorbents, and herbal preparations.
Personal hygiene items
You don`t have to bring all the contents of your bathroom cabinet, but it is still worth freeing yourself from too much of a headache for at least the first couple of days.
Slippers to wear indoors and rubber slippers for the shower
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Beauty products (favorite or very expensive products that are difficult to get, etc.)"
Clothing and shoes
As a rule, students come to the Czech Republic late August-early September. The weather at this time is no longer hot, but not yet cold: in the morning you will need to wear a leather jacket and jeans, but in the afternoon you can still walk in a T-shirt or summer dress. Therefore, it is best to take clothes for all seasons, but not too much. For winter, you will need a light down jacket, a warm coat or jacket and warm boots. Good sneakers will come in handy during any season, as long as the ambient temperature stays above zero. Leave your fur and sheepskin coats at home, but grab a hat, a scarf, gloves and a thick turtleneck sweater: during the cold season in the Czech Republic it is pretty humid and a piercing wind blows quite often.
An approximate wardrobe would include:
"Jeans – 2 pairs
Skirt – at your discretion, if you wear them
Short sleeve T–shirt - several pieces
Long sleeve sweater – several pieces
Leather and/or a denim jacket - should be versatile to go with everything
Classic suit, shirt or blouse plus shoes – for official occasions: exam, interview, etc. For girls: shoes on a stable, wide heel. For young men: classic shoes to go with the suit.
Sweatshirt or hoodie
Sweater – 1 to 2 pieces
Hat, scarf, gloves – for winter
Dresses – quantity at your discretion
Underwear, socks, tights, accessories – quantity at your discretion
Sneakers - versatile, possibly white. They will go with everything
Tennis shoes – to replace sneakers
Warm boots with thick soles and/or boots – for autumn and winter
Open toe shoes or sandals – in case of unexpected heat in September, that's the case sometimes
Light trench coat or raincoat – for spring, summer evenings and early autumn
A warm coat, down jacket or jacket – for late autumn and winter
Sportswear set – if this is relevant for you
Wear-at-home clothing set – pajamas, comfortable jumpsuit, etc.
Urban-style backpack – for everyday use. You are going to appreciate this one a lot, when having to rush to classes or to the library while carrying a laptop and textbooks."
The "yellow" list of things that a student may need in the Czech Republic:
Camera. This one is only for those interested in photography or who are going to study to be a photographer. Otherwise, all memorable moments can be captured with the help of your phone.
Iron. The only reason to take this one would be if you wear clothes that require daily ironing. As in the case of a hair dryer, get a portable one, or buy a regular iron in the Czech Republic.
Tableware for personal use. This one includes a mug, plate, spoon, fork and knife. In the Czech Republic, all this can be bought in TESCO hypermarkets, IKEA and kitchenware stores. However, on the first day you may not be up to looking for a mug. Purchase a compact hiking dish set at a sports store (for example, at Decathlon). It will help you out upon arrival and come in useful during the outdoor escapes as well.
*Office tools. Pens and notepads are more expensive in the Czech Republic than in other countries, so it’s worth taking a few with you. Applicants to architectural and technical universities will need a mathematical compass and meter, a drawing ruler, and high-quality pencils with leads of different hardnesses.
Bed sheets. If you aren`t renting an apartment, but going to live in a dormitory instead, then bed sheets will most likely be provided to you. However, what if you really want to take a little piece of home with you and the spare space in your suitcase allows for it? Then you can bring one set.
Wi-Fi router, Internet cable. Before arrival, you should check with the administration of the dormitory or the owner of the apartment how things stand with the Internet connection, and what exactly you will need to connect to the Internet.
The "red" list of things that do not need to be taken to the Czech Republic:
Kitchen utensils. It is best to buy pans, bowls and pots in the Czech Republic when you find out the type of stove on which you are going to cook. Everything you need is sold at IKEA at reasonable prices.
National currency. Of course, it can be exchanged for CZK in the Czech Republic, but the exchange rate will be very unfavorable.
*Household chemicals and mass market cosmetics. Everything you need can be purchased at the local drogerie stores (Czech: drogerie), there is no point in lugging large bottles of shower gels with you.
High-heeled shoes. Firstly, in Czech cities the streets are often paved with paving stones, and the terrain is very hilly, so you won`t feel comfortable walking around in heels. Secondly, Czech women almost never wear stilettos – so this piece of clothing is immediately going to give out your nationality.
Clothing made of natural fur. Firstly, severe frosts are extremely rare in the Czech Republic, and secondly, this element of the wardrobe will also "give out" where you came from. And thirdly, there are a lot of animal rights advocates among the Czechs, so your love of luxury will not be appreciated.
What else needs to be taken into account?
Before packing your bags to travel to the Czech Republic, be sure to double check the luggage allowance and the luggage requirements.
A large number of medications may cause questions at customs control. Remember that all medications must be transported only in their original packaging. Be sure to have on your doctor prescriptions for the medications that you take regularly.
After the suitcase is packed, weigh it using a weigh beam or floor scale. Arrive at the airport in advance and check the weight of your luggage again – this can be done at the closed check-in counters.
If you see that the weight of your luggage is above the permissible weight limit, and nothing can be taken out of your suitcase, take care of purchasing extra luggage allowance in advance.
Do not take clothes and shoes "in reserve". Sales are regularly held in the Czech Republic, plus mass-market brand stores, where you can buy everything you need at affordable prices, are very well represented there.