My name is Nambi Arumugam and I am currently studying abroad in The Hague, Netherlands. I have been here since the third week of January and will be staying until the first week of June. It has been about two months since I have gotten here and so I finally feel as though I have had enough time to get a small grasp of the city and country.
This blog post will mostly be dedicated to what to bring to the Netherlands if you plan on studying abroad here. More specifically, I wanted to mention some of the little things to bring to make your time here that much more comfortable.
I packed as lightly as I could for a 5-month trip but brought some things that made the transition a lot smoother. First, I brought a small Swiss army knife (be sure to check this in when flying here). It had a variety of tools on it including a small screwdriver, bottle opener, knife, and flashlight. Any small things that broke or any screw that was loose, I could fix without having to go and give a work order at the dorm office. For example, our showerhead was loose and would never stay up. With some work with the pliers that were on the army knife, I was able to rig it to stay up.
The second thing I would advise is to bring any of your favorite brands. There are stores where you can find brands that are being sold back home but they are usually out of the way or very expensive. Most of the stores sell the Dutch version of the brands we have back home but most of the labels are in Dutch and figuring it out takes some experimentation.
Small locks are something that I wish I had brought to the Netherlands. They are incredibly useful when staying in hostels or keeping valuables safe inside of your room. While the dorms and living areas in The Hague are very safe, it brings about a peace of mind when traveling for extended periods of time. When in the dorms, I found that most of the dorms give you a locker but make you pay for renting a lock for it. This becomes relatively mandatory when you are sharing a room with up to 23 other people sometimes. If you have a lock of your own, you know it is of better quality than the ones usually rented at hostels and having a unique lock may be a good idea.
Finally, a small, fast drying towel is a very good investment before coming abroad. While a large one may be great for keeping in your room, when traveling, it will be a pain to lug around. A smaller towel also takes up less space in your bags which helps greatly considering inter-continental flights usually only allow a carry-on bag.
That is a small list of some things I recommend you bring. I will update this entry any time I think of more items that I feel would be smart to bring.