Aloha from Hilo, Hawaiʻi!!
For this post, I would like to summarize our articles and tips about what to pack for your study abroad.
These blogs and tips are given from our former IEP students. You may not have many chances to ask these questions to those who are/were actually studying abroad. Even if your study abroad destination is not Hilo, Big Island, this post should be helpful so please take advantage!
These are our latest two blog posts focused on what to pack. Click below links to check them out.
Most of the items listed have a point in common that they are your favorite items that you are used to use/take. It’s important for you to feel comfortable using it.
Part #1 covers medicine, food, and laptop computer.
Part #2 covers dictionary, cosmetics, sunscreen and insect repellant spray.
Simple clothes: Hawaiʻi is a very casual place and you don’t need to wear formally at school. Former students brought her favorite fashionable clothes to Hilo but she felt it was too fashionable to wear here and she ended up not wearing much of those. But! you may go to parties during your stay. It may be a good idea to have a dress or shirt for that kind of occasions.
Warm clothes: When you imagine Hawaiʻi, you may think of the tropical summer all year around. Actually, in Hilo, that’s not the case. Around October to March, we have our “winter.” The temperature drops after dark. You will need long sleeves jackets and long pants. Also, not only in the classrooms but also in the stores, the temperature is set pretty low. Wherever I go, I would like to always keep one jacket with me.
Also, we recommend our students to volunteer at the Onizuka Visitor Center, Mauna Kea. You can see beautiful starry sky there. It’s at the 9,200 foot (2,800 m) so when you work, it gets really really cold! You don’t need to bring a lot of winter clothes but if you are thinking about volunteering there, it’s handy if you have some jackets, gloves and knit hats to keep you warm.
Raincoat: Hilo is famous for rain. Most of the students walk or bike to school so raincoats would be another great thing to bring!
Bathing suits: Hawaiʻi= beach. It’s great to have your bathing suits but there are many different types of bathing suits available here.
Underwear: You may notice the American underwear sizing is different from your country.
If you are worried what and how many to pack, it’s possible for you to just bring minimum clothes and you buy new clothes in Hilo as you feel the needs.
Sandals: Probably, this will be your daily wear to school.
Sneakers: A pair of sneaker would be good to have. You may go hiking. You may volunteer in the forest.
Room slippers: In Hawaiʻi, you take off your shoes at the entrance door. Some people like to wear a slipper in the house. If you have your favorite slipper that you wear, maybe you can bring it too.
You can bring/use any bags you like but here are some information and tips.
Suitcases: You can prepare what you bring to Hawaiʻi first and choose the best size suitcase or you can adjust your items to bring to the suitcase you have. It’s good to check your airline regulation. If it’s too big or too heavy, there will be additional charges. It could be cheaper to pay those additional charges rather sending your items by mail. You can research the shipping cost and decide wisely.
Backpack: You will carry textbooks to school daily so a backpack would be handy since you can use both of your hands. It’s great to ride your bicycle safely! It rains a lot here so you may want to choose the waterproof materials.
Eco bag: On the Big Island, plastic shopping bags are banned so you will either need to buy an eco bag at the store or use their paper bag. You can buy many cute eco bags when you get here but if you have a few from your country, that may be helpful.
Tote bag: You may be able to use for your beach trip!
Mini bag/purse: It’s good to use a bag with a zipper for safety.
Maybe one bath towel would be good for your first night here but it takes up a lot of space in your luggage. You can always buy a bath towel (maybe about $5). There are also many cute beach towels available.
Foldable umbrella: As I mentioned under “Clothes”, Hilo rain is unpredictable. The rain comes right after we see the sunshine. It’s good to have a foldable umbrella.
Hat/ Sunglasses: It gets pretty hot in the daytime so it may be good to bring them. Of course, you can buy in Hilo.
International Driver’s License: If you would like to drive while you are here.
Camera: Nowadays, you can take pretty good photos with your smartphones but if your hobby is taking photos, I recommend to bring yours. You will see many great sceneries on this island. Also if you have a GoPro, you can make use of that when you go outdoor adventures including beaches. There are many good outdoor spots on the Big Island.
Sewing kit: If you are thinking about studying the Hawaiin Studies Major, you will need to sew for your classes. If you have a good set from your home, it may be helpful.
Recorder: Lately, many smartphones have the function pre-installed but if you have a heavy duty recorder, you may want to consider bringing one. If you are a short-term student, you may not need one but if you are thinking to study at Hawaiʻi Community College or Universities later, it would help your study.
You can create your own packing list now!