Dang, I should’ve brought the…

Authored by:
Austin C.

Finally! It’s the blog post that you all have been waiting for. A list of things that I should’ve packed in my bag instead of that extra toothbrush and two books. And without a doubt this blog post will surely be extraordinarily different from the rest.

Okay, it probably won’t be. In fact, it might look very similar to everyone else’s, but I’ve decided to write a list of forgotten items so that: one, you might have a good laugh at what I consider essential and two, have another perspective from someone who has lived in Madrid for a while. DO NOT consider this a comprehensive list of what you should bring. CIEE provides that list.

Additionally, keep in mind that I came with one checked bag, so I currently don’t have a lot of clothes. I had to buy my winter clothes here, which was my original plan.

I hope that you enjoy.

For school

  1. A book with English speaking, vocabulary, and grammar activities – I’m certainly not good at recalling decent games from my childhood. I’m certain that you are not either, so bring some worksheets or books with engaging and energy-boosting games. You will most likely focus on speaking first and vocabulary and grammar second. It’s not easy to find great games online or create them on the spot, so bring pre-thought-out material. I came with some but not enough.
  2. Authentic learning games or board games – Kids love learning indirectly. You will get through to them a lot easier if you show that you have a fun side, so try to find something adaptable and enjoyable. I like Snakes and Ladders and Go Fish.  
  3. Prizes that you can give to students – I brought a few items from home, but I don’t think that I brought enough nor a decent variety. Your students will love something authentically American!

For home

  1. My favorite coffee and tea brands – There’s not a huge selection here, so if you’re a connoisseur, you should pack extra. I love Hawaiian coffee!
  2. Peanut butter – No, the ones in the store here don’t taste the same. Bring some jars!
  3. Mother’s best recipes or a good recipe book at least – I literally ate the same five recipes for the first six months because I didn’t know how to cook anything else. If you’re not culinarily-inclined like me, you should think about this point very carefully.   

For life in Madrid

  1. A pair of hiking boots – I love hiking. Unless you want to spend lots of money and time looking for them, I would suggest bringing some lightweight boots from home.
  2. A sturdy and wide umbrella – I have already gone through two umbrellas. I don’t know if it’s bad luck or something else, but I don’t like Spanish umbrellas. On another note, the sidewalks are small, so when it rains, the water from the roof and the sky are falling on your head. Therefore, buy something that will cover your bag and you.  
  3. Running clothes that you have at home – You will save lots of money because it can add up here.

There you have it. I hope that I didn’t encourage you to bring another check-in bag. Anyways, happy packing!

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