This time of year is already quite busy for me, but throw in some clever packing, careful coordinating, and extensive planning for my 5 month stay abroad, and I am just about overwhelmed. I traveled to Oxford, England for a month this past summer and I hope to learn from my many mistakes the second time around. This time, I will be studying in Edinburgh, Scotland for semester. My first mistake over the summer was packing far too much for the short amount of time I stayed in the country. My suitcase was massive and impossible to carry around the complicated terminals of Heathrow. This time, while the weather will be much colder in Scotland during the winter, I will attempt to pack lighter and limit the amount of concerned strangers who offer to help me with my bags. My second summer mistake involved cell phones. During my stay in Oxford, I had a passbook app through AT&T which was almost entirely useless. I could not make calls, send texts, or use cellular data without receiving text notifications from AT&T informing me of scary overages and fees. This time around, my family has thankfully switched to T-Mobil which appears to have a very effective overseas policy which should save me hassle and money. My third mistake in Oxford was, strangely enough, my purse. At home in the States I carry a massive black bag which fits my books, my coat, food, my wallet, and anything else I may find useful. I love this bag and use it every day at home but in the UK, I found it cumbersome and excessive. I didn’t need to carry around nearly as many things in the UK as I did in the US. I have vowed to leave my black bag at home this time and instead purchase a small shoulder bag for myself before I leave. Hopefully, this will limit the amount of pushing and shoving I do on busy streets in order to get myself and my bag through large crowds. Lastly, while in Oxford over the summer I caught a rather persistent cold. I went to the drugstore to purchase cold medicine but soon realized that the medicine in the UK is very different than the medicine in the US. None of the ingredients on the various boxes looked familiar so I bought one at random, without checking the ingredients on my phone because I had no cellular data. The medicine I bought was completely useless and I lay in bed at night longing for my Nyquil and extra strength Advil. This time, I will look into the TSA and customs laws and hopefully bring a pack with me in case I catch another cold. I set off for Scotland in about 2 weeks so until then: happy holidays!