Thursday, March 9, 2017

Packing for the dorm room: Bengali Edition

If you're a Bengali set to embark on your journey of studying abroad, chances are that this post could be your goldmine. Or not. Most of your universities are likely to send you a general packing list, but I bet none of them is as catered to specific ethnic needs. Hope this helps you lovelies prepare for an exciting time ahead~!


  • Clothing from Dhaka college etc. : If you're looking to save money and have significant luggage space, shop for clothes from Dhaka College and whatnot. They even sell coats there AND YOU CAN ALTER THEM! In the western world, having the option of altering coats is a privilege reserved for very few people. If you don't have space in your luggage or just want to have more options, you should be able to buy clothes relatively cheap at H&M, Forever 21 (I've scored 5$ tops from this store), Aeropostale, American Eagle, Hollister, Old Navy (another cheap one) and Abercrombie (more on the pricier side, I think). If you're going to the U.S, Macys is also a pretty good option for finding reasonably priced clothing. For survival in the negative temperatures, do invest in gloves, earmuffs, woolen scarves and snowboots. I have snow boots from L.L. Bean and Uggs (which are more like comfy,furry, fall fashion). Uggs are pretty expensive but I'd say that it's definitely worth the investment. Check out both and decide for yourself but don't let the price discourage you from investing in a good pair of winter boots because otherwise you'll regret it like crazy. Aside from that, try out thrift shopping. If you're in a place where they have thrift shops nearby, don't hesitate to explore. Depending on where you are, you can sometimes score absolute goldmines at thrift shops. For the ladies: I would definitely recommend investing a good amount of money into undergarments as well as sports undergarments. You don't have to buy a ton of them: but it's crucial to spend money on a few good ones. Don't be embarrassed to voice this to your parents. Formal clothes wise: invest in a good suit, YOU'LL NEED IT. For women, you can mix and match. Have shoes, a skirt/ pant suit, and a formal dress. A lot of stores (check out Ann Taylor) offer student discounts. (If you need more help on formal wear, just reach out to me).  

  • Books and stationary: Now here's why I recommend this. In Bangladesh, you can score Matador pens for 5 Taka. But in the U.S, pens are usually around 5-6$, depending on your area. That's like the price of almost 80 MATADOR PENS! (Correct me if I'm wrong though because I'm bad at math). So try spending as much as you can on stationary. Now if you're like me and prefer the fancier, colorful stuff, then go ahead and purchase them where you're settling. The cheaper places in the U.S. are usually Walmart and Target. Walmart is pretty cheap in particular. DO PURCHASE A GRAPHING CALCULATOR FROM BANGLADESH. I had to pay like a 100 bucks for mine, but used ones are available at lower prices on Amazon and Ebay. Also, if you already know your syllabus, try finding your books in Dhaka or pirate them online if you can. Textbooks will leave you broke by the end of the semester so if that plan doesn't work out, your best bet is renting them on Amazon or Chegg.


OLD DORM ROOM AT LINCOLN ACADEMY
    CURRENT DORM ROOM AT FORDHAM
  • Living/Home Depot: I'm sorry I didn't know how to label this. But this section is basically the stuff you need to survive and make your survival space look habitable. So biggest deshi investments would be bodna, toilet paper and sholar jharu. Don't judge me. My mom laughed at me when I hoarded a bunch of toilet papers from her bathroom but I'm just being financially sensible here. In NYC (yes, I do go to college in the city), toilet papers are like 6$ for four rolls, whereas Bashundhara toilet papers are like 17 TK per roll. Then again, you can't buy a year's supply of toilet paper so carry what you can. The bodna speaks for itself. If you can't pack a bodna, a watering can with a single orifice is a good replacement. As for the sholar jharu: there is no western equivalent to it. People in the western world don't brush dust and crumbs off when making their beds. If the sheets are too dirty, they simply put them in the washer.Therefore if you're accustomed to using a sholar jharu, be sure to pack one. Other things I'd recommend investing in is bedding (comforter, two sheets, pillow, pillowcase, nokshi kantha?), a toiletry basket to hold your toiletries ( so that you can easily carry them in and out of the shower), a shower mat (pretty helpful for common showers, showering in flipflops can be a possible alternative), laundry bag and organizers (there are many kinds, but I just use the bins you can keep under the bed; my roommate has ones with wheels which, in my opinion, are more convenient. Again, if you're looking for cheap stuff in the U.S, Walmart and Target are your to-go place. For decor, you could bring a Bangladesh flag with you ( I have photos of my dorm room from boarding school and college for you guys), print out your favourite photos from Dhaka to decorate your wall, and possibly invest in a rug (they make your room look a lot brighter). It also does well to invest in a good suitcase.

  • Electrical Appliances: Buy your appliances online if you can, because they're often cheaper. But then again, do check out stores nearby (Bed,Bath and Beyond, Walmart, and Target for U.S. bound peeps) as they offer sales and promotions from time to time. Which you can also find out about online. MEH. Here's a tentative list to start with:
    • Hair dryer
    • Mini fridge (I have a magic chef one which I bought for 100$, you could probably go lower on Walmart and Ebay. It also depends on what size you prefer. Mine has a freezer.)
    • Electric kettle (A staple for students who dorm. It's must-have if you like drinking herbal tea/ hot water and plan on eating a lot of instant ramen. My old roommate used to boil her eggs in her electric kettle too.)
    • Microwave (not super necessary if you have one in the common lounge/kitchen)
    • Desk lamp ( you probably don't need one if you're planning on doing most of your studying in the library, but it's still a good investment, especially if your room has horrible lighting)
    • rice cooker (could be a good investment for those who like making their own food) 
    • humidifier (a good investment for those living in drier, colder climates. My nose gets really dry and sometimes bleed so a humidifier helps with that.)
I know this is a pretty long list but I should have most things in there. Don't hesitate to comment (leave your email if viewing on my blog) if you have any questions. Also, so that you guys have a clearer idea, below I have links to some of the items I've mentioned:

ORGANIZING BIN (This is just a basic one, they have really nice colours and patterns)


5 comments:

  1. This post is so cool I'm going to re-read it now. Will probably need all of these things soon... thank you so much for taking the time to write such great stuff and helping us!

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    Replies
    1. Hi! Thanks so much for the encouragement! :) Comments like this keep me going. Have a great week! :D

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    2. If you don't mind, could I make a slight request? I've opened a student blog too and it would mean so much to me if you could take a quick look. I would love to hear your feedback!
      Here's the link:
      www.tschronicles.wordpress.com

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