I can’t believe the time has finally come! Tomorrow I depart for Washington D.C. for a quick 24 hour orientation then board my flight to Ukraine at 6pm on Tuesday. There will be 97 volunteers in my training group, which sounds like a lot but is actually only half the number of volunteers usually sent to Ukraine. Apparently 2011 marked the 50th year anniversary of the Peace Corps as well as severe budget cuts causing major cut backs on volunteer acceptance.

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go! All 100 lbs of checked bagage, 30 lbs of carryonbackpack, 20 lbs of carryon briefcase and massive arctic parka. I have been frequently warned that I am solely responsible for carrying all my bags from the train station in Philadelphia to the host village outside the capital of Ukraine…”So only bring what you can manage”! Well I don’t think I can technically manage all this bagage, but I don’t think it is an outrageous amont of stuff for 27 months in a country that ranges in temperatures from -20 F to 90F. It should be a very amusing sight seeing all 97 volunteers lugging their lives across the pond.

So here is my packing list. For the benefit of future volunteers reading this site, I plan to comment on it in a year to see what things I am most grateful for bringing and which items were unnecessary.

**DISCLAIMER: Before you read my list and judge me for all the stuff I’m bringing, you have to know that I packed for the entire 27 month period in hopes of not needing to do any more shopping 🙂 In addition, I’ll be hand washing all my clothes which wears them through very quickly so I packed an abundance of the essentials. Also, Ukrainians (especially women) are known for their clean and fashionable personable appearance. As a result, Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to present themselves professionally and be very mindful of our personal appearance. I.e. High heels and suits are expected for female TEFL volunteers…which if you know my skill level in wearing heels, should be very comical 🙂

Professional Attire

  • 1 full navy suit (skirt & jacket)
  • 1 full sweater-like suit (doubles as casual skirt)
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 black pencil skirt
  • 7 various colored button up oxford shirt
  • 8 tank tops/shirts to wear under oxford shirts
  • 2 pants
  • 1 vest
  • 5 sweaters
  • 1 black blazer
Winter Casual/Everyday Attire
  • 1 snow pant
  • 4 smart wool leggings
  • 3 smart wool tops
  • 1 patagonia pullover jacket for layering
  • 2 jeans
  • 2 pants
  • 1 blue fleece
  • 1 peacoat
  • 4 winter tights
  • 8 thick socks
  • 2 thin gloves
  • 1 scarf
  • Arctic knee length parka
Summer Casual/Everyday Attire 
  • 1 lightweight professional pant
  • 8 summer dresses (double as professional/casual)
  • 2 work out shorts
  • 1 stretch capris
  • 3 shorts
  • 3 skirts
  • 7 short sleeve shirts
  • 5 tights
  • 8 ankle socks
Shoes
  • 1 Winter boots
  • 1 Running shoes
  • 2 flip flops
  • 2 high heeled boots (one black, one brown)
  • 1 flat black boots
  • 1 high heeled brown dress shoes
  • 1 flat professional shoes
  • 2 medium heeled dress shoes (one black, one brown)
  • 1 Winter moccasins for inside
  • 1 all-star sneaker
Toiletries
  • 2 month assortment of feminine products
  • 6 3oz bottles with shampoo, conditioner, face wash
  • hairbrush
  • hair clips
  • razor with 5 replacement heads
  • basic makeup
  • nail care kit
Electronics
  • small iHome
  • MacBook
  • iPad
  • small Camera
  • iPod
  • 3 USB drives (8GB & 2x4GB)
  • 2 external hard drives
  • 2 grounded plug adaptors
  • 3 ungrounded plug adaptors
  • hair straightener
  • assortment of chargers
Gifts
  • 1 large Vera Bradley purse
  • 1 small Vera Bradley purse with matching hair clips
  • 5 packets Hot Chocolate mix
  • 1 Godiva Chocolate Box
  • Assortment of stickers for little kids
  • 1 Necklace
  • 2 small American Flags
  • 2 Uno decks
Miscellaneous
  • Arctic sleeping Bag
  • 1 large American Flag
  • 1 large University of Michigan Flag
  • 1 small Brazilian Flag (to sew on backpack)
  • 1 Garlic Salt
  • 1 Vegetable Seasoning
  • 1 Meat Seasoning
  • 1 Purse
  • 1 Clutch
  • 200 photos photo prints
  • Online photo scrapbook
  • 1 large USA map
  • 1 deck of cards
  • 1 clorox bleach stick
  • 1 super glue bottle
  • 1 roll of tape
  • small pliers
  • swiss army knife
  • small mag light
  • headlamp
  • Assortment of markers/pens/pencils
  • 3 belts
  • Umbrella
  • Rain jacket
  • Ukraine Guidebook
  • Beginner Portugese language book
  • “Borderland” – book on History of Ukraine
  • 3 re-usable grocery shopping bags
  • Basic sewing kit and patches
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