HOMESICK YET? International Students Discuss their Favorite Items from Home

Dear all Chinese and international students who have gotten through the first months of their academic year in one of the most modern and innovative Chinese cities, Shenzhen! The Peking University Graduate School would like to wish you a pleasant journey throughout your time studying here.

As much as the whole experience within itself is truly amazing and  a chance to spread your wings; it can seem challenging from time to time because of the differences in culture and lifestyle between here and a student’s home country or region. It has already been almost two months since international students from around the world arrived to study at either HSBC Business School or School of Transnational Law. We asked 10 international students a fun question: What did you bring from your home country that is special or you thought you would not be able to find in China?

We know there are always things from home that can never be replaced. Check out what they had to say:


Julia Aeschbacher, 28 (Switzerland)


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Somehow I thought I may not find them here, especially the one brand I specifically use.
  • Sunscreen: It was a really essential part of my packing.
  • Body lotion: I heard that body lotions in China have a specific bleaching effect, I don’t know to what extent it is true but I didn’t want to risk it.

Victor Contreras, 28 (Chile)


  • Pisco: It is the traditional drink of Chile. It was a must-have item during my trip.
  • Food: I brought some food such as cereal and snacks that I always eat in Chile. I knew    I could find them here, but they wouldn’t taste the same.
  • Two suits: I brought my best 2 suits, which I never used haha. So I took them back home after one year.

Ivan Islas, 30 (Mexico)


  •   Pillow: I love my own pillow, it is very soft and basically I cannot go anywhere in the world without it.
  •   Blanket: I like flannel sheets, specifically them. My sheets have this component that I thought might not be common in China. I had no idea, so I wouldn’t risk it.
  •   Soaps: I wanted to bring soaps that I am used to having back home, Mexico.

Abdalla Yasin, 29 (Sweden)


  • Toothbrush: Of course I didn’t think I would not be able to find a toothbrush here. But the first days are always the hardest, so I had to be prepared.
  • Deodorant: I knew that it was not so common in China, so I brought it in any case, I think I have seen it in the stores here afterwards.
  • Protein: I have a very active sports life, protein can be considered as something personal to me in that sense.

Shilpa Ramanujan, 21 (India)


  • Clothes: I brought many clothes, I wasn’t sure if I could find my size in China, I thought they all would be size S, or XS, maybe even XXS.
  • Indian food: I brought two packs of Indian food: one is poha, it can translated as flattened rice. The other one is rajma masala, it is something like spicy kidney bean gravy. I’ve been saving these for when I crave Indian food.
  • Notebook: I thought it would be useful to bring my own notebook, I have no idea why I did that. I guess I just rushed through my packing haha.

Beatrice Parravicini, 23 (Italy)

Provided by Beatrice Parravicini
  • Books: I brought books in Italian from home that I would like to read.
  • Photo: A photo of my family. It reminds me of home, and it is also very personal.
  • Sheet of paper: It is a special type of paper that you put in the washing machine. It  catches the colour of the cloth, so you can wash everything together. It is a lifesaving idea.

Christian Schedl, 25 (Austria)


  • Hiking shoes: I thought it would be convenient to bring them since China has various beautiful landscapes to hike.
  • Bed sheets: I don’t exactly know why I took them with me, but also I did not anticipate the first day Ikea trip too.
  • Austrian coffee: To be honest, I did not bring this personally myself, but I ordered it on Taobao as soon as I realized it was essential for me, therefore I would like to add my Austrian coffee in the list.

Krystian Pawlikowski, 26 (Poland)


  • Deodorant: I brought it because we received a notification from the university that it may not be easy to find it in China, maybe it is a little bit expensive here.
  • Chocolate: There is not a lot of chocolate here. I think in general milk, and all the dairy stuff are not easily accessible here, even ice cream tastes different. It is made somewhat different here, I read it online prior to coming.
  •  Ginger bread: There is a city in Poland, Torun, which is famous for being the city of Nicolaus Copernicus and gingerbread. Gingerbread is something related to my country and I wanted to have it with me during my exchange.

Deniz Yapmis, 23 (Turkey)


  • Turkish coffee and delight: Every time I traveled somewhere and made local friends, my friends would ask me about Turkish coffee and delights. The coffee is made with the ground and it’s not filtered. Delights and coffee complete each other in a very pleasant way.
  • Coffee pot: The Turkish coffee is made in the special coffee pots. Having my coffee set here is precious and the pot is the essential part of making it.

Verena Huber, 24 (Germany)


  • Friend booklet: I brought my friend booklet with me, it is basically about what you share with your friends and what you wish for them. We have been doing this since elementary school.
  • Book: I decided to bring one book in German, I didn’t have so much space in my luggage.
  • Shoes: I knew that I wouldn’t be able to find my shoe size in China, and I was right about it, I really couldn’t find anything. I’m glad I brought shoes from home.


Written by Yaren Kasoglu

Photos by Yaren Kasoglu (unless otherwise noted)