Serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a profound and life-changing experience. I clearly remember my emotions two years ago as I accepted my call to serve in the Stockholm Sweden mission, learn Swedish, leave my friends and family, and adjust to a new country. Some things I expected; to be homesick, eat different foods, and struggle to understand people. Other things came as a surprise; public transportation, the weather (including the darkness), and how much walking we had to do! It’s a journey that will test your faith, strengthen your character, and open your heart to new cultures and people. To make your adjustment easier, it’s vital you come prepared! Below I have listed some things I took on my mission that I was so thankful for, or things I didn’t take that I wish I would’ve! Let’s get going!

1. Clothing

  • Wool Socks: Europe can get chilly, especially during the winter months. Invest in warm, moisture-wicking wool socks to keep your feet comfortable. This is especially important as you will walk miles everyday talking and teaching! I brought wool socks on my mission to Sweden and never even got a hole in them! I still use them to go hiking today. Worth the investment! 
  • Layered Clothing: Pack versatile clothing that you can layer to adapt to varying weather conditions. Here’s a more specific hack; order thermal garments from Deseret Book! These will be lifesavers during the winter! 
  • Rain Jacket: A durable rain jacket is essential for those unexpected showers. Note- rain jackets tend to be cheaper in Europe. It’s not necessary to wait, but you can save a pretty penny!
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so invest in supportive, comfortable shoes. I recommend waterproof boots, and the classic Doc Martins! 
  • Accessories: I recommend you bring a nice, warm scarf that will match everything (or you’ll end up buying one there, promise!), gloves that have touch-screen technology, a thicker pair of gloves to go over those, and a warm hat that stays on when the wind blows!

2. Electronics and Adapters

  • Universal Outlet Adapter: Europe uses different plug types, so ensure you have a universal adapter to charge your devices, or bring the correct charger type!
  • Travel Power Strip: A power strip will come in use when it’s 7 p.m., you’re stuck in the rain, and you and your companion’s phone is dead! 
  • Wireless headphones: Even if you don’t have them, they’ll make your life so much easier when you’re talking to your family while traveling. With all your layers of clothing and so many people, you’ll get tangled up with regular headphones!

3. Language Resources

  • Language Dictionaries: Depending on your mission location, having a language dictionary or phrasebook is invaluable for communication. Plus- it’s a great conversation starter with people on public transportation!
  • Music Files: Before you report on your mission, take some time to find approved music in your mission language or language pronunciation files to upload to your missionary Drive so you can study them when you’re in the field!

4. Other

  • Photos from home: You will never regret having pictures of your family and friends to look at and show those you become close with. It’s harder and more expensive to print out photos in Europe, so I recommend you do it here. 
  • An inexpensive hobby: You’ll have a little time in the evenings to decompress. One of my favorite ways to do that on my mission was to play hymns on the Ukulele. One of my companions would draw, another got into knitting. It’s nice to have something to do at the end of the day; think if there’s anything you would want to bring with you! 
  • A jump rope: This is perfect for when you want to get some cardio in, but your companion doesn’t like running. You can do it anywhere, and however long you want. I can guarantee it’ll get your heart rate right up! 
  • Recipes: Take some time to upload some of your favorite recipes to your missionary Drive before you report.

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Preparing for a mission in Europe is an exciting and transformative experience. Remember to stay flexible, open-minded, and dedicated to your faith as you embark on this incredible journey to serve the people of Europe.