Packing Tips for International Students

Going to another culture and country is so exciting. But it can also cause some anxiety and confusion when getting down to details and packing your bags. Packing to travel can be a pain. After living out of a suitcase for seven weeks myself this summer, I’m ready to unpack my bags and feel at home. I imagine that as an international student, you may be thinking how and what do I pack for my time in the U.S.?

Here are some tips when thinking through what to bring.:

  1. Pack clothes for multiple seasons. Research where in the U.S. you’re going, and find out what the weather will be like. Depending on which state you are attending university, some have warmer climates, while others will be colder. The seasons in your new home city might be very different than what you are accustomed to. Try to be versatile in what you pack because it is likely that you will want to travel and visit other places.
  2. Bring nonperishable foods, herbs and spices that remind you of home. If you’re going to a city, you will have more access to a variety of grocery stores that may have what you need. But if you’re not, the likelihood that you will find what you want will be lower. When you are homesick having a snack or a meal that reminds you of home will bring you comfort and will help your adjustment into a new culture.
  3. Print out pictures of family and friends that you can hang up or put inside your desk. When you miss them, it will be nice to be able to look at them or show them to new friends you make.
  4. If you are traveling as a family with children, remember to bring a few (or even just one) of their favorite toys and books for them to play with.
  5. Think through a few souvenirs you may want to give to new friends you meet. Your culture and country are unique and it will be a way for them to remember you by when you leave. For example, I received a pair of chopsticks from a friend from China. Now every time I use them I think of her and her husband even though they have since returned home.
  6. Bring a set of traditional clothing from your culture. This will help you to teach others about your home country and you can use it to celebrate festivals from home.

Remember that you can utilize not only grocery stores, but America has places called “Good Will” or thrift stores. These are places where you can purchase used household goods, clothes and other miscellaneous items. Try not to overpack because you can always buy what you need when you arrive. You can also utilize online shopping sites such as Amazon to purchase more. Congratulations on your upcoming job, studies, or whatever is bringing you to the U.S. You did it!


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