Moving to America – Packing advice for International Students

Hurray, you have been accepted into an American college!  You are ready to start a new chapter in your life and study abroad in the US.  Hopefully you have already taken care of your immunizations, and have figured out your accommodations, but now you might wonder: what do I need to pack in my suitcase?

Don’t worry, we here at peerTransfer have put together a list for you of what to bring and what to leave at home.

Traveling light

Our rule of thumb: pack as little as possible.

All you really need is:

  • Basic/casual clothing such as t-shirts, pants/jeans, and a few nicer outfits for going out or formal occasions.
  • Laptop and electronics: make sure you back up all of your files onto an external hard drive (which you should leave at home), in case your laptop gets stolen or develops a fatal error while traveling. You could even consider using a service like Dropbox so you don’t need any extra hardware.
  • Passport, visa and other important documents
  • A couple of sentimental memories such as photos of your family and friends that you can put up in your new bedroom – to ease your homesickness 🙂

Most importantly: do not forget your sense of humor, curiosity and adventure!

Sense of humor

Do not pack:

  • Excessive amounts of clothing: Wait until you arrive in your new home and take a look what fellow students are wearing and adjust to their dress code to better fit in both culturally and socially.
  • Don’t pack any kind of food, either dried or fresh: There are several restrictions on bringing foods into the US and you getting stuck at customs is not worth the pain. Either way, you are going to America not only for a great education, you are also there to try new foods and experience different customs.  You will have plenty of time to eat your home country’s food when you go back.
  • Do not bring bed sheets, towels, blankets and pillow cases: They only take up valuable space in your suitcase.  Buying new ones locally is likely just as cheap as shipping yours over.
  • Don’t pack family-size shampoo and toiletries: Only bring what you’ll need in the first few days of your arrival.  You can, and will have to buy more during your time here eventually 😉
  • School supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and pens
  • Stuffed animals and other space wasters

Packing your suitcase

Bear in mind that there is nothing essential that you could possibly “forget” to bring. You will accumulate a lot of new things, experience great adventures, and probably take several suitcases back home 😉

If you have any tips and tricks for packing for abroad, please share in the comments below!

11 Responses to Moving to America – Packing advice for International Students

  1. Omar says:

    awesome post. external hard drives are essential to any college student

  2. Really usefull post,for new students going to USA, keep on posting there vital informations always. Thanks

  3. Great advice. This article on “light” packing is really useful for all students who are going abroad for study.

  4. JimSmith says:

    Cloud services Like Dropbox are not enough for backing up the huge data. It is always a wise action to get an external HDD to backup all your important data.
    Thank you for this nice article.

  5. This packing advice will make your moving stress free. Great Advice. Keep it up!

  6. Pingback: 7 Things You Forgot to Bring to College | peerTransfer Blog

  7. Amanda says:

    Great article! My brother is going to study in an American college and he can’t wait to go there. I will send him this article because here I found incredible tips!Regards!

  8. My daughter is going to be one of these international students. She is going to America to study architecture and I am very proud of her. Thanks a lot for this article!

  9. Sheila Ken says:

    I have a friend from the UK who is going to study in NY next year. She is so excited because she will study in her favorite university and will live in the city of her dreams. Hope that she will find the happiness there! Thank you for the interesting article!

  10. It is important that you do not take unnecessary things that will only take your place and forget the things that are really important to you. Double check is smart to do.

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