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Tips for International Students
Packing for Your Journey Abroad→ The Complete Guide
Packing for Your Journey Abroad→ The Complete Guide

What can students bring? What should students ship? Here are some preparation tips to help you navigate the packing process.

Updated over a week ago

Need to know what to bring on your upcoming journey abroad? Here's a complete checklist.

Items to bring with you:

  • Health Forms: health insurance card, original physical exam record, original immunization record

  • Money (USD) - We suggest Guests bring a Debit or Credit Card that can be used in the United States.

  • Phone

  • All original documents: I-20 form, passport, transcripts from home country/previous school (including your final and most current transcript)

  • Medication (for guests under age 18 medication must be given to host upon arrival to their home)

  • Eyeglasses/contact lenses

  • Electronics and School Supplies: electronic translator, dictionary, laptop, converter

  • Clothes: appropriate for the climate (check the weather at your new destination!)

Items you should not bring—your host will have them!

  • Bedding, pillow, blankets, towels

  • Cooking utensils

  • Excessive amounts of food (we will do our best to locate a market that has your home country’s groceries)

Items to ship:

Here’s a short list of common items for any international shipment:

  • Seasonal bulky clothes (e.g., heavy jackets) that can compress into space saver bags

  • Extra cultural-specific personal and cosmetic items (e.g., toothpaste, shampoo, lotions)

  • Sporting equipment (e.g., golf clubs)

  • Extra cultural-specific food or cooking items that aren’t hazardous, restricted, or perishable

If you’re planning to ship items that you won’t need immediately, you can prepare the shipping box ahead of time and then have a friend or relative back home ship the package to you when ready.

🚫 Do NOT Ship (Prohibited Items): There are three main types of items that you can’t ship internationally: hazardous materials, restricted matter and perishable matter.

  • Hazardous materials: Basically, hazardous materials are any items that are considered too dangerous to ship. This includes things like explosives, corrosive items, flammable substances and toxic products.

  • Restricted matter: Restricted matter can sometimes be shipped, but it needs to meet specific policy requirements first. These requirements apply to objects like knives or firearms.

  • Perishable matter: Perishable matter includes items that could rot or go bad during the shipping process. Some examples include eggs, fresh foods and meat

Tips for shipping

What can you ship? As long as your items don’t fall into one of the off limit categories above, they should be good to go. Just remember to make sure your package is properly secured and falls within the proper weight restrictions. Here are some tips for shipping items:

  • Use a box that’s sturdy, hard-sided and uncreased. If the package is heavier than 10 kgs, use a box that’s double-lined.

  • Try to keep items inside boxes from moving by packing them with cushioning. If you’re shipping glass or fragile objects, wrap them individually in bubble wrap, newspaper, or another cushiony material.

  • Try not to ship a package worth more than $2,500. Otherwise, it may be delayed as it travels through formal clearance.

  • Plan to have your shipped items arrive 2-4 days after you arrive—that way, they won’t arrive before you do.

Cultural items to pack

If you plan to be away from home long, you’ll want to bring any cultural or sentimental items that you might miss after time away. Here are some cultural items to throw in your bag:

  • Non-perishable foods or treats: If there are special teas, packaged noodles, snacks, or other foods you can’t live without, bring some along. These can also make excellent gifts for new friends or your host.

  • Pictures: It can be nice to have pictures of family, friends and your home to decorate your space. To save room in your suitcase, you might consider bringing digital versions and having them printed when you get settled in.

  • Recipes: This way, you can cook a meal and share your culture with your host family!

During your travel, keep the following items with you at all times. Do NOT ship them.

  • I-20 Form

  • Passport and Visa

  • School Acceptance Letter with the school address

  • Flight ticket

  • SRS Airport Pick-Up, Emergency and Host Family Contact Information

When you arrive at the airport customs in America, you should show the officer your:

  • I-20 Form Passport and Visa

  • School Acceptance Letter

  • Flight ticket

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