Before you read about what to bring to America, check out my last post What Not to Bring to America.
As you are packing to move to the U.S. as an international student, think through what items you won’t be able to buy here, what will bring you emotional comfort during a time of change, and what you might be able to share or have fun with in a new country!
What to bring to America:
Clothes for all seasons
Research the weather of the city you will be studying in. Pack outfits that will be appropriate for all different types of weather you might experience. Keep in mind that you might want to tour other areas while you are there, so even if you are studying in Miami, bring a warm jacket in case you decide to visit the Rocky Mountains.
Gifts for new friends
Consider bringing a few small gifts or souvenirs that are special to your country for the new friends you make in America. For example, a friend of mine from Nepal gifted me a beautiful silk scarf from her country.
Some medications can be expensive and difficult to obtain in the U.S. If you are able, bring a year’s supply of the medications you need. Make sure to transport them in their original packaging, and bring a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor to show at Customs.
Spices and non-perishable foods
Even though there are specialized grocery stores in America where you can shop for international foods (ask a local Bridges team member for a ride to one near you!) you still might not be able to find your favorite snacks and cooking materials. If you like to cook, pack a few of your favorite spices. You can also bring a few of your favorite snacks to eat when you’re missing home or to share with new friends!
Moving to a new country is an adventure, but it can feel lonely and stressful at times. When you’re packing to move to the U.S., make sure to include things that remind you of home. Pictures of family and friends to decorate your new home with are a great start. My study-abroad roommate brought a special blanket that her mom had made for her. Don’t be embarrassed to bring your favorite stuffed animal from when you were a kid!
Talent items or cultural costumes
When you are studying in America, you will have the opportunity to attend events like the Bridges International Vision Conference . At the Vision conference, there is a talent show and dance night. Students from all over the world show off their unique skills and many like to come to the dance party in a special cultural costume from home. If you are a master at playing the sitar, I think it is worth the trouble to bring it on the plane with you! And even if you don’t plan to wear traditional clothing from your country day to day, it is a lot of fun to break out for special events and festivals!
To sum up, when you’re packing to move overseas, make sure to bring items that might be hard to buy in your new country (like certain spices or medications), as well as items that are special to you or that express your personality and culture!