International Student College Checklist

If you’re moving to the United States for college, you’re probably excited and nervous at the same time — and we don’t blame you. To make the move a little easier, we’re going to list some of the important (and comforting) items that you should bring with you. 

This checklist for international students should give you an idea of what you still need to buy. There are items that you must bring from home and others that you can purchase once you arrive on campus. (If you bring everything along with you, you should definitely budget for baggage fees at the airport, as your bags will likely be over the weight limit.)

Ultimately, keep in mind that dorms are very different across, and even within, institutions — so you just may need to prepare for a comfortable setup. When you get there, you will likely have a bed, desk, and dresser, with just enough drawers to organize your belongings. For extra storage, it might be smart to store boxes under your bed; you probably will have items that don’t fit elsewhere, especially if you have several roommates. 


These should ideally travel in your carry-on, as you want to make sure they are safely stored. Before you head to the airport, make sure to photocopy each document and email them to yourself. 

  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • U.S. student visa
  • Health insurance documentation
  • Institution acceptance letter
  • Immunization forms
  • List of emergency contacts
  • Medical history

Supplies and Devices

You will be glad to have your devices, whether you’re studying for those midterms or missing your family and friends back home. You can also take the old-fashioned route and use stationary supplies to send letters back home. If you’ve decided to invest in new devices, you can go shopping as soon as you arrive, but these are necessary investments.

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Digital player
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Notebooks
  • Binders
  • Dividers
  • Printer
  • Ink
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Highlighters


If you want to balance your social life with classes, optimal sleep is essential. Bring along everything you need to keep you warm throughout the night — and during rainy days in your dorm room.

  • Comforter
  • Warm blanket
  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Rug

Bathroom and Cleaning

Some of these items may be purchased once you’ve arrived on campus, but these are everyday bathroom necessities to keep handy.

  • Laundry bag
  • Towels
  • Robe
  • Flip-flops (for the shower, especially if it’s a communal bathroom)
  • Container with bathroom products (carrying essentials) 
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Blowdryer
  • Iron
  • Soap
  • Face wash
  • Loofah
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste 
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Floss
  • Bandages
  • Alcohol pads
  • Eyedrops
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton swabs
  • Stain remover
  • Makeup (if necessary)
  • Air freshener
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Multivitamins
  • Prescriptions

Clothing Items and Accessories

It is challenging to narrow down which clothing items to bring, but if you will be visiting family during the breaks, you can always bring more during a later trip. As you get used to life on campus (as well as living in a dorm), make sure you wear outfits that make you feel comfortable and confident. Avoid overpacking by bringing only what you know you will wear. (You might even want to take this opportunity to declutter back home before you leave — and donate or sell what you don’t wear.)

  • Hangers
  • Business attire (dresses, blouses, suits)
  • T-shirts
  • Pants
  • Jeans
  • Sweats 
  • Pajamas
  • Sweatshirt
  • Swimwear
  • Sandals
  • Sneakers 
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Socks
  • Belt
  • Purse
  • Backpack

Mementos and Entertainment

When you’re feeling homesick (which is to be expected occasionally), it will be great for you to have these items on hand. 

  • Photo frame
  • Photo album
  • Board game
  • Cards
  • Books
  • Favorite mug


Ultimately, whether you’re moving from Latin America or an entirely different part of the world, this is going to be an adjustment — but you have so much to look forward to. Packing shouldn’t stress you out; you want to embrace this experience without any unnecessary roadblocks, so hopefully these tips will help you fully live out the experience.