What to Bring
Most Florida colleges and universities are located in urban or suburban settings. This is convenient for you. You can buy most of what you need after your arrival. Best of all, many international students are pleased to find that things they need to buy here are less expensive in the U.S. than at home. Depending upon your place of origin, some students find the selection has more variety.
Therefore, fill your suitcases with your personal items:
- Clothing-Florida has a subtropical climate, but there is some variation within the state. In general, Florida has two seasons:
- Wet season-June 1 through mid-October: hot and humid with an afternoon thunderstorm
- Dry season-mid-October through May-cooler and drier. The northern portion of the state gets cooler than the peninsula. Most of the year the temperatures will fall between 20-30 degrees Celsius.
Shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops are the Florida uniform. You will definitely need a bathing suit and beach/pool towel. However, a few pair of long pants, a few long-sleeve shirts, and a light jacket will come in handy. Florida's buildings are air-conditioned and sometimes feel a bit cold. You will also need them in the dry season. Again, it is best to wait until you arrive, determine what you will need, and shop for items here.
- Comfortable shoes
- One semi-formal outfit for a dressier occasion
- Jewelry and other valuables - do not bring expensive jewelry and other valuable items that you do not NEED with you. American college campuses are generally safe, and most students are kind and trustworthy. However, it only takes one dishonest person to take something that you may be unable to replace.
- Prescription medications (for one month-bring your prescription with you so it can be filled in the U.S.)
- Favorite snack items unique to your country
- A few souvenirs unique to your country to use as thank you gifts
- One outfit traditional to your country-many universities celebrate their international students with events at which you will want to wear something traditional from your country.
- A few photos of your family and friends
- A dictionary translating your language to English and visa versa-one small enough to carry with you will be most convenient
- If you are a player of a specific sport that requires a piece of specific equipment, you may want to bring it. For an example: a tennis racquet, golf clubs, swim goggles, etc.
Shipping Your Belongings
If you plan on bringing a lot of possessions, you may want to ship a package to your college or university in advance. Send your package so that it does not arrive more than four weeks before you do. Make sure that you pack these items to be shipped in a strong box. Then, place a slip of paper with your name and home address inside the box, in case it is damaged in transit. You may be able to have your packages stored at our campus until your arrival. Check with your host institution before you make these arrangements.
Before You Travel
- Make two sets of copies of important documents (i.e. passport, visas, insurance card. Leave one set of copies with a trusted person and bring an extra copy with you. Keep this set of photocopies in a separate bag from the originals. The originals should travel with you in your carry-on.
- Fill any necessary prescriptions, but bring the actual prescription with you. A pharmacy near your campus will be able to fill your prescriptions.
- Check the number of allowed baggage pieces and their weight limits with your airline and pack slightly beneath the weight limit. Airlines weigh baggage upon check-in and excess baggage charges can be very high.
- Reconfirm flight with airline at least 48 hours in advance.
- Agree upon communication schedule with family, especially for arrival.
- Be sure to inform the International Student Service Offices at the institution/program you will be attending of your travel plans, and make arrangements for transportation from the airport to campus.
Documents and Legal Items
- Supporting financial documents
- Airline tickets
- Banking information and credit card
- Insurance information
- Photocopies of important documents (passport, visa, insurance card, etc.)
- Extra passport-sized photos
- Phone card
- Emergency contact information
- Contact information of person you are meeting in the airport
- Luggage lock and tags
- Your I-20 form
- Your I-94 card
- Your admission letter
- US currency