Study in USA 101: Complete Travel Checklist For Indian Students

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Study In USAIt is that time of the year when many of you are in the final stages of your undergraduate studies and are preparing for your Master’s course in the USA. To study in USA is a dream come true for most Indian students. Once all the formalities to study in USA are complete, like securing admission into a university, arranging funds to study in USA, getting your student visa approved, etc., the next most important item on your travel checklist should be the packing part. Since you plan to stay for a longer duration in the US, it is all but natural for you to keep adding almost everything that has been part of your routine here in India, to your suitcase. However, being mindful about packing it light is one of the most important things to know before visiting America. 

One of the biggest challenges while packing for the USA or for any country that you may be planning to study or work in is knowing what is essential and what is not. Carrying your own things to the US is one of the best ways of limiting your daily expenses. In this way, you can reduce your education loan by disbursing almost half of the sanctioned living expenses by banks. This is one way of saving money while studying in the USA. If you have borrowed an education loan to study in USA, you must be aware that most government banks, as well as NBFCs, charge interest only on the disbursed loan amount. When it comes to saving money while studying abroad, students can greatly curtail their living expenses by spending less on certain items that can be carried from India. Getting your own things from India majorly contributes to reducing your living expenses during your stay in the USA. It is one of the very important things to know before visiting America. This article will give you the ultimate packing checklist for every student who plans to study in USA.


Documents Needed To Travel To USA

With the recent wave of modified immigration laws coming to action, it is always safe to carry all the documents needed to travel to USA. Here is a list of essential documents that all students who plan to study in USA need to keep with themselves to avoid any complications during their stay in the USA. Having a thorough knowledge of documents is one of the most important things to know before visiting America.

  1. Passport Xerox(5 copies)
  2. VISA Xerox (5 copies)
  3. I-20(5 copies)
  4. Air Ticket(2 copies)
  5. Original mark sheets + Degree Certificate (previous degree)
  6. Attested mark sheets + Degree Certificate (3 copies)
  7. Original transcripts + Degree Certificate (3 copies)
  8. Immunization form(specific to university)
  9. University-specific letters like admit, aid, forms.
  10. SEVIS fee receipt(3 copies)
  11. GRE Original + Xerox copies(5 copies)
  12. TOEFL Original + Xerox copies(5 copies)
  13. Final Year Project Report
  14. Syllabus Copies
  15. Recommendation letters

If you are looking for affordable resources to send your university transcripts to the USA, do check out this latest tie-up that DHL has with WeMakeScholars. You get to avail a 50% off on the international courier charges when you send your documents via WeMakeScholars.

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Packing list for Indian students to study abroad – Basic Essential Clothes

One can never have too many clothes, this is true in the case of many students who travel to the USA for their higher studies. However, when you have been assigned a limited budget, cutting down on buying more clothes will help you a great deal. Hence, here is the basic list of certain essential clothing that every student needs to carry to the USA.

  1. T-shirts (round neck) – 8
  2. T-shirts (with collar) – 3-4
  3. Jeans (stick to blue/black) – 6-7
  4. Formal shirts – 3
  5. Formal trousers – 2
  6. Undergarments – at least 15 pairs (very important)
  7. Formal suit – 1 complete set
  8. Ties – 2-3
  9. Shorts/three-fourths – 5-6
  10. Track pants – 2-3
  11. Swimming trunks – 1 (if you plan to swim after coming here)
  12. One traditional dress for festivals

When you plan to stay for a longer duration, i.e., to study in USA and to work there, the above list of clothes will definitely not suffice for that duration.

The general weight limit for baggage prescribed by most American airline brands is 2 pieces of luggage, each weighing not more than 23 Kgs.

So, you also need to ensure that while fulfilling this baggage requirement, you should not be carrying excess things. Apart from the essential list of clothes, many occasions may arise during your period of study in USA when you will be required to wear specific outfit for sports activities,  co-curricular activities, etc. Many students may have only a limited amount of money to spend and spending that amount on buying extra clothes could be futile. Here is a list of extra clothing that you may need to carry.

Travelling to USA Checklist For Indian Students: Extra Apparels
  1. Towels (any kind, but I would prefer Turkish(Or Tunisian) – 1 turkish,3 Simple
  2. Hand towels – 3-4
  3. Leather belts – 1-2
  4. Belt for jeans – 1
  5. Formal leather shoes – 1 pair
  6. Woodland all-weather shoes – 1 pair (very important)
  7. Sneakers (optional) – 1 pair
  8. Sports shoes (optional) – They are very cheap abroad. You will most probably have a pair already. Wear it and come. Wait till the Black Friday sales where you will get awesome pairs of shoes for cheap.
  9. Sunglasses – 1 pair (any good brand is okay)
  10. Socks – 6-7 pairs
  11. Sweater – 1-2 good warm ones
  12. A light jacket (you can get a thicker one once you land there)
  13. A good umbrella (don’t get the cheap ones, they can’t stand the wind)
  14. Handkerchiefs – 12 nos.
  15. Hawaii slippers – 1 pair (for wearing inside the apartment)
  16. Flip-flops – 1 pair (for summer and spring)
  17. Bedsheets – 2
  18. Blanket – 1 (optional)
  19. Pillow covers – 3
  20. A good wallet (leather) – 1
  21. A wallet for passport
  22. Shoe polish – 1 (don’t get liquid, might spill during travel)
  23. Shoe polishing brush – 1
  24. Monkey cap – 1

Essential Electronics to carry to the USA from India:

This list contains something which is very crucial to every millennial’s existence; Electronic gadgets. Getting access to a number of electronic gadgets that employ cutting-edge technology is one of the perks of getting to study in USA. However, you all know that buying one is not a cheap affair, especially in a country like the USA. Hence, till the time you become financially independent, here are a few basic electronic items that every student needs to put on the list of things to pack for USA from India.

  1. External HDD (get the portable one) – You might need this for bringing all those movies, music and files from back home. Minimum of 1 TB. Any brand is fine. Also, a decent pen drive, in case if you need to download any study material from official, online resources provided by your university/college in the USA.
  2. USB keyboard and mouse (optional) – gamers might need this. Even otherwise, it is a good thing to have. Get Logitech.
  3. If you already have a laptop, you may bring that. Even if it is quite old, preserve it till the Black Friday sales begin. There are numerous lucrative deals on electronic gadgets during the last two days of November every year in the USA.
  4. iPod/mp3 player (optional) – In case if you may need to travel/run using these. Also comes in handy for trying to look cool at airports! Jokes apart, these little musical companions are very useful during long travels.
  5. A small table clock with alarm functionality
  6. A scientific calculator (very important) Casio fx991MS or fx991ES .
  7. A good branded, decent wristwatch.
  8. Indian pin to US pin converters – 2-3.

Now, if you are not carrying a whole lot of extra clothes apart from the items listed in the clothing list given above and if you feel it necessary, then you can carry the following list of extra electronic gadgets as part of your luggage to study in USA.

  1. Digital Camera- For the photographer in you! Avoid buying cameras with AA batteries. Buy models with Li-ion batteries. Carry them only if you possess one with the above specifications.
  2. A good pair of headphones with mic: A lot of devices nowadays do not come with headphone jacks like the old days. Hence, buying a goof, wireless pair of headphones with good quality mics will come in handy. A better option would be to wait until the Black Friday sale starts.
  3. A branded spike-buster.
  4. An extra battery for your wristwatch.
  5. Blank DVDs (4-5)
Read More: USA Education Loan Process- 2019  

Travel to USA Requirements: Essential Personal Care Products

It is extremely important to understand the importance of personal hygiene, especially while studying abroad. The western concepts of hygiene may come as a shock to many first-time students who may not have travelled outside of the country before. Also, a lot of brands that are available in India may not be available in the USA and vice versa. Hence, it is always better to carry the personal care products which have become part of your routine while travelling to the USA.

Here is a list of certain personal care products which all students should carry while travelling to the USA.

  1. Toothpaste – one large tube. Brands also available in the US – Colgate, Close-Up, Pepsodent, Aquafresh (Note: The Pepsodent here is not the same as the Pepsodent in India, it is owned by a different company, not by Unilever. (This is a very important fact))
  2. Toothbrushes – 3-4
  3. Soap – 1-2 bars/ 3 bottles of Shower Gel. Again, you can buy them from the US. The following brands are also available in the USA – Dove, Palmolive and Pears. If you don’t use any of these brands, then better get used to them. No use bringing lots of soap bars from India.
  4. Shampoo – 1 bottle. Brands also available in the US – Head and Shoulders, Sunsilk, Dove, Pantene, Nizoral. Again, get used to any one of these brands.
  5. Shaving razor(for guys) – A couple of disposable ones.
  6. Shaving foam (don’t buy cream) – 1 small can
  7. Cold cream – 1 bottle
  8. Vaseline – 1 bottle
  9. Good clean combs – 2-3
  10. Comb cleaner/old toothbrush for cleaning the combs.
  11. Soap cases – 2
  12. Hair oil – 2 bottles
  13. Deodorant – 1 can
  14. Nail cutter – 2
  15. Earbuds – 1 small pack
  16. Sunscreen – 1 bottle
  17. Lip balm – 2 tubes

Travel to USA Requirements: Kitchen Essentials

Due to the high cost of living in certain university hostels, a lot of Indian students prefer to live outside the campus, in studio apartments or rent one with fellow students who stay outside. For such students, food is a major concern.

Most students who study in USA cannot afford to spend money on buying food, on a daily basis due to budget constraints. Hence, most of them prefer to cook their own dinner or lunch. In that case, getting some basic kitchenware from your home country will definitely come in handy!

Here is a list of kitchen essentials that you may need to carry if you plan on living in an accommodation which is outside university premises. This list will come in handy for people travelling to the USA for work purposes as well.

  1. Pressure cooker
  2. Pressure pan – 1. As far as possible, get both the cooker and the pan from the same brand so that you can interchange the gaskets and the weights.
  3. Medium size kadai for cooking vegetables – 1
  4. Serving spoons (of various sizes) – 3-4
  5. SS Plate – 1
  6. Kadai for boiling milk/water – 1
  7. Knives – 3-4
  8. Vegetable chopping board – 1
  9. Stainless Steel glasses/tumblers – 3
  10. SS spoons – 3-4
  11. Extra weights and gaskets for the cookers – 3
  12. Chapati roller – 1
  13. Butter knives – 2
  14. SS forks – 2
  15. Kadai for making sambar/dal – 1
  16. Tea strainer – 1
  17. Water bottle (preferably Tupperware) – 1

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Food Items Allowed to Carry to USA from India

This next list will tell you all about the food items allowed to carry to USA from India. When it comes to Indian Cuisine, one cannot limit it to a single dish. You may have observed a lot of students carrying delectable goodies from their homes while travelling to the USA. For students and working professionals who prefer eating homemade Indian dishes to eating out, the below list of ingredients and foods may come in handy.

However, you need to keep in mind the US immigration laws only allow certain food items on the flight. The items mentioned in the below list of food items allowed to carry to USA from India are to be packed in the prescribed quantities only. 

  1. Ready-to-eat paste: 5-6 bottles minimum.
  2. Rice: 3-4 kg for initial use
  3. Maggi: Maggi is a brand that has been restricted to Indian markets only. So if you are particular about this brand, then you may need to carry minimum 10-12 packets. You won’t get Maggi in any other stores in the USA except the Indian ones. So carry as much as you can.
  4. Some homemade sweets for yourself 
  5. Pickles: 3-4 bottles
  6. Some snacks:  how much ever you want, for the initial days
  7. All curry powders: Chilli, Garam Masala, Rasam, Sambar, Asafoetida and other spices that you may likely require while studying abroad – 0.5 to 1 kg each
  8. Lentils (whichever you prefer, mainly for lentil-based curries) – 2 kg each
  9. Salt and sugar – 0.5 kg each
  10. Papads: 2-3 packs
  11. Tamarind: 1 kg
  12. Ginger-garlic paste: 2 bottles
Read More: Abroad Education: Scholarship Vs. Self-funding Vs. Education loans


List of Medicines to Carry to the USA

It is extremely essential to keep a number of basic medicines handy as you do not get them without a valid prescription in the USA. Again, certain medicines which have been part of Indian households for ages together may not be available in the USA for immediate consumption.  Hence, having a stock of the following medicines will be very helpful during your stay in the USA.

  1. For Cold, Fever – Crocin
  2. Body Pain – Crocin, Combiflam
  3. Indigestion, Gastric Problems – Gelucil, Zantac
  4. Throat Infection – Erythromycin
  5.  Allergies – Avil .25
  6.  Vomiting – Avomine
  7.  Tooth Ache – Combiflam
  8. Cold, Head Ache – Amurtanjan
  9.  Stomach Pain – Cyclopam
  10.  Diarrhoea – Lopomide
  11.  Dizziness – Diziron
  12.  Sprain – Esgypyrin
  13.  Common Cold – Coldact, Vicks Vaporub

Packing List for Indian Students Going Abroad: Stationery required to study in USA

Smaller things which we generally tend to ignore often play an important role in any bigger process. The same can be said in the case of stationery items in the process to study in USA.  Do you remember all those times when losing a small marker was never a worrisome event for you in India? That won’t work once you reach the USA for further studies. Any expenses which are being utilised from the education loan amount are charged with interest to students who plan to study in USA with the help of an education loan. Hence, carrying the stationery items mentioned in the following list will help you in the long term during your study in USA.

  1. Pens – 3-4
  2. Notebooks – 2-3
  3. Pencils – 3-4
  4. Erasers – 3
  5. Sharpeners – 3
  6. Key chains – 2
  7. Staple machine – 1
  8. Pins – 2 boxes
  9. Glue sticks – 2
  10. Markers – 2
  11. Highlighters – 1
  12. A4 sheets – 1 quire
  13. Small ruler – 1
  14. Phone book – 1. Keep all your friends’ and relatives’ phone numbers written inside before you leave ( or use Google sync like a normal person)
  15. Cellophane tape – 1 roll

With this list, we have come to the end of a rather large number of things that students may need to carry when they are travelling to study in USA. If there are any items on these lists that may not seem very significant to you, do feel free to exclude them from your packing checklist. You may choose whichever is essential to your course in the USA and pack accordingly. Do stay tuned for the next article, which will tell you all about what happens when students who have already availed an education loan apply for a second one.

Note: WeMakeScholars is an organization funded and supported by the Government of India that focuses on International Education finance. We are associated with 10+ public/Pvt banks/ NBFCs in India and help you get the best abroad education loan matching your profile. As this initiative is under the Digital India campaign, it is free of cost. The organization has vast experience dealing with students going to various abroad education destinations like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, China, France among others.

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Bibliophile, wanderer, major foodie. I write too :)


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