International Studies & Programs

What to Bring

There is a lot to prepare during this exciting time before you travel to East Lansing, Michigan. Below are a few ideas of what you may want to bring along for the adventure. Have fun!


As you start packing for your study-abroad experience you may find the following tips helpful. We are so excited to see you on MSU's campus soon!

Pack Lightly!

When you start thinking about what to pack and what luggage to take, be sure to also find out about airline luggage restrictions. In addition, you will have to carry everything yourself when you arrive, so make sure that your luggage can be easily managed. 

So, make sure to check the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, which list things you can't bring on the airplane with you.

Please also keep in mind that most students from Asia, Africa and Europe will have to use plug converters in the United States. You may want to get those before you travel. In addition, make sure you have all the necessary charger cables you need and check to make sure your electronics have internal electric currency converters.

If you realize there is something you need that you don't have, there are plenty of opportunities to buy things. The mandatory orientation event also usually includes trips to a supermarket and a shopping mall.

Planning for changing weather

Michigan has all four seasons and sometimes they all seem to occur on the same day! You will want to prepare for this - read up on Michigan weather online and maybe you can chat with friends or relatives who have been to climates similar to Michigan's before. It may not be possible to be prepared for everything, but it is good to prepare mentally.

While the middle of the winter can be very snowy and cool, the summer can be very warm. Late April to early October you will usually find warmer weather in Michigan, so it is important to also bring clothes for warm and cold weather. Clothes you could layer are likely the best choice as it allows you to adjust to temperatures more easily. Many of our incoming students do plan on purchasing a few (or more) clothes items, so that is certainly an option.

Also, don't forget your bathing suit! Lake Michigan isn't too far from East Lansing, and there are swimming pools on campus.

Winter Packing Tips

Many students from warm climates find it is easier to buy a winter coat and boots once they arrive in the United States. That way you know what the weather feels like and what you will really need to buy - sometimes a winter coat you purchase at home may not be enough for the Michigan winter. You will want to have at least some sort of jacket when you arrive though!

Make sure to have different layers for the changing weather: long-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, a raincoat, a heavy winter coat.

Wearing a knit hat outside helps you (and your ears!) stay much warmer when it is cold outside. Many students purchase an MSU hat when they need it, but you may want to consider bringing one.

If you aren't used to breathing cold air, you should use a scarf to cover your mouth when you are outside on very cold days.

It's important to have good footwear for walking on campus when it is snowy, otherwise your feet get wet and cold.

Packing for all occasions

Most MSU students dress very casually in jeans and t-shirts when they go to class. Students may dress up a little more when they go out at night.

It is recommended you bring at least one semi formal outfit in case you are invited somewhere with a new American friend, or your class requires you dress formally for a special presentation.

Things from home

Many of our incoming short-term students like to bring some pictures or items from home to decorate their room in the residence hall. This will help especially during days when you may be feeling a bit homesick. Having something that comforts you at home will be wonderful to have during your study abroad program.

In addition, consider packing a few small gifts or souvenirs from your home to share with people you meet in the United States. It will be nice to share your customs and culture with others during your program.

Valuables

While the residence halls are very safe, it is smart to avoid bringing irreplaceable objects with you on study abroad. You will want to consider bringing only those items you will absolutely need during your program.



When traveling

When traveling, do not pack anything valuable in your checked baggage. Keep all medications in your carry-on bag. Some people like to keep basic toiletries and a change of clothing in their carry-on bag in case their checked bag does not arrive on time.

Be sure to look at the luggage restrictions for the specific airline(s) you will be flying with!

Shipping things to MSU before arrival

Sometimes, students find it helpful to ship a package to themselves to have it waiting for them when they get here. It is probably easiest for you to send this shipment directly to the residence hall you have been assigned to. To find out your address you will need to please log into the iliveon website and sign your housing contract, if you have not already done so. In addition, you will also need to keep an eye on the e-mails you are receiving from iliveon, because there is usually a set date after which these packages can arrive on campus.

It may be possible to ship smaller items to the International Partnerships Office as well. To make sure we can receive items, please e-mail us at american(at)msu.edu. It is important to note that we have limited office space and that students will need to pick up their shipments from our office, which is located close to the Spartan football stadium on MSU's campus.

Students who have questions about shipping items to campus before arrival should please e-mail american(at)msu.edu!


If your question is not answered here, contact us:

American Semester Program (Direct Enroll Students): american(at)msu.edu
Exchange Students: msuex(at)msu.edu

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