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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. Shopping malls are accessible by public transportation 7 days per week.

Planning for changing weather

Michigan has four seasons. It is not uncommon for weather to change rapidly in Michigan. It is important that you prepare for this as much as possible. 

While the middle of the winter can be very snowy and cold, 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 that can be layered are the best choice, as it allows you adjust based on weather conditions. If you are coming from a climate without four seasons, there will be opportunities to buy weather-appropriate clothing at local shops after arrival.

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 easier to purchase winter gear (coats, boots, etc) upon arrival to campus. It sometimes helps to feel the weather so you know what items you will need based on your clothing preferences. We do recommend bringing a jacket at minimum though, as the temperature may be very harsh compared to what you are used to.

Make sure you bring layers for the changing weather: long-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, a raincoat, and a heavy winter coat.

Wearing a hat outside helps you (and your ears) stay much warmer when it is cold outside. 

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.

Waterproof footwear is also highly recommended. This will keep your feet warm and dry, particularly in the winter months when the ground is covered in snow and slush. 

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.


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 prior to arrival and have it waiting at their residence hall at the start of the semester. To find out your address you will need to log into the LiveOn website and sign your housing contract, if you have not already done so. Please also pay attention to notices from LiveOn regarding dates when they can start receiving packages for the semester. 

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

If your question is not answered here, contact us:

American Semester Program (Direct Enroll Students) and Short Course: american(at)
Exchange Students: msuex(at)