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The RIT Packing List for International Students

Jo Qiao on Monday, 20 February 2017. Posted in International Students, Residence Life, Student Life

As an internation student from China, packing up for college was a challenge especially since my travel time is so long. If you want to check out what you should pack as an out of state student, Andrea, another student ambassador has written the packing list for RIT, you can check her blog at this link:

International travel definitely has more limitations and this post will provide some tips and tricks that I learned from my experience. The travel and packing situation might vary from other countries. 

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The first thing to consider are the suitcases.  Usually you are limited with 2 free check-in bags and 1 carry-on bag.  However, some airlines only allow 1 free check-in bag. You can get the information from the airline website. 

Second, you will want to make sure that you have a large and sturdy suitcases since they will probably be “abused” during the international transition. Some airline companies will regulate the weight of each bag, so you should check this information before packing. Generally the rule of thumb is to bring larger suitcases rather than smaller ones. Filling the whole suitcase can overload the weight but you can counteract that by packing light items in the suitcase to balance them out.

The third tip I have is  to decide if you want to buy stuff or bring it with you. Andrea’s blog shares a comprehensive packing list. However, if you decide to travel lightly, my packing list might be a good reference as well. I would also like to point out that it is recommended to buy in the US since you won't have to bring as much and it might be cheaper. 

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Personal Items:

  • Your FAVORITE pieces of clothing
    • You really do not need to bring a lot of clothes because I believe buying clothes in the US is a lot cheaper than in China. Unless you have a petite body build, you would want to bring more clothes since the clothes size in the US tends to be larger. For petite girls, you also want to bring bras because of the larger clothing size.
  • Winter clothes (jackets, boots, gloves, scarf, hat, etc.)
    • If you’re from a warm place that never experiences cold weather, I highly recommend you to buy winter clothes in Rochester since the clothes are a lot heavier and easier to find. You can also purchase winter gears in the U.S. if you don’t want to fit heavy clothes in your suitcases.
  • Rain clothing (umbrella, rain jacket, and rain boots)
    • Can be also purchased in the U.S.
  • Laptop with charger
    • I believe you can use the same MacBook charger in the U.S.. The US voltage is 110V. If you have another brand computer/laptop, you might need to look into if they can be used with 110 voltages.
  • Phone and Phone charger
    • You can use any unlocked phones in the U.S.. The iphone charger from China can also be used in the U.S. but you might have to check chargers of other brands. 
  • Anything that you have attachment of
    • Family pictures, pictures of your pet- it really helps your nostalgia when you are abroad.
  • Glasses and extra contact lenses
    • In the U.S., you have to go to the doctor to get contact lenses prescription. I usually buy a bunch of extra ones and bring them. 


Bedroom items:

  • Comforters and pillows
    • If you are used to your old comforters or pillows, you might want to bring them. However, if it is not a must do not bring them. You probably need a heavy comforter for Rochester’s winter weather.
  • The bed size in RIT dorms is very different than in China (it’s XL twin size), so I suggested you to purchase bed sheets when you arrive. The bed size can be found in this link:
  • The items that you might need to purchase:
    • Desk lamp
    • Storage containers
    • Floor lamp
    • Fridge
    • TV (if you need one)
    • Any decorative items

Bathroom items

  • Cosmetics and beauty products
  • You can basically purchase any toiletry items in the U.S. Do not recommend to pack since the liquid product might leak or burst during the transition. However, if you use the certain brands that are not sold in the U.S., you might want to bring them. You rarely find Korean and Japanese beauty products in Rochester, so you can bring some of those.
  • Things you might need to buy in the US:
    • Shower caddy
    • Towels
    • Toiletries
    • Slippers (or bring them)
    • Blow dryer (don’t bring this since the voltage is different)

Food items:

  • Any home food that you will be missing
    • I wish I brought more Chinese snacks, however you can get some of them from the Asian market here. 

School supplies:

  • Backpacks or purses
  • Pens (recommend to buy pens in China since they are way cheaper and easy to pack)
  • Art supplies (highly recommend to bring art supplies since they are a lot cheaper in China)


  • Bring the ones that you use in a daily basis. You can get over the counter medicines in the U.S. However if you want specialized medicines like Chinese Herbal, it's hard to find in here. 
  • It's not a MUST but you might want to bring a few common medicines that you are used to. You can use them until you get famarized with the drugs in the U.S.

Important things to remember for international student:

  • I20 form (signed)
  • Passport
  • Some USD cash but not too much
  • Ear plugs for the plane ride
  • Do not bring the currency of your country to the U.S.

Generally speaking, it depends on how much you are willing to bring for traveling and your budget for expenses. The small items like school supplies are cheaper in China whereas clothing and other stuff are cheaper in the U.S.. If you decide to bring more than the limited free suitcase amount, you might need to pay extra money to check in the bags. It is usually very hard to travel when you bring a lot of bags. I wish I had not brought that much stuff since it is such a pain to transport them.