Before you pack, check with your airlines to see how much baggage you will be allowed to take with you. Usually, passengers are allowed 2 large bags that will be checked at the airport (dimensions vary depending on the airline) and 2 carry-ons that you can bring with you on to the plane. Contact your airline to find out how large these bags can be.
Original passport and visa, and a copy of your IAP-66 or I-20 form (this may be attached to your passport). Also make a copy of these documents to have with you in case the originals are lost or stolen.
Medical documents: Proof (in English!) of any immunizations you have had.
Certified copies of official diplomas and transcripts as well as recommendation letters in your native language and in English. You may want to apply for jobs, scholarships, or programs while you are in the US and it will be very difficult to get these documents once you have left your home country.
Bring a basic selection of clothes for each season. Check for weather conditions of the town you will live in before you leave, and bring clothes appropriate for other regions if you intend to travel. Remember that American students dress casually. You will need at least one formal outfit for special occasions.
Names and addresses/E-mail/fax numbers of family and friends:
Collect this information before you leave your home country! And don't forget to give out your address to your contacts here before you leave. If you don't have a permanent address, the international student office may be able to provide you with a temporary address at the university that you can use in the meantime.
Bring a few inexpensive gifts that are representative of your culture to share with new friends. Music, picture books, postcards, pins, and cookbooks are some suggestions.
Books are heavy, so only bring the ones you will absolutely need. Past students have suggested bi-lingual dictionaries (especially technical dictionaries pertaining to your field of study), basic texts and manuals that will be useful in your studies.
A small supply of familiar medication, such as pain relievers, that you are used to. If you have prescription medicines, you might want to bring a larger supply of those as well. Doctors in the US will not prescribe medications, even if you bring prescriptions with you, without a diagnosis. So, if you know you will need certain medications immediately, bring them.
Photos of friends, relatives and places you love.
Music cassettes, CD:
Music you enjoy and music that can be useful for cultural activities.
And Don't Forget:
• To prepare a "carry-on" travel bag with a change of clothes, important documents and personal articles you may need, in case your luggage is lost or temporarily misdirected during your journey.
• To label all luggage inside and out with your name (c/o your department or the international student office) and the name and address of your university destination.
• To take some spending money to cover incidentals during your trip. Bring enough for taxi fare, meals, and one night's stay in a hotel in case you are not met at the airport.