Studying in America and Canada  
7.1.2 Packing for the Trip

Keep in mind that you are packing for living, not for a vacation. Three basic categories are of interest: clothing, books and computer, and food.


You may wish to note that America and Canada are huge countries, each approaching 10 million square kilometers, bordered by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with and flat lands to mountains in between. The weather in America varies considerably from being extremely cold to extremely hot, depending on the location and season. Canada, being north of America, is generally colder than America. Except for some parts of the West, Canadian winters are brutal.

Suffice it to say that your clothing requirements depend on where you intend to live. You can check on the weather conditions that you are likely to face through the materials from your college or on the Internet.

Our recommendation is to bring just the basic necessities of life. How many undergarments you need, or how many shorts or pants or skirts you would need, is your decision. Coin-operated laundry facilities (washers and dryers) are readily available to make wash and wear an easy possibility.

You will be better off buying winter clothing and shoes in America or Canada because they are made for the harsh weather you would face if you are going to Canada, or to the northern or mid-western states in America. Moreover, the styles and fashions are different. Chances are that after living here for a while, you will want to wear local clothing as you adapt to the new environment.

If you are trying to pack more than the allowance for luggage on airlines, you are probably packing too much.

Books and Computer

Do not pack books or notes from the past. You may consider carrying a particularly favorite reference book, but that is the extent of packing books. You will not use these books. You are expected to buy books for your courses. Reference books are available from the college library. It is true that some of the same books are available in India at a substantially lower price. However, you would not know which books are required for your studies until your term begins.

Computing facilities in America and Canada are excellent. You will have virtually unlimited access. The role and use of PCs is extensive. Some programs of study require that you purchase a laptop. In many instances, students themselves decide that they need personal computer. There is no need to carry a computer from India, unless you have a spare laptop already available. Do not buy a laptop in India specifically for this purpose. Make your decisions upon arrival, after having explored the options available to you at your new college.


Do not carry food. Legally, food and agriculture items can not be brought into America or Canada without thorough official inspection. You are supposed to declare all food and agriculture items at the port of entry. Everything you ever wanted is available in America and Canada. Why would you want to increase the hassle of carrying these items and be subjected to additional questioning at the border?

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