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Deciding what to pack for a semester or entire year of exchange can be difficult. Here are some general guidelines and tips.

Students in the U.S. tend to dress quite informally. It is acceptable to wear jeans, t-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts and athletic wear to class.  A good raincoat and umbrella are necessary, and a medium-coat for cold weather is a must! You will not need heavy winter clothing in North Carolina, unless you wish to travel during winter or early spring.

Student tip: Don’t forget a pair of flip-flops or shower shoes to wear in the community bathrooms of the residence halls!

The U.S. uses 100v electrical current. Small electrical items such as hair dryers, electric shavers, and razors are relatively cheap and can be purchased upon arrival. We strongly encourage all students to purchase an adapter or converter before arrival in the U.S.

Bed linens, pillows, blankets, and towels are not provided for students, but can be purchased upon arrival.

Student tip: Bring at least one sheet, blanket and towel for the first couple of days and buy the rest later in the week during Orientation. 

Don’t fill up your luggage! Students may borrow a variety of equipment from the University Recreation Center on campus.

If you are bringing prescription medications, be sure they are labeled and in their original containers. Bring a copy of any necessary prescriptions using the generic name of the medication. Prescriptions may be filled by the Student Health Service’s pharmacy on campus or nearby pharmacies.

You will need to carry the following documents with you in your carry-on bag, NOT in your checked bags:

  • Valid Passport With Your J-1 Visa
  • DS-2019 Form
  • Supporting documentation that you showed to the United States Embassy to obtain your visa.

Getting to NC State

The Raleigh-Durham (RDU) International Airport is located about 15 miles away from NC State University and the surrounding area. There are several transportation options available from the RDU Airport to NC State University,  including public transportation, airport shuttle services, and taxis. More information about getting to campus can be found here.

You will receive information about housing check-in to your NC State email address. You can also find information about moving into campus here. If you are living off-campus, you will need to communicate with your apartment to schedule your move-in.

Let your family and friends know that you arrived safely. You can access a map of computer labs on campus here. To use a campus computer, you will need your Unity ID and password, which is included in your orientation packet. If you forgot your password, you can email to have it reset. 

Add your devices to the secure NC State Wifi. Instructions can be found here.

The student ID card is used to identify you as a member of the NC State community, and is used to access services around the campus, including meal plans, gym access, and the library.  Instructions can be found on the One Card webpage. Be prepared to provide your student id number to pick up your card and you may also be asked to show photo id as well (like your passport).

There will be many things to buy – from your books to items for your room.  There is a Target store on Hillsborough Street, a close walk from campus.

If you’re interested in purchasing a cell phone or in getting a new SIM card, we recommend searching online for the best mobile plans. Previous students have recommended AT&T and Boost Mobile family plans and Mint Mobile. The Target on Hillsborough Street is a popular destination for international exchange students seeking a cell phone or SIM card. 

It is recommended that you open a US bank account for the duration of your exchange if you will be living off-campus. There is a PNC Bank inside Talley Student Union. Wells Fargo (on Hillsborough Street) and Bank of America (on Oberlin Road) are also close to campus and have worked well for students in previous semesters. You will need your student ID card, passport and visa documentation, and local address in order to open an account. Be sure to ask about any fees or charges that may be involved in your account, and don’t forget to close the account before you return home!

All students have the option of getting a meal plan through University Dining. More information can be found here

NC State requires students to complete their immunization requirements before arriving on campus. To ensure compliance with North Carolina immunization laws, all students have 30 days to submit official copies of their immunization records, complete the Health History form and Tuberculosis (TB) Screening form online via Healthy Pack Portal. You can find more information about Immunizations and Tuberculosis (TB) Test Requirements on the Student Health Services website. 

Follow the steps to enroll or waive the GeoBlue Health Insurance. If you choose to waive out of Student Blue, you MUST have alternative health insurance that meets the minimum requirements for J1 visa holders. If you do not waive out of Student Blue, you will be automatically enrolled and charged.

You can find your list of textbooks required for your courses through MyPack Portal by selecting “Class Schedule” then “View my Books” at the bottom of the page. You can then choose whether you would prefer to buy your books online or in the NC State Bookstore. Familiarize yourself with your class schedule. 

You will have a busy schedule over the next few days. Take time to rest, drink water, eat well, and adjust to your new surroundings.