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International Student Services


What to Pack

Because you'll be with us for at least a semester, packing is serious business! If you're flying, you're probably limited to two suitcases on a plane, but you want to be sure you bring those things that will make St. Ambrose feel like your "home away from home!" Here are some tips on packing the right things for your time here.

What to Pack

First, it's important to know what weather to expect in Iowa during your time here. For the fall semester, it will be hot at the beginning, gradually cooling, and possibly quite cold by the end of the semester. The spring semester is just the opposite, with very cold temperatures at the beginning, gradually warming to mild Spring temperatures by April and May.

  • Clothing on campus is informal. Jeans, sweaters, casual shirts, and jackets are common. In warmer weather, shorts and T-shirts are fine. For the winter, you will need heavy coats and boots for snow. If you do not have these, you can purchase them when you arrive. Clothing is readily available in a wide price range in the Quad Cities.
  • It would be a good idea to also bring a few nicer pieces of clothing too (skirts or dresses for women; trousers and button-up shirts for men). You may be invited to dinners or receptions, and you will want something more formal. 
  • Also, if you are able, bring some traditional clothing from your country. It is nice to share with your friends and at cultural events.
Contact Addresses

Bring contact information for family and friends so you can stay connected with home. Also be sure to bring contact information for your bank in case you have any problems with money transfers while you are here.


If you take medication regularly, bring a sufficient supply, along with a copy of the prescription. If you wear glasses, it's a good idea to bring an extra pair and a copy of your prescription.


You may be asked to present information about your home country, and it is useful to bring a flash drive, computer, or camera with photos from home on it.


Because you will likely find yourself invited to privates homes, it's a good idea to have several inexpensive but typical gifts to represent your country. Small and light gifts are the most practical. No one will expect anything big or expensive!


Many international students bring electronics, such as laptops, iPod, and cameras. Be cautious about the electrical conversion; not only is the voltage and shape of electric plugs different, the megahertz cycles are different. Bring converters and adapters if you choose to bring your electronics. For smaller items such as hair dryers, we suggest purchasing those here.

What NOT to Pack

  • Sheets, blankets, pillows: The sheet sizes in the US are probably different than what you use. Campus beds are extra long twin or single beds. If you live on campus, we will provide you with temporary university linens. You may purchase your own linens after you arrive.
  • Towels: We will also provide you with a temporary towel and facecloth if you are living on campus. You may purchase your own towels after you arrive.
  • Food: There are strict restrictions on products that can be brought in to the U.S. The best advice is to not bring any food with you except small items like gift chocolates or candies.
  • Too much: As difficult as it may seem, try to pack lightly. You will almost certainly be shopping during your time here, and no one will mind if you wear the same shirt or trousers quite often!

Whats Next

If you have forgotten something, don't worry! One of the very first things we will do is take you shopping. There is only so much you can can bring in your two bags, so we will help you to find any other items you would like to have here.