Let's start packing

There are so many things one needs to carry, as this is the first time you are going abroad. If you have a friend who is going to the same university, for the same semester, it is better to share few things. This saves space as well as money. We have listed the most common things that your seniors have carried and suggest you do. We not only tell you what to carry, but also how much to carry vis-à-vis the quantity of each item. Many commodities like clothes, footwear, leather items, and other miscellaneous things are expensive in US. Therefore, it is a must that you go through all categories and make a note of these things in the form of printout before you begin shopping to ensure that you don't miss something.


In Portland, summers are short, warm, dry and mostly clear and the winters are very cold, wet and overcast. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 36 F (2 Celsius) to 84 F (29 Celsius) and is rarely below 26 F (- 3 Celsius) or above 95 F (35 Celsius).

  • Jeans: 4-6

  • Shorts and Bermuda: 7-8

  • Night clothes: 3-4 pairs

  • T-Shirts: 7-8

  • Formal suit & Ties: 1 pair

  • Traditional/Ethnic outfit: 2-3 (You will have at least 9-10 occasions to wear them)

  • Undergarments: 12-15 pairs

  • Socks: 10-15

  • Sweaters: 1-2

  • Thermal Wear: 2-3 pair

  • Winter gloves: 1 pair (US

  • Muffler and monkey cap

  • Rain Jacket: Don't bring. Everyone buys their jackets(All weather) when they come here. It's better, cheaper and more stylish!

  • Belts: 1-2

  • Handkerchiefs

  • 2 Turkish towels and 2 napkins

  • Trousers: 1 (I never needed it)

  • Shirts: formal, Causal and Half Sleeves (Again, this is optional and not required)

  • Umbrella: 1

  • Bed sheet: 2-3 (Queen bed size)

  • Sport shoes: 2

  • Formal shoes: 1 pair (Optional)

  • Slipper: 1 pair


Depending on whether you guys plan to cook alone or with your housemates, since most people don't get time to cook daily. Also keep in mind that all of the apartments here have electric coils, try to buy flat bottom vessels as much as possible. If planned to cook together with the roommates and your roommates are decided to share the utensils to be brought here as it reduces the weight in your baggage. You can also get the utensils here from Walmart.

  • Plates - 2

  • Glass - 1

  • Cups and bowls (Steel or plastic, microwave usable). For cereals, sweets you prepare very rare!

  • Forks: 3-4

  • Spoons: 6

  • Serving spoons have a wide variety – For curry, sambhar, dosa, rice, chapathi, deep fry

  • Couple of cooking vessels – Have thick and flat bottom vessels, since in US most of the apartment has flat electric stoves

  • Pressure cooker – 3/5 liters. You will need 5 liters if you are cooking in a group. Spares rings and valves and whistles. This is costly here

  • Non-stick frying pan with turner. For making chapathis, rotis, dosas.... Buy a good one!

  • Flat kadai (non-stick) small for tadka and medium for curries (2 people), large (4 people)

  • Tongs and knives. 1 or 2 each. Buy reasonably strong ones!

  • Cutting board for vegetables. Get a good one!

  • 2-3 Spatulas while using non-stick vessels that fit into each other and that preferably have handles

  • Pressure pan (Prestige), ask your prospective roommate to get one too

  • Utensils holder (You can get one in Dollar tree here (Where each item costs one dollar)

  • Dosa pan - If you are interested in making them

  • Laddle for making chapathis

  • Good lunch boxes (3 no) to pack food when you are going to library or taking food for friends! Make sure this is microwave safe!

  • Plastic containers with relevant spoons (Small, medium, large). To store masala items, dal, sugar, etc. (You can get them in Walmart and dollar tree)

  • Water bottle: 1 (For initial use)

Food items

Some of the common food items that students carry are depending on what you cook the most!

  • Spices (Generally required for making pulav, biriyani and other recipes)

  • Red chilli powder (If you make lot of curries)

  • Daniya powder

  • Garam masala powder

  • All other masala powders which you don’t use regularly like chat masala, chana masala, rajma masala, Jal jeera and Pav Bhaji etc (You won’t have a lot of time to do all this during the terms, also you get all of these in Indian stores in reasonable price

  • Turmeric / Haldi

  • Mustard,cumin, channa dal, urad dal (Tadka items in small quantity till you visit Indian Mart!)

  • Red chillies, pepper etc

  • Instant masalas like maggi etc

  • Indian Tea/coffee powder, if you are a regular drinker (until somebody shifts to beer)

  • Pickle bottles (Well sealed)

  • Papad, wheels, boti etc

  • Snacks for your seniors? Just kidding, or not :)

  • If you prefer South Indian Food
  • Sambhar powder (More, if you plan to make sambhar regularly)

  • Bisi bele bath powder (Tastier and easier to do compared to other dishes)

  • Puliyogare powder/ gojju / paste

  • Rasam powder

  • Dry fruits

  • Variety of powders like chutney, parappu etc

  • Instant upma, avul, Pongal, dosa whatever else you can get (Quantity depends!) This comes in handy for breakfasts, exam times, and when you need variety! Take our words, Upma becomes your newfound love! Get the instant mixtures where you will just do as little work as possible for preparing the dish.

  • Tamarind if you are used to eating sambhar regularly!

  • Most Indian foodstuffs are available at the Indian stores which includes maggi, vermicelli etc! Don't come with foodstuffs like rice, salt, sugar etc as you may have problem with customs (Also they are very cheap here). While at customs, tell them you have got instant food! Tell them that you don’t have any liquid/ semi-solid food items! Try to get "instant" stuff, as people don't have much time for cooking in the US.

Stationary items
  • Passport holder

  • Shaving kit and blades (get a good stock, they are costly in US)

  • Brush and Toothpaste(Prices are almost double in US - Get good one

  • Soap (get a couple of bars of bathing soap till you go for the first groceries in US)

  • Combs and hair oil (if you use hair oil get a year's supply of your favourites)

  • Nail cutter

  • Small scissor, safety pin bunch, mini sewing kit with some buttons

  • Scrub 2 (till you for the first shopping)

  • Rubber band, 1 packet (Thick and thin ones)

  • Scientific calculator (Get this if you have one, don't buy a new one)

  • Passport and stamp size photos (6 each) not used much here at all. Just in case!

  • Small backpack

  • Soap box 1 (Unless you use liquid soap, soaps are expensive here


Luggage is the essential thing one must buy. This must be done after proper planning as luggage is an expensive item and is to be retained for years, now that you will be doing lot of traveling in flight. Bags: 2 large size suitcases. Invest in a good cabin bag with wheels. You will mostly use whenever you go for short trips!


Carry all documentation safely and have photocopies to back you up - letter from University, mark sheets, etc. (the visa stuff basically). Things to get photocopied: Make three sets of the following copies, keep one set at home and take the remaining two sets with you

  • Visa

  • Degree marks sheets, convocation of Under graduatation

  • I-20 and acceptance letter from the university

  • Take all the I-20's with you have more than one

Money to be taken with you other than your fee requirement. You may have to take $1000-$2000. This you can get from Thomas Cook/American Express and of course any Foreign Exchange bank like SBI, SBH, and IOB etc. Do this after you buy your ticket. And remember! Take major part of the money in Travel card or TC's. The typical combination is 500 – 1000 $ in traveler’s card, and $100 in cash. A combination of notes (1$, 5$ and 20$) and coins

Don't worry, if you can't bring any of the stuff listed above - most of the items are available cheap in the US. Exceptions are leather goods, formal wear. In a month or two you will be able to get anything you want.