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For Students Coming to US from Bangladesh- version 1.

6
This document primarily contained only the list of necessary things. The list was prepared by me in December 2012 while I was preparing to go to Arizona
for my PhD. The first online lists (version 1.1 to 1.3) were for helping the students who are coming to the Southern parts of US (where the minimum
temperature is higher) - Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, may be California, Nevada, Mississippi etc. From version 1.4, I have made a significant
change by updating the list even for northern parts of US (so may be good for Canada too) and adding some key-points in the advice section. I also added a
to-do list before beginning the journey which should help the students who are going abroad for the first time by plane. Most of the students should find it
useful with a few modifications.
Notes:
After coming here, I updated my own list and made a few changes from my experience. I will try to make another update later if necessary.
In the to-buy list there are two columns for prices to keep a track of the total cost incurred. I myself couldnt keep the track though
I tried to mention the minimum/optimum quantity according to my judgment. Consider issues like total weight, necessity and other things for packing
your own luggage and then decide how many you need or if you need it at all.
Most of the things mentioned are available (but costly) in US. So you may opt to buy them here instead of bringing a lot of luggage.
As I came to Arizona, I didnt have to bring the winter dress for northern parts of US mentioned in the list. These dresses are heavier; so if you are
going to the Northern parts, you have to choose wisely what you select to leave behind from the rest of the list. I think for this you may leave some
things from the normal dress list if you are having weight problems.
Other than the winter dress section, rest of the to-buy list is good enough for everyone.
After publishing the first few versions, people repeatedly asked me how much money they should bring in cash to US if they are funded (RA or TA).
From my experience, I think you should bring like $ 2500 if you are coming with own laptop and $ 3000 if planning to buy a laptop here (depending
upon your house rent and other fees mainly). I have kept a good margin here, you will not need so much but it is better to bring some more than you
need. You will have expenses like school fees (yes, still some extra fees are there in most of the schools even if your tuition is waived), house rent, for
buying a lot of things to start and if unlucky enough, may be hotel rent too.
I also received some messages asking how much money might be needed to buy the things I mentioned in the list. I cannot reply to this directly as the
price may vary a lot on the quality and the place where you are buying it from. Just remember that the same quality goods can be bought at a very
different rate in various markets. Anyway, overall the cost is huge (sevis fee- $ 200 + visa application fee- probably BDT 14000 around+ to be
brought to US - $ 2500/3000+ Flight cost (?) + Expenses for things, vaccine, luggage etc. should easily go beyond BDT 100000 or 120000.
Comments mentioned here are absolutely personal and everyone should use his/her discretion. No responsibility is taken if anything goes wrong

Advice:
Check your varsitys website to find any recommended vaccination. Take those vaccines earlier. There is a minimum gap between the doses and some
vaccines have 2 doses.
Check the weather of the whole year of your intended state.
Always try to talk or communicate with the students living in that state for their specific suggestions.
Dont buy from the first shop/store- Check Market prices first; dont rush. Start your marketing as early as possible.
Dont buy things of poor quality especially for shoes, backpacks, dress (I am not suggesting to go for the most extravagant either).
Question yourself about buying dress. Remember that you can end up buying clothes that you may never wear or may not feel comfortable or cozy
enough to wear after coming here. (Also in specific times of the year you will get chance to buy clothes at a cheap rate after coming in US). The
bottom line is: Dont pack your bags with too many unnecessary clothes; rather bring your favorite books or other things of use.
Try to make the living arrangements before arriving in US. If you are thinking of living in campus housing, then you should contact your varsity
beforehand for finding suitable ones (remember campus housing is costly most of the time) Ask for help from seniors for their advice and if you want
to look for apartments, they are your guide in this. In US you have to sign a deal for leasing apartments (can be done over internet by filling up a
form, signing and then scanning and sending it by emails) and it can be done from Bangladesh if someone pays the necessary money to the apartment
owners on behalf of you. This will save a lot of trouble for you because otherwise you may need to stay with seniors or rent hotels.
For People who are experiencing their first flight:

(a) Primary Concentration


Always contact multiple travel agents for booking a flight. If it is your first journey, you should try to minimize your total journey time though it
might be more costly sometimes. Always contact the experienced people who live in your state to know about these things as they know the specific
problems associated with different airlines. After you fix a date, confirm your ticket (in this part you pay the money) as early as possible to save extra
charge (the price of the tickets go up as the intended date approaches closer) and dont forget to cancel the other extra bookings or otherwise all of
them might be cancelled automatically by the system.
When you are making the booking, make sure that you are allowed to carry 2 main luggage for the whole journey. Suppose you are going to a small
city in a state US. Your journey will be normally like this: From Dhaka to x international airport where you wait and change planes and go to y
airport in US (There are mainly 4 international airports or y airports for people to arrive in US). After arriving at y airport, you take a domestic
plane and go to z airport in your intended city. Now the problem is if your travel agent is not careful enough, you might have to pay extra money for
luggage because some domestic airlines dont allow people to take 2 main luggage. So make sure that even the domestic airlines will allow 2 main
luggage when you are booking and confirming the ticket. Read the e-ticket carefully to know about luggage specification and food options.
The standard delay or waiting time between changing planes in an airport is 3/4 hours. Whenever you are booking or confirming a ticket, make sure
that the time difference is never less than 3 hours between your landing from one plane and the reporting time for 2nd plane. There might be a delay in
landing of your first plane and you can end up missing the next plane. Also avoid a long waiting time of 8/10 hours if possible.

Make sure that your chosen airlines is allowing you to carry two 23 kg luggage (main luggage which you will place in a conveyor belt after arriving
at the airport and receive after reaching US), one hand-carry and one backpack for laptop (you will carry these two with you all the time during the
entire journey in the plane and intermediate airports). I found a very exceptional case where after arriving at the Dhaka airport they didnt allow the
student one hand-carry and one backpack; rather only one. So it is better to call the airlines branch in Dhaka before confirming the ticket and ask
them if they have any problem with one hand-carry and one separate laptop backpack.
After confirming the air ticket, go for the dollar endorsement preferably within 2 weeks after buying ticket. No need to run to banks for endorsement,
a reliable money exchange is enough for this and buying the dollars (but make sure that you dont have a fake dollar, even the banks sometimes gives
fake ones). Try to carry some changes (some 1$, 5 $) which will help you in the airports.
You cannot endorse more than $ 200 or $ 500. If you have any familiar person in some bank, you might even endorse like $ 1000. Remember that
endorsement is just a formality for paperwork and you can carry whatever amount you like less than $ 5000. And it is not like that the unendorsed
money is illegal; so dont be afraid if one of your friends endorsed $ 1500 and you only endorsed $ 200; it wont harm you anywhere.
Some people opt for travel check for bringing money, I dont find any reason behind that if you can safely keep the money with you and people here
are not looking to rob you either, just dont drop it in some place. Never keep all your eggs in the same basket as the popular saying goes.

(b) About buying Luggage, Backpack


You can carry two 23 kg luggage, one hand-carry and one backpack for laptop (but nobody ever checks for laptop) for economy class in a plane.
Check dimensions for each luggage (normally length+width should not cross 62 inches for main luggage and 2214 9 for hand-carry). For
hand-carry and backpack, they dont measure the weight; only the size should be exact. So make the best use of all 4 luggage.

Buy trolley type (never a suitcase type) and try to buy the lighter ones (sometimes even heavier luggage looks lighter if the handle is very nice one so
you can be easily deceived). When you go to the market ask for 28 trolley as main luggage and 20 for hand-carry. Check the market/s for 2 days
before buying. Remember the wheels under the trolley have to be strong. Avoid the hard body-trolleys as they might break easily. Dont buy very
expensive ones, good quality luggage is very cheap in US and once you get here, you can buy them easily.
Buy the hand-carry very carefully. Remember if you are visiting other states, most of the airlines will allow you only this so it should be good looking
and also robust enough for repetitive use. The handle and wheels should be strong.
Buy a good quality and good looking backpack (Pierre Cardin is the best choice). Remember that you will carry it everyday with your laptop.

(c) The Red Letter Day/ night


Leave a photocopy of all of the documents in each pack of 4 luggage you are carrying and the main copies in the backpack.
Dry food can be carried in the main luggage, wet food is sometimes seized by the customs in US. Also any type of corns (rice etc) are

forbidden. So if you still want to carry some- the authority have the right to seize it- sometimes some lucky people get escaped though.
Sometimes there is a mishap with luggage i.e. after your total journey is over, you may not receive your luggage at the last airport. This is

quite common, so pack in such a way that your hand-carry and backpack will be enough for you to start your life for first 3/4 days.

It is perfectly OK to bring knives & metal equipments for cooking but you must pack them in the main luggage, not hand-carry/backpack
I have met people who have really missed planes due to traffic jam, so try to reach the airport a lot earlier before the reporting time.
If you dress formally (wear suit and formal shirt with black jeans and shoes), it saves a lot of space (also weight) in luggage.
Regardless the weather outside, you will feel a little bit cold inside an airport and the plane. So I would suggest carrying a jacket or other warm cloth
on the back or in the backpack/ hand-carry so that you can take it out for use whenever you feel cold.
I suggest carrying dollar, passport, boarding pass and other small necessary things in a small waist pouch as they will be needed frequently for
checking and it would be tiresome if you have to open your backpack for everything.
Just after reporting at the airline counter in the airport, you will receive your boarding pass/passes from your airlines officer. Ask the officer how
many boarding passes he is giving you; normally he should give you at least two passes; one for Dhaka to x international airport in another country
and one pass for traveling from x airport to y international airport in US. Carry all parts of all your boarding passes till the end of your journey.
They have the authority to check for it anytime and can deny you any entrance without a pass.
Your specific seat is not mentioned in the ticket. When you are taking the boarding pass, you might ask the airline officer for a specific seat. If you
are traveling with friends you can sit together. Or if you want to sit by window for views in daytime, you can ask for a window seat. My suggestion
is to avoid window seats if it is a night journey because every time you want to go somewhere, you have to wake up your fellow passenger, so it is
better to ask for a seat in the aisle so you can go out whenever you like.
If you have specific food choice on plane (i.e. for avoiding specific dishes or wanting specific dishes which might not be available if not ordered
beforehand), you should act earlier. Sometimes the travel agents can make it sure while booking ticket. If that is not the case, then ask for your choice
while receiving the boarding pass. I would suggest to prepare mentally for a food that might not be delicious at all
Whenever you are in an airport, do not help anyone who is asking you to observe his belongings while he is away for some purpose; doesnt matter
how helpless he looks. And you, too, should not ask others for this kind of favor.
Whenever you reach any airport security check, you will be carrying a lot of stuff- one back-pack, one hand-carry, waist pouch. You will be asked to
remove all your metallic belongings, mobile, watches, jackets, keys, coins from your body, hand-carry and backpack to hand them over a counter.
After everything is scanned, remember to take everything back and dont lose anything in this process.
There might be a delay in the landing and if anyhow, you miss the next plane due to the landing delay, dont lose heart and contact the officials and
take the next plane to your destination.
DO NOT drop your packs outside for going to a restroom (toilet) in any case. In an airport, there are two types of restrooms (toilets): one is normal
and another type is for disabled persons with a specific trolley sign on the restroom door. If you have no friends with you, you should use the
disabled persons restroom as it has more space and you can walk with all your belongings (backpack, hand-carry etc) in it.
Every international airport has free internet browsing facility (and also wi-fi- easily accessible by laptop or mobile phone if you are carrying any) but
you might have to walk a bit for finding the computers.

Your changes (small notes of $1 or 5) will be of great use if you want to buy food in an airport or make a phone call.
Sometimes you can fall asleep if the waiting time is too long in an airport. So be careful about that.
Go for reporting for your next plane earlier. Do not think like that you are already in the airport, so it should not take much time. In reality, it does
take time as you have to go through procedures and sometimes face a long line of passengers as the plane can be really huge.
Previously, there was a writtem form called I-94 (a small white form asking for your info) to be filled up by non-immigrants after landing in US.
From April 30, I-94 has been made automated. So no written form is necessary but you may need to give your info (may be the cost of your
belongings and the money you are carrying with you) on an automated machine (I dont know the procedure yet). Do not lie, in any case about the
money. It is perfectly legal to carry $ 5000 (some say, it is $ 10000) whereas you only endorsed only $ 200 or $ 500; still the rest is not illegal.
After you land on the first international airport in US, you have to go through the customs there. So what happens is: you take all the luggage from the
conveyor belt, go through the customs check and get all the paperwork done. If your ultimate destination is another airport where you have to take a
domestic plane, then you have to carry your luggage to put it in a new conveyor belt so try to find the exact belt this time otherwise your luggage may
end up in another state.
Remember that all the procedures will take a long time after landing in US. So prepare mentally so that you dont end up losing any important
documents, passport, waist-pouch or luggage.
Sometimes the boarding pass for the domestic airways will not be given to you in Dhaka airport. You have to take it from the domestic airport then.
After reaching the international airport, look carefully for your destined domestic terminal. Sometimes the airports are so big that it can take quite a
long time to find yours. Thats why the time difference between landing in US and taking domestic plane should be ideally 3/4 hours.
Probably domestic planes will not give you free food (check for the food status- it is mentioned in the e-ticket) so eat well before starting this episode.
Ask the officials if they allow you to carry dry food in the plane.

Document Prepared by: Arunodoy Saha, EEE, BUET04, Arizona State University (arunodoysaha@yahoo.com)

I am really thankful to a lot of my friends who helped me while I was preparing a to-buy list for me. I wanted to mention all the names,
but that list would be huge as well. Hopefully they wont kill me for that. Still a special thanks to the following persons:
Avijit Saha, EEE, BUET04, Virginia Tech

Shibani Ghosh, EEE, BUET04, Virginia Tech

Partha Pratim Acharjee, EEE, BUET04, U of Maryland Baltimore County


Sanjib Das, EEE, BUET04, U of Tennessee- Knoxville
List of to- buy things:
Check

Item type

Adnan Mahmud, EEE, IUT04, Arizona State University


Item

Decision

Quantity

Unit Price

Total Price

Comment

Winter dress
(for Southern
part of USwarm weather
states)

yes

1/2

/ Jacket (with hood)

yes

1/2

Optimum for AZ and southern states,

Winter Trouser

yes

1/2

check with your friends or acquaintances

Hand gloves (Leather and Wool)

yes

1+1 pair

of your intended state

Woolen Cap

yes

Muffler/ Scarf

yes

1/2

Medium Heavy Jacket

Optional

Thermal Inner

Optional

Heavy Jacket

must

1/2

Winter dress

Hoodie

yes

1/2

(for parts of

Medium heavy jacket

yes

1/2

US- where

Overcoat

optional

must

4/5 pair

/ Jacket (with hood)

yes

1/2

Muffler/ Scarf

yes

3/4

must

1/2 pair

Three Quarter/ Trousers

yes

Sports Trousers

yes

2/3

Underwear

yes

12

Jeans Pant/ Gabardine pant

yes

T-Shirt

Yes

12

Yes

Formal Shirt

Yes

Formal Pant

Yes

Half Sleeve Shirts

yes

Belt

yes

Half Shirt

yes

Complete suit/ Pant

yes

winter is very
dominant)

Thermal Inner

Snow proof shoe

Normal Dress
(for people in
every state)

May buy it for visiting other states


This is heavy, so save space in luggage by carrying it on
hand/back while traveling

Available in Bata

Miscellaneous

Ties

yes

Big Towel

Yes

Small Towel/Gamchha

yes

Sun Cap

yes

Handkerchief

yes

3/4

yes

3/4

yes

1 big

Backpack

must

Nail Cutter

Yes

Small waist pouch with 2/3 pockets

yes

Umbrella

yes

1/2

Small Scissors

yes

(more than one color)

must

Battery AA & AAA (some normal &


some rechargeable- bring charger)
Wallet Key bag with lots of pockets
(Check the market for the best ones)

must

4+4 pair

must

yes

1/2

optional

Cotton bud

yes

1/2 pack

Laptop Cleaning brush

yes

Badminton Racket

User

Very costly here

dependent

,,

Comb
Photo Frame

Table Tennis paddle and balls

Bathroom

Foot cleaning mats

optional

wrench, screw driver, pliers (seperate


pieces are costly here in US)

optional

Tooth Brush
(Available in AZ)
Toothpaste

1/2

Mainly for occasions and get-together

Must be good quality

Very helpful in plane journey


Check weather of your state (bring for South)

And learn how to use it when in danger :p


very costly in US
To keep cards, keys and money//I found them in some
ground floor shops near Multiplan Centre
may buy them in US, not costly

may buy them here, not very costly


large set of tools not expensive in US (may bring 1 or 2
piece for starting your life here)

yes

2/3

yes

Available here
Costly & not available in every state but some alternatives
available//will take a lot of space in luggage
For first 5/10 days, cheaper in US

Yes

,,

Shaving Kit, Foam

optional

Cheaper in US

Deodrant, Scent

optional

,,

Item
Socks Short and Long (White +
Black)

Decision
Yes

Quantity
8 pair Blk
2 pair Wht

Formal Shoes

Yes

1 pair

Leather Sandal

Yes

1/2 pair

,,

Sports Keds

Yes

2 pair

,,

yes

Min. 2 pair

,,

Shoe Shiner/ Shoe polish

Yes

Shoe Polishing Brush

Yes

Bed cover/Bed Sheet

yes

Pillow cover

yes

optional

yes

Soap

Check

Item type
Footwear

Bedroom

Pillow

Blanket/ Comforter
Kitchen

optional

Nonstick frying pan /


Pressure cooker

Total Price
Market/Comment
Even good brand socks are not costly in some states like
AZ, not sure about all the states
Must be good quality, costly in US

If you prefer your own pillow

consider weight/space issue// I bought it in US


1

optional

Unit Price

Sauce Pan, Rice Cooker

Melamine Plate

Mug with tight lead

yes

Spoon

yes

Fork

yes

Peeler (very necessary)

yes

1/2

Dish

yes

yes

/non-stick

yes

2/3

- various sizes

yes

Costly but good quality here, tough to carry from BD


(couples may try :P )// non-stick frying
pan ( /Saucepan)

These are available here at somewhat


more expensive price than in Bangladesh.
Not heavy so if not struggling with weight
may try to pack. I brought them.

, Dish Cleaning Pads

yes

1, 4

must

yes

optional

Knife (Big and very good quality)


(must keep in the main luggage)

must

1/2

must

3/4

Can opener

never

bad quality in BD, cheaper here

, , ,

yes

Available here but costly, bring some for

yes

first few months

Tiffin box (oven, dishwasher proof


& glass/plastic made with tight lids)

Food

Check

optional

optional

Tea

optional

Cooking manual

optional

Item type

Item

Decision

Quantity

Academic

Calculator MS 991

must

1/2
1

optional

User dependent
If u want to invite people & cook specific foods for
which youtube videos are not available :D
Unit Price

Total Price

Market/Comment

Cheaper here in US

white offset A4 pages (pages are not costly in Costco and Walmart so
not necessary to bring)

must

10/12

Pencil (2B, HB)

yes

2 each

Kangaroo stapler

yes

Stapler pin packet

yes

Gems Clip packet

yes

Pencil box

yes

Bring it- necessary from 1st day

Not available in US, if you dont bring them you can staple blank

, )
Pens (

Market -dont carry in hand luggage

If you prefer not to miss them in US

(USA

Glass is heavy- so u can buy it here


Buy a very good quality from Dubai

, ,

Wall Clock

Very costly here

Quality pens are expensive in US. You will get lots of free
medium/low qual. pens in seminars/ specific
, ,
people prefer pencils to pens here

Lead pencil

yes

Eraser

yes

Sharpener

yes

Anti Cutter

yes

Scale small (Steel & plastic both)

yes

Scale (Plastic, transparent, Large)

yes

Punch Machine

yes

yes

5/6

must

6/7

Punched paper storage files


(I suggest them)
Files/ Clear Bags

Medicine

you bring them from BD, you can punch and store your
own papers easily at home
For keeping and storing documents

Super Glue

yes

Fevi-stik

yes

Cello Tape, Normal Tape

Yes

Books (Text, novels and others)

yes

Napa, Napa Extra

yes

Though varsities carry cost of med. insurance (for TAs

Oral Saline

yes

and RAs), still in some varsities (like ASU ), there is a

Antacid Plus

yes

minimum cost for taking help from Health Centre for

Vergon (for headache)

yes

every time you go there and u have to bear total cost of

Pain Killers

yes

medicine in some places (like me ); so go there wisely

Check the website, find which books you will need in next 2 years
(lot of weight, if comfortable with PDF then it is optional)

and before going, note down all your problems

Bring your common medicines not

precisely.

listed here (inhaler etc)

Technical

Here punch machines are different (3 holes, not 2) but if

must

Dettol, Band Aides, Burnol

must

5 pair
minimum

Consult the doctor in BD for eyes and teeth just before


journey even if you have had no problems
For first few days only. good qual. available in US

yes

USB multi-port hub

must

1/2

good quality hub from IDB

Mouse

must

Very costly here

yes

USB pen drive- 16 GB

Extra Key-board for laptop

Laptop

optional

Mobile Set

optional

Small Sound-Box (for movie lovers)

optional

Head Phone
Portable Hard Disk

must

yes

1/2

Pirated Softwares

must

Battery Charger (good quality)

must

Blank CD/DVD box


Asian to US converter plugs
(Buy very good quality ones)

Good qual. & cheaper in US. U can order just after coming if u have contacts here;
for emergency use library desktops//bring from BD if bought recently or want to
bring the old one for first few days, remember to bring converter
Not necessary, but if you bring yours, then may be
useful// bring it if you have email and internet on set
1
Logitech sells small ones for laptop
Very costly here
must if not carrying laptop from BD

1/2

yes
must

2/3

Without them, you cannot use your Bangladeshi


electronics here, (available in Nilkhet- I heard)

Documents to Pack (Specific user may need to add more depending on purpose)
*** Leave a hard copy/photocopy of all of the documents in each pack of luggage you are carrying
Passport
Admission Letter
I-20 & VISA with photocopies
Assistantship Offer Letter/ Funding Source Proof

(if you have Assistantship/ if no assistantship then second one)

Transcripts
Recommendation Letters
GRE / TOEFL Score Sheets
Medical Fitness Certificate
Health History

(if you have it)

Job Experience and leaving Certificate

(if you have it)

Vaccination Certificate

MMR, Meningococcal and others- check your varsitys website thoroughly

Medical Prescription of all medicines you are bringing

must

International Driving License

Optional

Enough Money

Cash and with some small changes for phone calls and other initial stuff