Tips for Departing from Your Home Country

Staying in Touch With Home

If you accept an offer of admission, you will be expected to arrive at your college or university no later than the "report date" indicated on your I-20. Salisbury University offers important orientation activities before the academic term begins.

Arrange for housing in Salisbury

Some programs may offer additional orientation events. Plan to arrive on time for the orientation program for your program and for the mandatory orientation for international students.

Allow enough time to say "good-bye" to friends and family.

Check on airplane tickets as early as possible; you might be able to save money by booking your flight in advance. Reconfirm your flight reservation 72 hours before departure.

Ask the airlines if there are any restrictions regarding how much baggage you can take, or if there are any size or weight restrictions to the baggage you can take with you.

If you will be bringing a large quantity of baggage, you may wish to check with transport companies regarding the cost of shipment of your belongings. It may be less expensive to ship your baggage on a transport carrier instead of a passenger carrier.

Pack a travel bag with personal articles for use in case your luggage is temporarily lost during your journey. Pack valuables and items that could leak, such as shampoo, in this bag.

Be mindful of airline's regulations regarding what you can carry on the plane.

Make a list of the important items you wish to take with you - medicines, clothing, educational aids {remember: books are heavy and generally accessible in the US}, personal items, alarm clock, favorite toy, lucky hat, favorite music, etc.

If you require medicines containing controlled drugs or narcotics (e.g., cough medicine, heart drugs, sleeping pills or stimulants), you should have all these products properly packaged and labeled.

You will not be able to have foreign prescriptions for controlled drugs filled in the U.S. without seeing a U.S. registered doctor. You should also have a statement of prescription from your doctor indicating that the medicine is being used under a doctor's direction and is necessary for your physical well-being.

Also keep in mind, not all over the counter medicines and preparations are easily available in the United States. The dispensing of birth control is not a free service in the United States. It is best to bring a supply of all drugs to cover your whole stay to avoid additional costs.

About two weeks before you are to depart, start a second "items to take" list that includes things you did not initially think of, but you are using on a regular basis -- dental floss, shoe brush, sun glasses etc. These will also be important to take with you.

READ THE INFORMATION WE PROVIDE so you will know what to expect once you reach the US.

Familiarize yourself with your travel documents (passport, visa, I-20 form).

If you already have health and repatriation insurance which covers you while you are in the US, bring documentation of your coverage along with the telephone number of the insurance company and the name of your insurance agent.

Contact your International Student Advisor with the date and time of your arrival in Salisbury, Maryland and we will make arrangements to pick you up at the Salisbury/Ocean City/Wicomico Regional Airport or the local bus station.

Give your family a contact number, such as that of the international student office (410) 677-5027, in case of emergency.

When you arrive in Salisbury, you should have a list of emergency contacts in the United States (if you have any) and abroad. Please hand it to your International Student Advisor as soon as you arrive.

Prepare a budget of expenses before leaving home. If you actually have a written plan, you are less likely to spend money on unnecessary items. REMEMBER: Almost any item you do not wish to bring (or forget to bring) will be available in the US -- with the exception of some ethnic foods. The first month of your stay in the US will also be the most expensive.

It may be helpful to budget a small emergency travel fund to help in case of unexpected layovers or flight meals that are not edible. Credit cards are helpful as you travel across countries using different currencies.

Before you leave, make sure you have your International Student Advisor's phone number where you can locate her in the event you run into any complications once you arrive in the US.

Depending on how early you arrive before classes begin, you may need to make arrangements for your first few nights stay in Salisbury.

While traveling, you should keep your passport, identification papers and money with you at all times. Do not lose them as it is very difficult to replace them while you are traveling!

You will go through customs after retrieving your luggage. You cannot bring in articles made from protected species, nor can you transport perishable foods such as cheese, fruit or nuts. You have duty-free allowance of $100 in gifts, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 2 kg of smoking tobacco. If you bring alcohol, you should be 21 or older. If you carry more than $10,000 you must report this to customs officials.

Documents to bring:

  • Official transcripts from secondary schools, colleges, or universities
  • Medical and dental records, including certificates of immunizations and vaccinations (especially important for young children)
  • Information about medical conditions or treatments, prescriptions for medication (including generic and brand names) and eyeglasses
  • Marriage certificates
  • Birth Certificates for children and spouse
  • International driver's license

Obtain English translations of these documents and have the translations certified by U.S. educational advising center or a U.S. consulate or embassy. Retain photocopies of all original documents for your records.

Staying in Touch With Home

It's a great adventure coming to a new place to study, but be fair to yourself, your family and your friends: stay in touch. There are all sort of reasons to stay in touch with home, and all sorts of ways to do so. The United States has a well-developed network of communications ranging from traditional postal service (available on campus for most mailings) to international express mailings, such as Federal Express or DHL) to advanced telecommunications (each student is given an e-mail account which can be used in all on-campus computer labs). These computers also provide access to the World Wide Web. You might be able to make an initial phone call home from the International Student Services office.

Embassy Contacts

A detailed list of embassies located in Washington, D.C. is available from