Center for Academic & Global Engagement International Student Services

Packing Advice

What to pack

Packing and figuring out what you really need to take with you can be a little overwhelming, so careful consideration is needed when deciding what to take with you! What you take to the US is largely a matter of personal choice. However, keep in mind you may have to carry whatever you bring through local transportation and then to your residence, so it is in your best interest to keep it light and compact.

You may also want to bring photos, postcards, books, slides, musical instruments, traditional clothing, and music. You will have many opportunities to share these things in presentations and participate in international activities during your time at USD. It is very helpful to make a list of everything you think you will need in the US. Then, eliminate the items you can buy in the US.

Electrical appliances will be the items that you might want to consider to buy in the US since most everyday electrical appliances can be purchased cheaply here. If you decide to bring electronic products, you may need a converter because the voltage used in other countries differs from the U.S. (120 V, 60 Hz).  Appliances such as desk lamps, fans, hairdryers and chargers can be purchased from a variety of supermarkets such as Wal-Mart or the thrift shops in town. If you do bring your own electronic items do not forget to bring a power adapter and a converter.

Check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website ahead of time to see what you can and can't bring into the country.


What to purchase once you are here:

Slippers and shower shoes. If you have a shower in your own room, you can forget about the shower shoes, but the slippers will come in handy. The same goes for a bathrobe—and if you don't use it as a bathrobe, it'll still keep you warm.

Multipurpose cleaning wipes. They are light and don't take much space. Your new room may be small, but it's sure to be more comfortable after a quick clean to make you feel more at ease.

Extension cords and multi plugs. These tend to be surprisingly useful, but you should check with your school first and see whether they are allowed. 

Sewing kit. At least scissors, string, and a needle! You may not need to do much mending, but when that one particular occasion arises, you'll be the hero.

First-aid kit. At least bandages, pain relievers, and other necessities! It's important to take care of yourself, but should a small injury occur, it's good to have the basics on hand.

Hangers. You'll be amazed at how useful they'll turn out to be.

USB drive. Keep one with you, just in case you need to do work in a library or university computer center.

Tableware. A cup, a bowl, a plate, a fork, a spoon, and a knife...just in case you want to nibble something in your on campus residence. You might want to try buying the disposable versions as well; easy cleanup and they're helpful when friends make a surprise visit.

Storage boxes and shelves. These can always be bought later on, so no need to rush. With many affordable and replaceable options available, shelves will also save you a lot of space and hassle.

Books and academic resources. Books are heavy (which also means costly) in transport and easy to obtain via school or community bookstores, or through the Internet. Plus, you may not know what texts are needed for your courses until you arrive. (However, a few favorite books or treasured resources can come with you from home!).


South Dakota has a continental climate with four distinct seasons, ranging from cold, dry winters to hot and semi-humid summers. During the summers, the average high temperature throughout the state is often close to 90 °F (32 °C), although it cools to near 60 °F (16 °C) at night. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F (38 °C) several times a year.

It is possible that with the appropriate clothing you can enjoy each season that South Dakota has to offer. For both fall and spring it is always a good idea to have a light jacket with you. The day usually starts and ends with cooler temperatures. During the summer, students will usually be wearing shorts and t-shirts. During the winter, several layers of clothing are recommended for adequate protection when walking in freezing temperatures.