This page is exclusively for new students coming from India to the United States. There expectations and apprehensions from/of a completely new environment. There is also a sense of disorientation. This page serves as a pre-arrival package for all of you students who are yet to come here. It is by no means exhaustive, although we have filled in all info which struck us as being relevant. E-mail us if you have any questions after reading this page. For all questions regarding assistant ship and things to do after your arrival here, refer to the UAH FAQs page.
It is usual to get advice on practically every single item that you ought to pack. Since there are binding rules on both the luggage you can carry and on the items, the best policy is invariably to pack lightly and intelligently. There are things that you can prioritize such as clothing and books, while eatables are lower priority. Here in the U.S. there are no strict clothing customs, except for formal meetings, and you can pack more of casual clothing if you are so inclined.
Clothes are the first priority among the things you pack, but remember that here you will have to wash your clothes in the laundromat (once a week or 2 weeks), so carry enough clothes to last you. Huntsville has a humid summer, and a cold winter (sleet is a common occurrence, though it doesn't actually snow) so you'll need heavy clothing as well. If you have never experienced cold weather before, we suggest you carry 2/3 full sweaters, if not jackets. (Jackets are generally very heavy, and although they are a little expensive here, it might be better to buy one here and use the extra luggage space for more essential items.) Get with you a muffler, and a pair of woolen gloves. It is also sensible to carry one formal suit (don't forget the tie!). As for traditional clothing, that is your choice. There are several functions associated with Indian festivals, and also community gatherings, and you may wish to dress in Indian clothes. In short, pack clothes which you are comfortable wearing. Some of the things like socks and sneakers can be bought here, and woolen clothing can be very heavy so we advise you to choose carefully what you want to carry.
Food is always an important question, and one of the most worrisome for parents. While you may carry some light edibles to enjoy, it is not recommended that you carry too many spices and such, since many of them are available here (unless you wish to stick to home-made spices). At most, carry a minimal quantity to help you get started.
Many of the utensils we are accustomed to using in India are not suitable for the electric cooking ranges here. The simplest and most efficient would be a pressure cooker, one medium-size flat-bottomed pan and a set of ladles and/or spoons and forks.
We do not recommend anything apart from what you'd carry in a portable shaving kit. Also carry with you a medcine kit with any medication you need to take regularly. Preferably carry basic medicine for fevers, stomach ailments and congestion.
We have a page where some textbooks are listed and you might want to carry those, as the editions here are high-priced. It is not possible to exactly list out the books you will need since that depends on the program of study one follows, and that is never the same for everyone. Another observation is that the library here is usually well stocked with references, and even if you dont have the exact book (unless you have textbook based homework problems) you might find it convenient to study from them.
Music / Entertainment
Many of us yearn for some form of familiar entertainment in our days here; and it may not be possible to go for a movie often. The best substitute, for a long time, has proved to be music. Carry a few tapes/ CDs with you to keep you charged! If you are an avid bookworm, you will probably spend many years trying to go through the library collections here.
Get along an Umbrella; this could turn out to be a smart move. Also not to be forgotten - carry with you, your Chest X-ray unless you feel comfortable about paying through your teeth for getting one done here, in case the Health Service so desires to have access to it. If you are accompanied by school-age children - who do not have their own passports - you would require their birth certificates for all sorts of purposes.
Don't bring any Electrical Appliances with you! The voltage and frequency rating used here are different (110V/60Hz). And in any case, appliances like iron, toasters etc. are very inexpensive and you can purchase them once you are settled in.