What to Pack

Here are some general tips on what to bring. For more specific information about the residence halls, the housing process, and what to bring, refer to Residence Life.

Your Camera

Don’t forget your camera! You're going to make a lot of memories that you'll want to share with your friends and family back home.

Something to share

Bring some items from home to share duing the cultural festivals we host on campus.

Good items to bring
  • Traditional costume
  • Favorite recipes
  • Pictures
  • Artwork
  • Maps
  • Music
  • Personal souvenirs
  • Favorite recipes

We recommend bringing favorite recipes for cooking special dishes. International students often like to get together to share meals.

Hard-to-find items
  • Translation dictionary. Once you are here, it may be difficult to find a dictionary in English and your language.
  • Adaptors for electronic appliances and computers are highly recommended.

You have three options for bed linens:

Bring linens with you

The beds in the residence halls are twin extra long. Keep this in mind when you order any linens.

Buy linens after you arrive

We will be hosting a dinner and shopping trip after you arrive on campus. The stores we will take you to carry the twin extra long bed sheets you'll need.

This is also a great time to buy towels and other bulky items that are hard to pack.

Order linens online and ship them here

You can order linens online and have them shipped to us. Make sure to use our address:

International Student Services
60 West Olsen Drive #6400
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Order Linens Online


Bring enough cash in U.S. dollars for your immediate needs upon arrival.

Be sure to have some small denominations ($1, $5, $10) in order to make a phone call or purchase a snack.

Have enough money for:
  • Transportation from the airport
  • A few meals
  • A hotel (depending on your arrival date)
Keep in mind

On-campus dining may not be immediately available. For more information, visit Campus Dining.

You can exchange for U.S. currency at international airports, but the exchange rate is less favorable.

Exchanging money at a major bank will give you a better exchange rate, but it may take longer.

Do not carry a large amount of money in cash. Be sure to keep all cash close to your body.

Traveler's checks

Many students take the amount needed for the first few weeks in traveler’s checks.

Ask for traveler’s checks which are readily negotiable in the U.S. and which guarantee refunds in case checks are lost or stolen.

Good traveler's check options
  • American Express
  • Visa
  • Barclays
Ask for several different denominations
  • $10 and $20 checks for incidental expenses
  • $50 or $100 checks for tuition, books, or apartment fees
Take proper caution when carrying checks

Never carry your passport and travelers checks together. If both are stolen, it will allow the thief to cash your checks almost anywhere.

Carry at least some of your travelers checks separate from the others. This will ensure that you at least have some money if you lose some checks and have to wait for a refund.

Credit card

All international students are urged to bring a major credit card such as Visa or MasterCard with them.

They are extremely useful in case of emergencies. Most car rental agencies also require a credit card.

University-related finances

You should plan to bring with you enough money to cover your preliminary expenses such as books and personal items.

If you have not already paid your university fees before traveling to campus, you must have enough money to make those payments immediately upon your arrival.

Estimated costs
  • Books can cost up to $500 per semester
  • Personal expenses are around $1,000 per semester

Helpful tips

Remember to pack lightly

Do not pack more than you can carry by yourself!

If you get stuck in an airport along the way, you may have to carry your luggage a long distance.

Ship items ahead of time

You may ship items ahead of time. Be sure to include a detailed list of the items in each package along with the declared value for customs.

If you mark packages with personal items “used personal effects” and keep the declared value low, you may not have to pay duty.

For more information, refer to Residence Life.