8 Things To Remind your Exchange Student to Pack

As you eagerly await the arrival of your exchange student, it’s essential to ensure that they have everything they need for their exciting year ahead in the USA. Packing for a year abroad can be both thrilling and daunting for the students, so we’ve put together this packing guide to help them make the most of their exchange experience. Let’s dive in! 

School-Appropriate Clothing 

girls chatting by school lockers

Americans tend to dress more casually than in some other countries. Encourage your exchange students to pack a variety of school-appropriate clothing, including: 

  • T-shirts, jeans, and casual wear for everyday activities 
  • Lightweight jackets and layers for changing weather conditions (and a heavy-weight jacket if you experience harsher winters)
  • Comfortable shoes for walking and exploring

Special Outfits 

young man holding suit jackets

Depending on where you are in the country and your family’s plans, there may be occasions that call for dressier clothing. Advise your students to bring appropriate attire for events such as:

  • Church services or religious/spiritual ceremonies 
  • Formal family gatherings or celebrations
  • Any specific events or outings planned during their exchange year 

Nostalgic Photos and Mementos 

girl looking at custom photo book

Homesickness is natural during an exchange year, so encourage your students to bring special mementos and photos of their house, family, friends, school, and city. These items hold sentimental value and serve as a tangible link to life at home.

These photos and mementos can also become a powerful conversation starter when sharing their culture with you, your family, and new friends. As they immerse themselves in the exciting exchange experience, these nostalgic items will serve as constant reminders of their roots and the foundation upon which they’ll build unforgettable memories in the USA. 

Recipes from Home

Mom and teen cooking and smiling

A delicious way to share culture is through food! Suggest that your exchange student bring a few traditional recipes from their home country. It could be a favorite dish or a special treat unique to their region. Cooking traditional dishes in their host family’s kitchen becomes a delightful way to share their lifestyle and introduce the flavors of their native home. These recipes from home become a bridge between your two cultures, forming lasting memories! 

Cultural Gifts and Souvenirs

ceramic Dutch shoe souvenirs

Encourage your student to bring small cultural gifts and souvenirs from their home country to exchange with you, your family, and new friends in the USA. Sharing these gifts not only fosters cultural exchange but also strengthens the bond between individuals from different backgrounds. Through these small yet meaningful gestures, your exchange student can leave a lasting impact in their new home. 

Learning Materials 

tiny globe atop books

For exchange students studying in the USA, it can be helpful to bring some educational resources from their home country. These materials may include textbooks, literature, articles, or online resources. Bringing educational resources in their native language can aid in their language development, serve as a resource for language classes, and facilitate communication with peers during the initial adjustment period. 

Sports Equipment and Hobbies

soccer ball and cleats

Your exchange student should consider packing their favorite sports equipment and hobbies to make the most of their time abroad. Whether they’re passionate about soccer, basketball, or any other sport, having their sports gear allows them to actively participate in local sports clubs or school teams, fostering new friendships and creating shared experiences. If your student isn’t into sports, encourage them to bring their hobbies such as musical instruments, art supplies, or photography equipment to provide a sense of familiarity and comfort while pursuing creative passions. 

Openness and Willingness to Learn

group of teens jumping

Lastly, remind your exchange student that the most crucial thing they can pack is an open mind and a willingness to embrace new experiences, cultures, and friendships. Embracing a spirit of openness allows them to adapt to new customs, traditions, and ways of life with an open mind, fostering a deeper appreciation for diverse cultures. Through this receptive approach, they can make the most of their time in the USA, gaining new perspectives, forging lifelong friendships, and growing as individuals. 


As host families, your support and encouragement will be instrumental in making this exchange experience an unforgettable one. With thoughtful packing and open hearts, we can look forward to welcoming these exchange students and creating bonds that will last a lifetime. 


Tags: Host Families, Cultural Exchange, Exchange Student, Host an exchange student

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