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Pre-Departure Guidelines

The Essentials Documents* (MUST have on you at all times)

  • passport
  • F-1 Student Visa
  • I-20

*It’s always safe to make copies of all your documents and pack them separately, in case you lose one of your bags during your travel.

Clearing U.S. Immigration

When you arrive in the U.S. you will go through immigration inspection. You will need to present the following items to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official:

  • passport
  • F-1 Visa
  • I-20
  • evidence of acceptance to Bennington College, such as a recent tuition payment receipt or acceptance letter—proof of paying the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee evidence of financial support

After questioning you about your plans in the U.S., the immigration officer will decide how long you will be allowed to stay. You will then be directed to the Customs Service for inspection of your baggage.

Money

Bring with you enough money to cover the expenses of your first month, which is likely to be one of the most expensive periods of your stay. If you arrive in the States before August 26, you will need to pay for local transportation and meals. Once you arrive on campus, your expenses will include:

  • books and supplies
  • clothing appropriate for the climate
  • household items

Do not carry a large sum of cash. Traveler’s checks are a safer way to carry money. Keep in mind that credit cards are not valid from all countries.

Within the first week of your arrival, you will be able to open a bank account, in which your family can wire money directly to your account, if needed.

During the International Student Orientation, there will be a shopping trip to Albany to purchase items for your dorm room (i.e., bedding, lamps, toiletries) as well as other miscellaneous things that you might need during your time at Bennington.

What to Bring

Clothing

The weather in Vermont is unpredictable at best, so it may be very warm when you arrive, or cool. The climate will begin to get colder after October and you'll need a winter coat and boots. To plan for the changing weather from fall through spring, you will probably want to have at least one heavy coat or jacket and a light jacket or sweater to start with. If you are from a warm weather country and don’t yet own a winter coat, there will be places nearby the College or during the orientation shopping trip to to buy winter clothing.

You will need an assortment of footwear (such as sandals for summer, heavier boots/shoes for winter, etc.). When the snow arrives, typically in November through February, a good pair of winter boots will be helpful.

Plan on buying most of your household items (small electrical appliances, bed sheets and towels, toiletries, lamps) once you have arrived.

Miscellaneous

  • prescription medicine (bring the prescription written in English if you need to continue getting them in the U.S.)
  • contact lenses/glasses (these are very expensive to get in the U.S.)
  • travel adaptor or converter (the U.S. has 110V plug/outlet for your electronic appliances and/or laptop)

Make sure you don't pack anything valuable into the suitcase that you are going to check through in case it gets lost. Carry all your important documents, medications, toiletries etc. in your carry-on luggage, and in case your checked luggage gets lost, you will want to also have a change of clothing with you. Sometimes it can take a couple of days to locate misplaced luggage.

If you are unable to bring these items with you, you can purchase them at local stores when you arrive at Bennington. There is a shopping trip planned during orientation, at which you will be able to purchase most of the items needed for the school year. If you wish to ship some of your belongings or shop online in advance, you should put the following information on each item:

Your Name
New Student
1 College Dr
Bennington VT 05201 USA

The shipping fee for trunks and packages must be paid in advance. Our post office on campus will hold your boxes until you arrive.

Good luck and safe travels! Feel free to email us if you have any questions.