What to bring with you to PLU

Clothing and Shoes

Since the climate in Tacoma varies greatly from day to day, we recommend that you bring a wide range of clothing with you. You will need items such as a heavy winter coat or jacket, boots, gloves, hats and rain gear. You will also need lightweight items, such as shorts, sandals and t-shirts for during warmer weather. Most importantly, bring clothes and shoes that you are going to be most comfortable with. Students dress casually on campus. You may also want to bring disposable masks or cloth face masks with you to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold.


It is never a good idea to travel with large sums of money.  We recommend that students bring a combination of cash, traveler’s checks, and/or credit cards to meet the initial costs of getting to campus, and at least the first month’s expenses. Students should also plan to open a bank account once they are here and have their family or sponsor wire-transfer money to your account (see money matters section for more details).

Medicine, Eyeglasses and/or Contact Lenses

If you require any prescription medication or eyewear, be sure to bring them with you. It is also a good idea to bring an extra supply of any medicines that you are used to using at home, an extra set of eyeglasses or contact lenses, and for your doctor to provide a copy of the prescriptions. If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, bring a copy of medical, dental, immunization records.

What else?

Stuff for Your On-Campus Room
Check out this great list from Residential Life.

Prohibited and Restricted Items to Bring to U.S.
Check out this list from U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection.

Prohibited Items to Bring into Airplane
Check out this list from U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration.

Personal Items

Depending on your educational plans, you may be spending a long period of time away from home.  To help prevent homesickness, it is a good idea to bring personal items such as pictures of your family and friends, small gifts, traditional clothes, maps, posters, music, and items that represent you or your culture. These items will be helpful for you to introduce yourself and your country to people who you meet here. These items will also help you feel close to your home.

There will be events on campus in which students are encouraged to share their cultures and traditions through demonstrations and performances. Please bring traditional dresses, musical instruments, stationary or other items that represent your country or culture!

Food items

Although there are strict rules on customs, you may want to pack a few non-perishable foods, sweets and/or cooking spices. Sharing your food is also a great way to make friends and to share part of your culture with others!

There will be events on campus in which students are encouraged to share dishes from home! Please bring your favorite recipes and items that you need to cook the dish which are difficult to obtain in the U.S.

Important Documents

Hand-carry passport and immigration documents on the airplane and make copies. Bring contact information of your family members, friends or sponsors. If possible, bring your high school and/or college records.  Do Not Pack These Items In Your Checked Luggage!

Bring anything else that will make your time living and studying in the U.S. comfortable!

Please also keep the following contact information with you:

Heather Jacobson
Associate Director, Intl Enrollment & Student Services, PDSO/ARO
Pacific Lutheran University
253-535-7122 Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-5PM
253-535-7441 Campus Safety is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.