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Preparations for coming to Madison

Travelling to the United States will involve bringing various important items along with you in your luggage. Most importantly are your identification documents - without which you may be denied entry, so be sure you have them all. Also included is a list of suggested items that you should bring with you that are crucial to daily living during your internship here.

Don't hesitate to negotiate with us about borrowing items that you'd rather not bring, such as a bike or a mobile phone. We may just have an extra lying around somewhere that you can use!

Important documents

Passport with U.S. visa – You will be denied entry and deported if you do not have a valid U.S. visa prior to arrival.

(different form for J-1s) SEVIS I-94 form – Another extremely important document to bring with you. The I-94 form is issued along with your U.S. visa and will be checked at the customs at your port of entry.

Arrival/Departure card (I-20) – A card will be issued to you in your passport when you pass through the customs at the port of entry. This card is usually stapled onto the opposite side of your U.S. visa on your passport. Do not lose this or you may be detained when trying to leave the U.S. and may even be denied future entries.

• Some form of picture identification – It can be your home country’s identity card, or perhaps a driver’s license. You’ll need it for age verification purposes at bars or offices alike, and it’s easier to carry around than a passport.

Photocopies of other important documents such as your medical history, birth certificate, employer's letter.

Things to bring to Madison

Money (USD$500-1000) – It is always important to carry a sufficient amount of money when you travel, especially when you want to settle down in a place.

• Bring credit cards with sufficient balance. Most places accept VISA, Mastercard, and American Express. You should have enough for immediate expenditures upon arrival.

Debit cards can be handy in withdrawing money from the numerous Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) found in town, but it must be compatible with US ATMs. VISA cards are widely accepted. A handling fee up to $2.00 may be charged each time you make a transaction.

Travellers’ Checks are perhaps the safest way to carry your cash, which you can cash in at a local bank. However not all U.S. banks accept travellers’ checks, so be certain to ask before bringing them.

Important documents as stated above.

International Student Identity Card (ISIC) – if you have one, bring it and you might be able to get student discounts! Ask your local student travel agency for details.

Clothing – if you’re staying here beyond October, it gets cold (around 0°C) so consider buying winter clothing here or bringing your own. Check out the climate of Madison under the section of Living in the Midwest and bring the appropriate summer clothing.

Power plug adaptor/transformer – don’t forget that the power outlets are at 110V in the U.S. and the pins are of different shapes from that used in your home country.

• Sensible bathroom accessories and toiletries.

• Your mobile phone, if you have one. It is very handy for contacting IAESTE members if you're lost, or if some sort of accident delayed your trip in some ways. The country code of United States is 1. You can buy international calling cards here cheaply, but you need a local mobile phone to use them.

A camera!! Wisconsin is a beautiful state. And don’t forget your USB cable/memory card adaptor if it’s a digital camera.