Preparing for Departure

Tips on Preparing, Packing, and Flying

Before you leave:  Things to do in the months leading up to your departure 

  • Schedule a check-up at the doctor's office:  Healthcare in the U.S. can be complicated and very expensive.  Schedule routine check ups at home before coming to the U.S.  This is also a great time to take care of your immunization and health form requirements! 
  • Prescription Medication: If you take a prescription it is recommended that you carry a supply of 2-3 month's medication with you.  Some medications have different names in the U.S. Check with your doctor and write down the prescription name as you will find it in the U.S.
  • Go to the Eye Doctor and Dentist:  Routine eye exams and dental visits are not covered by standard health insurance, and therefore visits to the eye doctor and dentist can be very expensive.  Bring an extra pair of glasses and/or contacts with you, as well as your eye prescription.  If needed, you can order new glasses or contacts online.

Start of the Semester Reminders

  • Check your Geneseo Email frequently!  All college communication will be sent to your Geneseo email account.
  • Complete your health and immunization forms BEFORE ARRIVING.  Health forms must be submitted by August 1.  
  • Make preparations to pay your tuition.  The deadline for making payments or payment arrangements for new international students is the first day of the semester.  We will automatically defer your payment to that date.  Tuition payments can be made through flywire.comPayment plans can be arranged online prior to the start of the semester.
  • Before you start packing, check out our tips on what to bring to campus.

Travel to SUNY Geneseo

By Plane:  The closest airport to SUNY Geneseo is the Rochester, NY Airport (ROC).  The ISSS Office will arrange airport pick up the week before school starts (check dates here) only from the ROC airport.  

Please be aware that JFK and Laguardia Airports are more than 6 hours away from Geneseo.  Do not book a flight to NYC without also booking a connecting flight (or train or bus) to Rochester (ROC).  

By Train:  The closest Amtrak station to Geneseo is in Rochester, NY.  Please notify the ISSS Office if you will arrive by train and pickup can be arranged.

By Bus:  Several bus routes are also available to Rochester NY, as well as to Geneseo directly.  Pick up can be arranged from the Rochester bus stations.  Please notify ISSS which bus line you will travel since there is more than one bus station in Rochester.

By Car:  SUNY Geneseo is located at:  1 College Circle, Geneseo NY, 14454

Download the Campus Map

Arrival in Geneseo

International Student Orientation will take place the week before school begins each semester.  There are specific arrival and move in dates each semester.  It is important that you arrive during the arrival times so that a member of the International Student and Scholar Services Office can meet you and bring you to campus.  Pickup can be arranged from the Rochester Airport (ROC), Rochester Bus Station, and Rochester Train Station.

You will receive an email with a travel survey that you should complete no later than August 15.  Once we receive your travel survey, you will receive a confirmation and the contact information of the person that will pick you up and bring you to campus.

If you arrive outside of the scheduled arrival times, you may need to plan on staying in a hotel the first night.  The ISSS Office can help recommend a place to stay, if needed.

What to Pack

Carry-on Luggage

  • Your Passport with your F1 or J1 Visa:  These are required to enter the U.S.  You will not have access to your checked luggage before passing through passport control.
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Medications
  • Around $200 USD cash:  There is not a currency exchange counter at the Rochester Airport.  Occasionally foreign credit cards have issues overseas, so it is a good idea to bring some USD with you in case of emergencies.

Additional Recommendations for your Carry-On:

  • Contact information for the ISSS Office:  Phone:  585-245-5404;  Email:;  Whatsapp: +1 585-245-5972. If you arrange airport pickup through the ISSS Office, we will also provide you with the contact information of the person that will meet you upon your arrival.  
  • A cell phone with a U.S. calling capability or wifi calling / Skype / Whatsapp.
  • Your phone charger and a travel adapter so that you can charge your cell phone
  • A laptop or tablet if you plan to bring one for school work
  • A change of clothes, in case your luggage is delayed or lost.
  • A toothbrush and tooth paste
  • Contact lens solution

Checked Luggage

Packing for a long trip can be stressful.  Don't worry!!  It is OK if you forget something!  You can purchase clothes, toiletries, and items for your dorm room after you arrive, if needed.  Do not feel like you have to bring everything that you will need for four months in two suitcases.  

We recommend reviewing the Customs and Border Protection website for details on prohibited items before you pack your bags.

We also recommend that you review TSA "What Can I Bring" for items that are not allowed on airplanes.  Please be sure to check your individual airlines for further prohibited items.

Do not pack money or valuables in your checked suitcase.

  • Clothes and shoes for four seasons:  Western NY is quite warm in summer, but cold with snow in the winter.  Pack for both warm and cold weather.  Again, with limited space in your luggage, it may be best to buy winter clothes (coat, snow boots, hat, gloves) in NY after you arrive.
  • Toiletries
  • Photos and familiar items from home

Most household items (small appliances, bed sheets, towels, cooking supplies, etc.) can be purchases after you arrive in Geneseo.  Sheets will be available on loan for students during orientation week.  We will also take a trip to WalMart during orientation week so that you can purchase things for your residence hall.  Ordering items online can often be a convenient option.  

Residence Life offers a list of recommendations on things to bring to campus (as well as things that are prohibited!).  Keep in mind, many of the items listed are large and are not possible for you to bring from home.  This list may be helpful in terms of small items that you can carry from home, and larger items that you can purchase after you arrive (if you choose to do that).