10 Things International Students Should Know Before Going Back Home

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Congratulations on making it this far in the Spring 2021 semester! This academic year has been like no other and you should be extremely proud of yourself for overcoming the obstacles that have come your way. Now you may be considering your travel plans for this summer, whether that be your home country or somewhere new. Returning home as an international student can be a challenging and difficult time.

It is important to start thinking about how to move all your personal items out of your dorm or off-campus apartment (if you have not done so already). This will save you a lot more time, energy, and stress than figuring everything out at the last minute. We have prepared a checklist of items you should consider when preparing to move out.

Here is a checklist to organize your plans for returning home:

Start Packing Before Finals

 It is highly recommended to start packing before finals. This is because studying and taking your exams are already exhausting enough and the last thing you want is to worry about is moving out. You can start by packing during your study breaks before finals weeks. This can include emptying your closet/drawers, taking down decorations, etc. Once you finish your last final you will be able to relax knowing you have already completed the hard work.


Sell/ Donate Your Belongings

Packing early will give you more than enough time to go through things you no longer need. If you intend to get rid of certain items, make a list and advertise it around the campus or donate the goods to other students or charity organizations. You will only want to sell items that are in good to excellent condition as it is a good way to earn a couple of extra bucks right before leaving school. A good tip if you are selling your items is to look up the most recent price the item was sold for. However, if you are a busy person you may consider just donating your items to save you time and stress.

Top 5 places to sell your belongings online:

  • Facebook Marketplace– If you have any larger items such as furniture or even a car, Facebook Marketplace may be the best place for you! This is a free platform and will connect you with users in your area so you don’t have to worry about shipping.
  • eBayYou can sell almost everything on eBay. The top selling items on eBay currently are electronics such as mobile phones/accessories, video games, and designer apparel.
  • PoshmarkIdeal platform to sell clothes, accessories, and even certain home goods.
  • OfferUpOffer Up is a phone app that allows you to sell a variety of items from books, electronics, furniture, and much more! Users can instantly message you through the app to negotiate pricing and delivery.
  • ThredUpIf you have any clothes, shoes, and/or accessories you want to sell but don’t want to deal with the selling process this is the platform for you! Thredup will send you a “Clean Out Kit” with a prepaid shipping label that will go directly to them. Once they receive your items, they will do the rest.

Top 3 places to donate your belongings:

  • Goodwill– When you donate to Goodwill, the nonprofit organization will sell them in stores or online. They use the funds to provide training to employees and job placements for people in your area.
  • The Salvation ArmyDonating your personal items to the Salvation Army will help fund rehabilitation programs that heal addictions, change lives, and restore families. You can donate anything from books to furniture.
  • Dress for Success Dress for Success is an international organization that prides itself on helping women get a job and grow in their careers by providing gently used business apparel.

Settle all outstanding balances

Make sure to settle any outstanding bills you may have, this can include medical bills, your student account at school, credit cards, mobile phone, etc.

Eat your food & use your meal points

If you have any food stored in your room, it is best to make the most of what you have as move-out day approaches. This consists of eating the snacks around your room and visiting the dining hall for food instead of using your own money. You will end up using your meal plan and saving some money during finals week. In addition, you may consider donating any canned goods you have left through Feeding America. This organization distributes over 4 billion meals to people all over the U.S. Find a food bank to donate to here

Storage and subletting

If you need a place to store your belongings for the few months you go back home or if you need a way to help pay for your place while you are away, then ISO has the tips and tricks just for you. Check out our article for more information!

Ship items back home

Have some of your personal items sent home if you are not able to travel with them on a plane. Make sure to do your research and compare prices with shipping companies near you. Consider the length of time it will take for your items to arrive. In addition, you can also check with airlines on excess luggage and costs. Some companies you can use are Seven Seas Worldwide, K International Transport, and Luggage to Ship.

Leave your room how you found it

It is helpful to start cleaning early. Whether you are in a dorm room or off-campus, students often leave their room dirty since there is not enough time to clean or they just do not want to clean. Leaving your room damaged or dirty can lead to you being fined, make sure to coordinate with your roommates to avoid getting charged!

 Plan for Fall if you’re returning

Start to make arrangements for the Fall 2021 semester so when you return you won’t have to worry  about it. This includes registering for classes, finding living arrangements, purchasing health insurance, etc.

Make travel arrangements

Book your flight back home in advance to avoid paying for an expensive air ticket last minute. This will give you the chance to compare competitive flight prices and more flexible dates to choose from. The CDC recommends if you are returning to your home country you should check the travel and entry requirements.



Health requirements

Even though you will be leaving the U.S. during summer break, it is strongly recommended to always maintain active health insurance coverage if you’re going to be returning. It is better to have continuous coverage because if your plan has a pre-existing condition waiting period, it will reset if you have a gap in coverage. This could lead to higher costs when you return to the U.S.  



ISO wishes you a safe and fun summer vacation! We are excited to see you return for the fall semester. If you are graduating this semester, congratulations! ISO Student Health Insurance provides affordable and flexible OPT insurance plans while you continue to your next stage after college and work in the U.S.


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