The weather in Bozeman during the winter months can be extremely cold. While some days can be sunny, the tempuratures can range from -25C to a high of 4C. The key to dressing appropriately for Montana’s weather is to wear clothes that can be layered. A typical Montanan will wear a long-sleeved T-shirt, covered by a sweater or a sweatshirt followed by a warm jacket. Close-toed shoes or boots, warm thick socks, and jeans or pants will provide plenty of warmth. Layering clothing in this way allows you to stay comfortable as the temperature changes. If it is difficult for you to find warm clothing at home, there is no need to worry. Affordable clothing can be found at a variety of stores upon your arrival.
At the university, dress is decidedly informal. Professors, for example, seldom wear jackets or neck ties, while students frequently wear jeans and t-shirts. Non-western wear is acceptable to wear at all times. Traditional clothing is a great way to introduce your culture to campus and community members. You should plan to bring one outfit to wear during more formal social events. This may consist of a suit coat and pants or a nice dress.
It is important that you pack at least one pair of comfortable, close-toed walking shoes.
Winter and Spring visitors to Montana are typically encouraged to bring the following items:
- adequate supply of prescription medication (carry-on bag);
- extra pair of prescription glasses or contacts (carry-on bag);
- an appropriate converter for your electronics;
- waterproof boots that are warm and will keep the snow out;
- comfortable walking shoes;
- warm socks;
- multiple pairs of pants;
- a warm sweater and jacket (wool or synthetic);
- a thick warm winter jacket that will keep you warm;
- a hat, scarf, and gloves/mittens;
- warm pajammas/bed clothes;
- exercise clothes (if you want to use the MSU gymnasium);
- a swimsuit (if you want to use the pool);
- chapstick (the climate is very dry)
- dress clothes for presentations and parties;
- pictures and cultural objects to share with the program staff and other participants;
- spices or "comfort food" that may not be available in Bozeman;
- optional traditional clothes to wear to certain activities or parties.
Pack as lightly as possible! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage, so plan to pack only what you can manage yourself. Generally, airlines permit travelers on international flights to and from the United States to check two suitcases each weighing no more than 22.5 kg. Over 22.5 kg and you will likely be charged $100 per overweight bag. Luggage for domestic travel (to and from Washington D.C.) can cost up to $35/per checked bag. It is recommended therefore that your luggage consist of two medium-sized suitcases (each weighing less than 22.5 kg). If you can manage with only one bag, you may also wish to pack a duffel bag or collapsible suitcase to take home purchased items. Alternatively, you can buy a second piece of luggage in Bozeman if you find your personal items have grown throughout the program (very common, especially if you decide to purchase classroom supplies). In addition to your checked baggage, airlines generally allow passengers to carry a small bag and one personal item (e.g. a purse or small backpack) aboard the plane. We strongly encourage you to pack in your carry-on luggage a few days of clothing and other essentials, such as prescribed medication, in case your checked bag is delayed or lost in transit.
The standard electrical system in the United States is alternating current, 60 cycles, 120 volts. If you choose to bring electric devices (such as a travel alarm or hair dryer), please consider the differences in voltage, Hertz, and plug styles. For more information on converting electricity, please use a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or click here.
If you require any prescription medications, please bring these with you on the aircraft. If you are under doctor's care for any condition, you may want to bring a letter from your physician describing your condition and treatment regime in case you need to see a doctor while you are in the United States.
You will be provided with all required books and materials needed during the program. However, you may want to bring a translation dictionary to assist you, simply because they may be expensive or not readily available here.
Although you will be able to purchase toiletries locally, you might not be able to find the brand you enjoy using. Therefore, you should bring an ample supply of toiletries, such as:
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and other dental hygiene items
- Shampoo, conditioner, and other hair care items
- Lotion (the Montana climate is very dry and you may need extra hydration)
- Razor and shaving cream (if appropriate)
- Sunscreen lotion
Although the MSU campus and Bozeman are considered safe, neither the U.S. government nor the university can guarantee the safety of your valuables. Therefore, you should leave expensive and extravagant items at home.
Home Country Items
There will be many opportunities for you to share your culture with the MSU campus community and the people of Bozeman. Past visitors have brought traditional clothing items, music, keychains, postcards, and small traditional crafts or candies to share with presenters, host dinner families, or other members of the Bozeman community.