Packing Tips

We recommend that you first make a list of all the items you would like to bring and then decide whether you can find them in China (chances are you can). The bed sizes in China are different than in many other countries, so sheets from home may not fit your residence hall mattress. During orientation you’ll have the chance to visit Ikea, where we recommend that you buy your bedding.

The most important items to bring are clothes for all seasons, any special toiletries, and medication. Think creatively about how you'll be able to use some of your summer clothing to layer for the other two seasons as your luggage may overweight easily. If you have family or friends visiting you during your fall break, please check with them to see if they can bring some items for you. If you don’t already own winter clothes, you’ll find that Shanghai has international brands you might like, such as Gap, Hollister, H&M, and Zara.


Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate, with an average of 4.2° C (39.6° F) in January and 27.9° C (82.2° F) in July, for an annual mean temperature of 16.1° C (61.0° F). Temperatures may drop below freezing during the winter, but snowfall is rare. Many facilities in Shanghai are not well heated during winter months. Students are encouraged to bring clothing that can be layered for use during this time.

You should also consider the limited space in your residence hall room when packing. Be aware that, as in any residence hall, you will have to negotiate the use of space with your roommate(s). Clothing sizes run small in China, and it may be difficult to find clothing that fits well. And please bring plenty of comfortable shoes with you as the shoe sizes in China are usually small. You can purchase tailor-made clothing in China for much cheaper than in other countries; this can also be an opportunity to practice haggling.


Power outlets in China provide 220V electricity. You should come prepared with several plug adapters as well as a voltage converter. If you are bringing a computer or any important electrical device, contact the manufacturer to find out your device’s electricity requirements. If you are unsure of a device’s requirements, always use your voltage converter, as using the incorrect voltage can cause malfunction or even an electrical fire.

Internet Service

NYU Shanghai offers free high-speed wireless Internet service throughout the academic building and residence halls. Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, etc. are not accessible in China without VPN. Students may download the NYU VPN for off-campus access to NYU’s network. Skype, Gmail, Google Chat, and all other normal Internet communication tools will function well on NYU networks.

Cell Phones

Cell phones that take SIM cards can generally be used in China if they have been unlocked, but you should check with your carrier and the phone manufacturer before arriving. You should not retain your non-Chinese phone plan for use in China as fees for international roaming are extraordinarily high. You will have the chance to purchase local SIM cards and phones during orientation. A basic cell phone will cost about RMB 300 to RMB 400 and monthly fees are around RMB 100 for normal domestic usage. You may want to enable international calling and texting service on your local phone number, but the fees for this service are very high. Skype, Google Chat, or other Internet-based communication services are still the best option for everyday contact with people outside China. Using mobile data to browse internet may be very expensive. To save money, you can subscribe a data package when our orientation ambassadors guide you to register a local phone number during the orientation week. 


It is very difficult to purchase imported medicines in China. If you are taking regular medication, please bring enough supply of prescription medication that you need. Additionally, bring written prescriptions including the chemical name (preferably in English) to show to your new doctor in Shanghai. Please do not ship. If your doctor cannot provide you with enough supply, please email, local staff can help check on availability of medication in China.