Upon arrival to your host country, you will be required to pass through immigration and customs. They will examine your passport and ask you questions related to your stay. Sometimes this process is quick and painless, and sometimes they ask you enough to write your biography. Be patient and answer all the questions. You are a visitor in their country.

After you get your passport stamped, you will pass through customs. You may have to declare certain items. Airport customs have the right to open your luggage and check for any illegal items — from fruits and vegetables to animals and narcotics.

If you are not traveling with a group and will not be picked up by a university official or program advisor, it is recommended that you reserve a place to stay your first night and/or look for transportation from the airport before leaving the United States.

Call or email your parents and the MSU Office of Study Abroad! Please do not wait a week to let your parents know that you have arrived safely.


If staying with a host family, it is recommended that arrive bearing gift(s). They don’t have to be expensive, but are usually expected. Here are a few suggestions:

  • MSU Apparel (t-shirt, football, Bully toy, etc)
  • U.S. cookbook
  • Anything unique to Mississippi (magnolia, cotton, etc)
  • Photo books or calendars of your hometown or Mississippi

Also, if you are invited to have dinner at someone’s house, it is polite to arrive with a gift (flowers, wine, dessert).