Alliance-India students will be permitted only one checked bag and one carry-on. We will be traveling by van to the orientation site, and there are space restrictions for how much baggage can be brought on board. Moreover, many Indian airlines have weight allowances lower than that of U.S. airlines, some of which are 15kg/33lbs, so pack accordingly.
We also strongly recommend that your one checked bag be a big backpack. Sidewalks are rare in India, and with train and bus travel as well, backpacks are much more manageable than large rolling suitcases.
Please plan on dressing modestly during your time in India. Though Manipal is a modern university, and you will see many Indian students wearing jeans, as a foreigner you will want to minimize the kind of unwanted attention you might receive. As you go off campus, particularly when visiting local health clinics, you should be prepared to dress in a manner appropriate to more traditional contexts.
This simply means following a few basic rules of thumb: shoulders should be covered, pants and skirts mid-calf or ankle-length, necklines not too low, all clothes fairly loose (though generally fitted is fine), and fabrics opaque. Layering is always a good idea: having tank tops, camisoles, and slips under fabrics that might be translucent, tops that are hip-length, and cotton scarves or shawls to throw over your shoulders. Often linen pants are very comfortable, and if you are in Manipal during monsoon season (fall students only) you should bring pants that can be rolled above your ankle.
Many female students buy a lot of local clothing, or even better, have outfits tailor-made! The traditional Indian salwar kameez outfits that you'll see most women wearing are always comfortable, attractive, inexpensive, practical, and appropriate.
Men may have things a bit easier when it comes to clothing, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you’re packing. Most traditional men in India wear lightweight, collared shirts with cotton pants. Male students at Manipal will likely wear typical western clothing, but you should always err on the side of more conservative. T-shirts or ripped jeans should not be worn to class. As with the women, remember that your experience in India will be enhanced if you dress appropriately for the local context.
Women’s and Men’s Clothing
Underwear: Bring plenty of underwear! It is common in many parts of India for laundry to be hung in public areas to dry (though not on campus), so try to bring modest cuts and solid colors as not to draw attention. Cotton underwear is typically best for the hot climate.
Shorts: Shorts are not commonly worn in India and are not appropriate for class, dining halls, or when off campus. Shorts can be worn in hostels and in the sports complex.
Sweater/Outerwear: Manipal is a tropical climate, so sweaters, sweatshirts, and fleece will not be needed except when traveling in the hills or in the northern part of the country before or after the program. During the monsoon season, it is good to have one lightweight shell or waterproof jacket.
- Flip-flops or sandals – In India people commonly slip off their shoes before entering homes, temples, and even some classrooms and places of business, so you’ll want at least one pair of flip-flops or sandals that you can take off easily. They’re also easier to deal with during monsoon. Sandals are widely available and inexpensive in India, so feel free to wait to acquire a pair when you’re there.
- Sturdy walking sandals – also a good idea, also available in India.
- Athletic shoes – with the hills and mountains near Manipal and the state-of-the-art indoors sports complex on campus, it is a good to have at least one pair with you.
- Sun hat/sunglasses: The Indian sun is strong, so be sure to bring adequate protection.
Dress clothes: Chances are good that you will be invited to at least one Indian wedding or other celebration while you are in India, so you'll want at least one nice outfit to wear. Women, this could be your opportunity to buy your first sari, but if you do also want to bring something from home, keep in mind the above guidelines here, too.
Please be sure to bring a full semester’s supply of any prescription medication you require. Most medications are available in Manipal, but certain brand names may not be available or there might be slight variations, so bring as much of any required medication as you will need for the duration of your stay.
Most everyday toiletries are available in Manipal, but you may want to start out with a basic supply (a few weeks' worth) of the following:
- Mosquito repellent
- Basic self-medication needs (aspirin, band-aids, etc.)
- Anti-bacterial waterless hand cleaner (you’ll probably use A LOT of this)
- Contact lens solution
- Feminine products (though you might want to consider the Keeper, a favorite of women travelers, www.thekeeper.com)
- Laptop computer (see "Staying Connected" for more information)
- Camera and charger
- Adapter/converter for electronics
- Small flashlight (occasional power cuts)
- Sturdy water bottle with screw top
- Money belt
- A towel to use when you first arrive
- Extra passport pictures (you can also get them made inexpensively in India, but as long as you're putting forth the effort to have some made in the US, you might as well get extras)
- Small photo album with pictures of family, friends, home, and college to share with your host family/roommates
- Travel alarm clock
- Ziploc bags (you have no idea how many uses you find for these!)
- Locks for luggage or cabinets
- Swiss Army knife (be sure to pack in your checked baggage)
- USB "flash" drive
- Any favorite small games (Frisbee, cards, chess, etc.)
- Musical instrument if you play one (this would be permitted as a second carry-on)
- Gifts for your roommates or their families, should you travel home with them at some point during the semester (something from your college/university or unique to your hometown/region is usually a good idea)