Initial Needs & Shopping List
What items will my student need upon arrival to the US?
There are certain necessities that ALL college students need when starting school. This is where a host family can make a great difference in welcoming a student to the U.S. and making sure they have the right support to succeed fully at school.
Your student will likely come over from Africa with ALL of his or her personal belongings in ONE suitcase! It is very important for host families to help students gather some essential items in the beginning so that students are as prepared as possible. Not all students will need all of these things, but your student’s Support Coordinator can communicate what your student needs. If you want to make a tax-deductible donation to help cover these items, please work that out in advance with the B2R team.
We encourage you to reach out to your local church or network of friends to get others involved with gathering these anticipated items that students will need; sharing this burden will not only bless your scholar but will bless your friends and network as they give.
- Toiletries and basic hygiene items (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, etc.)
- Storage boxes
- Laundry detergent (You will need to teach them how to do laundry in machines!)
- Trash can
- Basic school supplies
- Athletic shoes, rain jacket, winter coat/boots/gloves/hat, dress clothes, etc.
- Please help the students gather warm clothes if you live in cold weather! These students have never
- experienced cold weather before, so they may need help in dressing for the winter. A warm coat, scarf, gloves, warm shoes are all items they will not have.
- Basic school clothes
- Dress clothes to wear to nicer events (most students will not come with nicer dress clothes)
- All students will need to buy a basic phone once they arrive in the US. We recommend starting with an inexpensive, “pay as you go” phone. Students generally save their spending money and end up buying nicer phones. A host family may also be able to give them a used phone and find an inexpensive phone plan for the student or even add the student to an existing family plan.
- Students will also need a laptop computer. Some of the schools provide a computer with the scholarship, but most students will not have one. The B2R Student Support Coordinator will communicate to the host family if this is an anticipated need for your particular student.
We ask that host families help to raise money to provide a modest monthly living stipend to help the students with extra incidentals, if they are able and willing to do that. We recommend $100 per month. Many students also work to earn a little extra spending money, but this modest stipend allows them to get adjusted and buy essentials such as toiletries, snacks, school supplies, etc. This can be set up through Bridge2Rwanda so that the students have a recurring monthly draft into their accounts. Again, the Bridge2Rwanda Student Coordinator will communicate with you if your student needs this.
**We ask for the host family to help the student set up a bank account when they first arrive in the US. It is best to do this during the first week when the student arrives.
Health Insurance and Medical Visits
Prior to leaving Rwanda, all Scholars will have had the following:
- Dental check up
- Vision check up
- General medical check up
All scholars will have health insurance through their university, so they will be able to visit the school clinic for most basic needs. There may be times when scholars need to have unexpected dental work, vision appointments, or other health-related needs in the US. Their school health insurance generally does not cover dental or vision, so there may be cases where the host family may need to help with scheduling appointments and follow up. The B2R team will work with the student and the host families in these situations to figure out the best way forward.