What do I bring?

A black hole is a singularity in space-time. Your baggage isn’t.

Worried about what you need to bring for your new life in C-U? Here’s our handy guide!


You will need money for the following :

(The list is only indicative and not exhaustive)

  • Security deposit for the apartment and a month’s rent. The rental rates are approximately as follows:
    • Efficiency (one room) : $350
    • Single bedroom : $400
    • Double bedroom : $700
    • Triple bedroom : $900
    • Utility bills for first month (phone, cable, electricity) : $100
    • Food and other things for the apartment : $300 – $600
  • A conservative estimate for the amount of money you need to bring would be a figure more than $1500


For all grad. students food is a major issue. Its nice to have at least a basic knowledge of cooking before coming here.

Here’s a list of some Indian grocery stores:
Harvest Market – 2029 S Neil St.
Annapoorna Grocery – 505 S. Neil St. , Suite #11
Mirsung – 49A E. Green St. (out of business)
Bombay Stores – 48 E. Springfield Ave.

You will find frozen curries, roti, Nan and other stuff in these stores.You need to bring some crockery and cutlery with you. Some non-stick pans and a pressure cooker might be useful.


  • It gets really cold in winters. You will need warm sweaters and jackets. You might bring a blanket with you.
  • Try to bring 2-3 double size bed sheets and some pillow cases.
  • In summer it also gets quite hot, so you may need lighter clothes.
  • Also try to get some Indian attire like kurtas, salwar, sarees, and lahengas as you might need them in Indian get-togethers.


  • Books are extremely expensive here. Each book costs around $50-$100.
  • Try bringing the books that are relevant to your field along with you.
  • Please don’t hesitate to contact someone from your department if you are not sure of the book list. Also have a look at the Illini Union Bookstore’s website to check if any of your courses have required textbooks.


  • Its a good idea to learn driving. You don’t need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Illinois, but you may need it in other states. You can drive for the first few months with your Indian license, but you need to get an Illinois state license eventually.
  • You definitely do need medical insurance till your coverage starts here. Normally this should be the date school starts.