To-do List

I’m controlling, and I want everything orderly, and I need lists. My mind goes a mile a minute. I’m difficult on every single level.

~ Sandra Bullock

Here’s a quick and easy to-do list for your first days here:

  • Registration: Visit the Illini Bookstore at 809 S. Wright Street to get your I-Card made for which you will need your I-20 and your Letter of Acceptance along with your passport. This will get you free bus access and your University Identity Number (UIN) too. If you already have an on-campus job, please collect a Temporary Control Number (TCN) as it takes some time to get Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Next, go to the International Students and Scholar Services building(ISSS) on Sixth and John St. and check yourself in as an International student. You will get maps of the campus there. For one week, this process is moved to the Illini Union. Please check the website to know where you need to go.
  • Go to any of the Banks on campus. Chase, Busey, PNC, and UICCU are some of the widely used ones and set up student checking accounts. This should get you an account to transfer your money into a debit card for your expenses.
  • Vaccination at McKinley – Take the health form you got with your I-20 (or will recieve at the ISSS) and report to the McKinley Health Center. They might require your I-20 and your passport for verification. The staff there will take your TB test, check your form and will brief about your next steps. Carry your I Card with you and some cash (~$30). You also need to have a doctor’s prescription for all the medicines that you are carrying from home.
  • Getting a Social Security Number (SSN): For all the students who are getting assistantship, it is mandatory to get a SSN. It helps to get Credit Card and necessary to build Credit History in USA.
  • Do go to your departments, talk with your adviser, fix up your class schedule. Submit your transcripts at Coble Hall (home of the Graduate College).
  • Familiarize yourself with the campus:
    • Walk around, go to the different labs, explore the Union, talk to your seniors/accommodating hosts about the campus, visit the different sites around campus.
    • Check out the bookstores, you will get a lot of free stuff from them and instructions too.
    • Pick up Bus schedules from any bus that you take.
    • Take buses to Market Place Mall, Walmart, Meijers and explore downtown too!

This time is precious and you will not get it again! Maximize it!

Campus map:

The first steps…

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Lao Tzu

After being cooped up in a metal tube half way across the world, you’re finally back on solid ground… unfamiliar, solid ground. First things first, keep these things in mind at the airport:

  • After leaving the plane proceed towards the immigration counter. The queues tend to be really long, especially at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
  • The immigration officer will look at your forms and passport. Be ready with your I-20, before you get to the counter. The officer may ask you some questions about why you want to be admitted into the US – be honest, and calm. You’re coming to one of the best schools out there, you deserve it.
  • The officer will return the custom form and other documents. Unlike the old procedure, you will not be given a paper I-94 form, you can download that from here instead anytime afterwards. Keep this with you for future use.
  • Pick up your bags from the luggage claim area and proceed towards the customs area.
  • Normally they ask you if are carrying any fruit, vegetables, spices, bay-leaves, papad, pickles etc. Declare whatever you have.

To get from Chicago to Champaign:

  • Some of the most popular shuttle services are the Peoria Charter Coach Company, and Express Air Coach (EAC) Shuttle. You will need to buy a ticket beforehand from India. Do this as soon as your itinerary is confirmed, since it can be a busy time.
  • ISSS sometimes runs a shuttle service. Check their e-mails to your account regularly for information.
  • There are some groups on Facebook made by Indian students who are coming to UIUC .These groups will be particularly helpful in locating other students in your region who are coming to UIUC too. Its a nice place to look for prospective roommates as well!

Pick-Up and Temporary Accommodation

The landlord won’t listen. We know.

Every year, new students discover that they’re coming to their new homes before it’s quite ready… and that they have no idea how to get there. IGSA offers a volunteer-driven pick-up and temporary accommodation service to help you get by.

Watch this space for more information.