Shopping List

I want my wardrobe to be full of good clothes, so that when I’m deciding what to wear, I don’t run out of options. I love shopping! ~Virat Kohli

Even if you don’t agree, you’ll have to buy some stuff anyway.¬†As most of you are coming abroad for the first time, we would like to suggest to Carry all the Original Certificates, Passport (with VISA-Stamped), I-20, Ticket and money (both USD and INR) with you in your cabin luggage. Also, you need to carry some cloths, medicines (with prescription), utensils and some optional items in your check-in luggage.

For a full list of items we recommend you carry, download this:

List of items to bring along

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.

Get ready to fly!

You’ll be the same year after year except for the people you meet, the books you read, the films you watch, the places you travel, and the new things you do.
~Lomin L Lee
Your visa is stamped, flight tickets booked, bags packed, and the Ola is waiting. You’re set… almost. Keep these things in mind before you begin your journey:
  • Reach the airport in time. At least 2 hours before a national flight and 3 hours before an international flight.
  • Make sure that you have address and phone number tags on all your luggage.
  • Keep your passport, ticket, I-20, admission letter and all other official documents in your hand bag.
  • Make photocopies of all important documents and keep them in your check-in luggage and as well in your hand bag.
  • Carry an extra set of clothes.
  • Keep at least one or two contact phone numbers and address handy.
  • Apart from dollars keep some Indian currency.

During check-in at the airport:

  • Make sure that your luggage is checked in all the way to your destination in USA.
  • Keep your baggage tags safely.
  • A national flight might need baggage identification. Confirm this with the local airlines staff.
  • Fill out the necessary customs and immigration forms in the international airport.

And on the flight:

  • Before landing you will be given a customs and immigration form. Fill them up in the plane itself.
  • When in doubt, always put the address in your passport as the address in India and your school’s address as address in USA.