Immunizations/ Vaccinations :
You are advised to have the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) injection, and get a certificate if possible for all the vaccinations you had when you were a child. Hepatitis-B vaccinations are also advised, but it takes 3 injections over 6 months. Consult your doctor on all this. If you have taken any of these immunizations you will not be able to register for classes, besides you will have to pay for them here which will cost a little more than in India. Visit the ISU health center link: http://www.indstate.edu/shc/immunization_notice.htm. All students need to have health insurance once enrolled in a program in ISU. Contact the Student health center for information on insurance offered from school. Visit this link for insurance outside school http://www.myusainsurance.com/Tiger/home.do


Working on campus/ Graduate Tuition waivers/ Scholarships:

Graduate students  are eligible for Tuition waivers/ Scholarships. If you haven't been granted the waiver and scholarship at the time of admission, you will have to apply for them once you reach ISU. Finding a tuition waiver is competitive in the first semester. However you can apply for on-campus jobs which  provide a stipend of approx. $550 (salary) per month.


Ways to apply for jobs:

  • Approach your department of study for scholarships, waivers or student jobs.

  • Go to Human Resources Dept. Please note you have to go to the HR office in person, applications are not taken online.

  • Email prospective departments asking if there is a vacancy. Please email a polite message with your resume attached indicating your skills.

Useful things to bring :
Text Books: Bring any textbooks that you know will be useful for your coursework here, that have Indian editions. Don't bring photocopied books - one, they are illegal ; two, you won't feel comfortable if someone sees you reading one of those; three, books are a great investment when you learn something from them. Try getting in touch with people in your department and find out what books you will need. Textbooks are not cheap, but affordable if you have a stipend, and reasonable compared to other things you'll spend on. 

Music: Bring your favorite CDs or cassettes. You can get a lot of music (Indian and Western) here too, so it really doesn't matter either way.


Get an IDP (International Driving Permit / License) - it helps you practice driving before you can get a driver's license, which is almost a necessity after some time. The usefulness of this can't be overstated (you can rent a car to practice driving, not spend money on expensive driving lessons, not inconvenience others by asking to borrow their car, etc. etc.)


Bring a set of transcripts with you in case you require them for interviews or new degree applications.

Spices: Bring some home-made spices and your favorite pickles (make sure they are sealed very well, and store them in your hand baggage, otherwise they'll leak). The Indian Store located in Terre Haute, carries almost every variety of packaged pickles/spices, in addition to most other things you might need, but a few home-made varieties are not a bad idea. 

Utensils: Bring a medium sized pressure cooker or a pressure pan, as these are quite useful. If you are serious about cooking, a few steel vessels and spoons are useful too. A spare safety valve, gasket, and sealing ring are good with a cooker. Bring all the cooking skills you can. This is more important than you probably think (yes, we know mess grub was bad, but try making it yourself!) See cooking for more details.

Clothing: The average summer temperature is around 30 degrees C. In winter it dips to around -10 degrees C. Night time temperatures are around 15 degrees and subzero degrees C respectively. Campus clothing is casual. T-shirts and shorts are most commonly worn in summers. Bring jeans and winter jackets for a mild winter. Formal clothing will be required only while interviewing for an internship or job, and during formal presentations/conferences. Please don't forget to bring along some traditional Indian clothing for festive and cultural occasions. Traveling outside school is either by bus or car. 

Footwear: A good pair of leather shoes is practical, as they are much cheaper in India. A pair of sneakers (sports shoes) and slippers are a good idea to get you by the first few months. You can always buy a good pair here later. In winter you will have to wear closed shoes  with a good grip on ice. Open shoes are comfortable in Fall and Summer.

Medicines: If you have any special medical needs, be aware that specialized medicines can be bought in the U.S. only with a prescription, so you would need to see a doctor. Otherwise, just bring small amounts of common cold/ headache/ indigestion tablets. These are easily bought here as well, although it will take you some time to learn the names. 

Things "not" to Bring :
Anything that runs on 220 Volts, you can't even plug it in, leave alone expect it to work.

Any winter clothing other than a sweater.

Do not carry electronic goods, they are cheaper here.

Do not bring fresh plant products such as fruits, vegetables or meat products, you'll have trouble at customs. Pickles are ok, and its safer to answer "No" when you're asked about fresh fruits and vegetables.

Gifts for people unless they are authentically Indian and of good quality

Too much formal clothing. Most people dress casually and comfortably.

For Women, excessive jewelry. Again, same reason as above, it isn't appropriate for daily wear, but good only for special occasions.

A Truckload of spices - you get everything you need here.

A Note on cooking :
Cooking is probably the most useful skill to acquire while in India. Eating out often is not practical, because of the effort (often not within walking distance), the cost (an average meal in a restaurant is around $10 - 15), and the fact that it takes some time to acquire different tastes. It is often a welcome break though! 

Also, there comes a time in everyone's existence in America when one is absolutely tired of cooking. The better  cook you are, the later this will happen. And yes, you will feel at times that you were better off eating commons grub. Most students cook regularly, so ensure you know the basics for a simple meal, and then learn specialties if you have the time and motivation.

Vegetables commonly available all season are Potatoes, Onions, Green peppers (Capsicum), Tomatoes, various kinds of beans including green beans, Chana, kidney beans, and others. Cauliflower, Cabbage, mushrooms, are also available easily. All kinds of meats are easily available.

Most kinds of dals are available at Indian stores in Terre Haute and Indianapolis.  For those more ambitious, there are a number of on-line recipe books you can find on the internet. Whether you're looking for new ideas, or just a "Indian grad. student's cookbook", many of these are floating around on the internet.

What to expect after coming here : 
Most students prefer to stay in family housing in groups of two, in order to lower their expenses. Single/Double bedroom apartments (furnished/unfurnished) are available around the university. Unfurnished apartments will include a refrigerator, a cooking range cum oven, and other fixtures. Furnished apartments will throw in furniture (sofas, drawers etc.) as well. Family Housing is provided with a telephone connection cable and internet access.

Monthly rent per student ranges from $175 to $ 260 on a sharing basis. Upon your arrival, ISA will try and accommodate you along with other students in an apartment. Please bring along bedspreads, cushions, utensils (a pressure cooker, a few pots and pans and some ladles), plates, spices, cook books etc. If you eat mostly at home, food would run around $100 a month for supplies, plus the cost of eating out. 

The comprehensive health insurance costs around $600-700/year depending on your age. While its a lot of money, medical costs are prohibitive and can ruin you if you are ever hospitalized without insurance.

Get used to walking, as you will have do a lot of that, at least in the beginning. Public transport is available, and while its useful to go to a few specific places. Bus schedules are every one hour, taxies are expensive (and not available on the street, you need to call for them). Making friends with people who own cars is a good idea. The temples are not accessible by bus, so you'll have to go with someone who is driving. 

The Foreign Student orientation is very useful - you get many useful tips, and make many friends. 

Its common for unknown people to smile at each other, and say things like "how are you?" or "how's  going?" even when they pass you on the street. These don't mean much, and are often just an artifact of social etiquette almost any answer is fine. Especially for women (well, guys too), don't misinterpret a smile or a trivial question from an unknown member of the opposite sex. 

Days are very long in summer. Even in August, it won't get dark until after 8:30 PM. The downside is that in winter its dark by 5 PM!

Back To Top