The following may help you in deciding on your purchases for your stay in the US.
- Dressing here is casual. So you may get jeans, t-shirts etc. Jeans are cheaper here though. Cotton clothes/shirts in general are pretty expensive. Get them from India.You can get decent ones here for about 8-10 dollars each. So its your choice.
- Undergarments - washing clothes on a daily basis is not quite possible since you need to pay $2.5 each time you use the washer & drier. The practice here is to do the laundry once in 2 weeks. So please get sufficient number of undergarments (at least a dozen)
- Traditional clothing - There will be quite a few occasions - events organized by ISA - where you would like to dress in traditional clothes. Girls - sarees and formal salwaar kameez sets.
- Suit - You will not need it for the first one year at least. You can get good ones here for about $70-200. So it's up to you.
Get one pair of good sneakers and one pair of formal leather shoes. (Leather shoes aren't necessary).
DO NOT buy thermals (also called long johns / inners). All apartments/ schools/Shops/ buses etc are centrally heated to maintain room temp. Thermals are available here at very reasonable prices.
DO NOT BUY winter jackets/woolen socks in India. You will need different kind of winter jackets that you can get only here. Woolen socks shrink and do not help much anyway. You may want to get a couple of sweaters. Here the sweaters cost about $15+ each. Leather jackets serve as FALL/ SPRING jackets (meant for transition from summer to hardcore winter and vice-versa). You can get good FALL jackets here for $25-40. Leather jackets DO NOT help against the cold at all, though we see many guys wearing it here. A good winter jacket that will last for 3 yrs easily will cost about 100$. In general, people buy it here. So getting a leather jacket is optional.
They cost around $100 each pair. So please get like 3 pairs. The same goes for contact lenses. However you don’t need to bring too much contact lens solution as it is easily available here and is very reasonably priced.
You'll need a 5 or 6 ltr pressure cooker. Avoid getting steel utensils since they are painful to clean. Most students here use non-stick pans which cost about $20 here. If they are less expensive in India you may want to get them along. Get pickles, masala + home made food. no problems with customs clearance at the airports.BUT MAKE SURE THEY ARE VERY VERY WELL PACKED - SEALED TO BE AIR TIGHT. IF THEY LEAK IT COULD CAUSE PROBLEMS. Hand baggage should help. DO NOT GET rice/atta etc. it is too heavy to carry from India and anyway you get it here in the stores at nominal prices. People fond of chapathis may get their rolling pins (the "belan" You might have seen used at home for cooking or otherwise). bringing a flat tava is also ok. Get a vessel holder (you use it when the vessel is hot). Those fond of idlis can bring idli plates. The flat tava is good enough for dosa also. In general the enthusiasm to make all this stuff would die down in a couple of months. Get essential stuff like toothpaste, soap, etc to last you until ur first shopping trip here. But don't try to carry a year's supply with you
Get a couple of bed sheets/ pillow covers. Get slippers to wear around in the house.You DO NOT need to get rugs/ thick blankets. You get good blankets (comforters/ rajais) here for reasonable prices. DO NOT carry hangers (they occupy a lot of space and anyway they are available here for almost no cost). Get stuff for some basic sewing (thread and needles).
Though text books here are expensive, few of them are usually available in India. You may try and get in touch with seniors in your respective departments for a list of text books.
Carry some basic medicines as tablets/capsules (no tonics please)- for cough, cold, muscle pain, fever, stomach problems (Gelucil tablets are good enough, etc).
Housing and Transport
Another important thing all of you have questions about is housing. Campus or Dormitory charges are very high compared to off-campus housing.
There are two types of on-campus housing available. 1) Cedar Dell Village - approx. $500 per month. 2) Dormitories - approx. $350 per month. There have been many problems due to limited space for the new students who applied for dorm accommdation.
- Off Campus:
Usual number of people sharing and apartment varies from 2 to 5 depending on the size of the house, preferences and willingness to spend. The usual rates when 3 or 4 people share an apartment is around 175 to 225 per person (upper bound of 300)- basically can save up to 100 or more over the on-campus housing.You have the fridge already there in the apartments. You have your own kitchen etc of course. And it is like living in a house instead of one room.
- There are different locations for apartments around UMassd: the closest of which are:
2) New Bedford.
3) Fall River.
- Buses ply regularly between New Bedford and Fall River with a 1 Hour Interval. All these buses go through UMASS Dartmouth. So if you are either located in Fall River or New Bedford, access to bus facilities are easy, but dependent on the area where you live. Weekend frequencies are lesser.
Entry to USA
We are trying to give you a step by step account of what you need to do once you get off the flight at Airport. Immigration formalities are done at the port of entry (first airport in US that your flight touches down at). The Actual Immigration formalities takes 2-3 minutes per person but the total waiting time depends on the queue. They check your I-20 and pass you luggage through the scanner. You will then proceed to the baggage collection belt (You will not need to search for anything - they are all located one after another displaying the flight Number in a LCD display). You will find pushcarts around the place. They are usually free, but please do have four or five one dollar bills just in case you need to pay for using the pushcarts. Getting your luggage could take you about 20 minutess. As soon as you come out, one of the ISA members will be waiting to pick you up.