Updated: Aug 31
Congratulations and welcome to all the new admits! If you're a new international student starting your Master's journey at Indiana University, this guide will help you organize your to-do lists and learn more about what Bloomington has to offer. I have complied all the frequently asked questions in this guide. Although orientation can be a lot of fun, it can be overwhelming sometimes. I hope you find this guide helpful.
Social Security Number: Apply for an SSN here after you get a part-time job.
Indiana State ID: Apply for a state identification card here which can serve as your identification proof within the US if you don't have a US driver's license.
Driver’s license: You should take the driver’s license knowledge written test and then take behind the wheels test to get your license. You can find the study manual online or get a free one from the BMV office. Once you pass the written test you will be given a learner’s permit if you do not have your native country driver’s license. You can drive with learner’s permit for 6 months before you can give your driver skills test to get the permanent driver’s license. If you already have your native country license (valid only for a year), then you can directly get the license if you pass the test. In both cases, you still should write the knowledge written exam.
Bank Account: Most of the international students have accounts in Chase and IU Credit union. You will need your visa documents to open the account.
SIM card: You can go to BestBuy to buy a sim card. You can start a family plan with your friends and it is usually cheaper than individual plan. One of the cheap options most international students go for is H20. Other popular ones are AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
Credit Card: You can apply for student credit card after you get your SSN. I'd recommend Discover and Blue Cash everyday American express. Try to get a referral for cash bonus. Using credit cards in the US is really important as it helps you build your credit score and get loan approvals. Here is a referral link for Discover
Apps to install:
Hooked: Deals on restaurants for dining in or pickup
Uber and Lyft: Ride sharing app.
Btownmenus: Online food delivery. Grubhub and hoosierfood are the other popular ones
TAP ride: Free taxi service provided by IU, from 8 PM to 1.45 AM, seven days a week.
Double MAP: Real time Bloomington transit bus tracking app
Splitwise: Most popular app among friends and roommates to track bills and other shared expenses.
Cash, Venmo: Online free payment app
Remitly and Western Union: Transfer money outside of the USA
Rebtel, Dial 91: To make international calls
Renting a car:
Zipcar, Enterprise, Hertz: These are some car rentals popular in Bloomington. If you want to share a ride with someone, you can join the Bloomington Rideshare group in Facebook.
BISM: BISM stands for Bloomington International Students Ministries. They host a lot of fun events and services for international students. It is a great community to get involved in and make new friends.
Hoosier sale: There is a Hoosier sale that happens during the Fall where you can buy cheap furniture.
Public Library Monroe County: For book lovers, definitely go to the Public Library Monroe County. It is free for residents. All you need is ID and address proof to get yourself a membership.
IMU: IMU society hosts game nights and movie nights for the students. Check out their website and Facebook group.
IU Auditorium: They host different cinema, art and music events throughout the year, especially during Christmas
Salsa dancing: Check out Ritmos latinos dance club if you're into Salsa.
Recreational center (SRSC): They have a bunch of different fitness classes and swimming classes, which are free for students. Visit the SRSC home page to see their group class schedules.
Part time Job opportunities:
Go to IU job website here and find part-time jobs that interests you. It is always good if you get a referral or try going and meeting the employer in person.
IU Recreational center hosts recruiting sessions for part-time jobs. Other opportunities in campus cafes are: RPS café, Bookmark eatery at Wells library, Burger King and Baja Fresh in IMU.
You can find part time jobs in IU Classifieds as well. If you have a skill you want to teach you can post an ad in IU Classifieds.
Indian restaurants recommendations: Taste of India and Indian garden in Bloomington has a great lunch buffet. Some amazing Indian restaurants outside Bloomington are: India sizzling, Mumbai grill, Apna Kitchen and Hyderabad Biryani House.
Shopping recommendations: Kohl's, Fashion Mall at Keystone Crossing, Castleton Mall, Edinburgh Outlet Mall and Circle Center Mall. For electronics shopping, if you can wait until Thanksgiving and Black Friday you will find some great deals.
Outdoor activities recommendations: Monroe lake, Griffy lake, Brown County State park, McCormicks Creek, Turkey run, Eagle creek, Indiana Dunes and Cataract falls. Other events to checkout are Little 500, Balloon festival, Monroe county fair and the college games (the best!)
LPT: Go to as many networking events as you can. Learn the art of networking! This will set you up for success for finding job opportunities and for making meaningful connections.