It is ISA’s endeavor to make new students feel at home and comfortable when they first reach Cincinnati. Indian seniors at UC take in new students for a maximum of one week from the date of their arrival. The idea behind this service is to promote interaction among new students and seniors at UC, and make their transition into life at Cincinnati pleasant and smooth. This service is voluntary and free of charge. Students, who wish to avail the same, are requested to fill the form available on the website. ISA shall do its best to accommodate all the students that seek temporary accommodation.
Informing the University of your arrival/ID card
Once you are comfortably settled in your senior’s apartment and are adjusted to the new time zone, you must visit the University’s International Student Services Organization (ISSO) at their Office in Edward’s Hall IV to inform them of your arrival. By doing so, you will be issued an identity card, also known as the Bearcat Card, which from then on, will be your identification as a student of the University for as long as you are registered as a student with the University. The Bearcat card can also be used as a keycard for entrance into certain buildings and as a debit card inside the campus to make purchases in food courts and bookstores. Please do not misplace or lose the card at any cost. You may have to pay a fee of $35 to get the card re-issued.
Getting a phone connection
Most people in US go for a post-paid connection since most carriers offer the handset with the connection for free (lower end phones) or for a cheaper price than the actual value of the handset, with a two year contract. The common wireless carriers in the United States are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The bill of most of these carriers for basic plans (Calls+ Text+ Web) is more than $60, whether it is pre-paid or post.
The underlying problem in this case, is that an Social Security Number (SSN) is required to get a post-paid connection, which none of us have when we first reach the US. What most of the students in US do is, join a senior’s plan and wait till they get a SSN to get a plan of their own. However, some carriers such as T-Mobile do not need the students to pose a SSN. It is advisable to either start a family plan or join one. A family plan can include a maximum of 5 members and the bill is equally shared among friends. The T-Mobile Unlimited Text + Calls + Limited 4G (500 MB) works out around $150 for the family ($30 per person).
If you have relatives or friends in the US, you can choose to join their plan. Also, there is a Sprint shop in the campus in Steger Student life center. Inquire whether an SSN is required to get a connection. If you need to get an individual connection, it is advised that you get a prepaid Cincinnati Bell account. You can get a connection, the very day after reaching Cincinnati. The only paperwork you need is your visa and passport.
Opening a Bank Account
It is advisable that you open a bank account as soon as possible and deposit any traveler’s checks or cash that you will be carrying with you. However, try to obtain a mobile connection first as your bank application will require one. Opening a bank account is a very easy process here and would not take more than 15 minutes. All you would need is your passport, visa and I20. You can mention your senior’s address for the time-being and then change it once you settle into your own apartment.
For convenience and easy access, opening a Bank account with a bank which is on or near the campus is advisable. There are many ATM’s in and around campus.
Banks in and around the campus:
PNC Bank has a branch within the campus. You can also link your Bearcat card with your PNC account and use the bearcat card to withdraw money from PNC ATMs on campus. Other banks around campus are Fifth Third and Chase. While there are a quite a number of PNC ATMs in and around campus, PNC bank is not as good as Chase (located near the T-Mobile store) when it comes to speed of transactions and customer service . Fifth Third also has many ATMs in and around Cincinnati and one inside the campus.
NEXT FEW DAYS
Renting an apartment
Please check out NAKSHA to find more info on where most Indian students reside, and other points of interest such as shopping, Indian restaurants, etc.
You can look up Craigslist or look at websites of rental agencies like Uptown Rentals, Gaslight Properties, Forum Apartments, Mont Michel Apartments and Rent Clifton which own a lot of apartment buildings in and around campus. Generally what students do is walk around campus and look for signs that read that units are available. Though there are always students who book apartments from back at home, we sincerely request you to take a look at the apartment before signing the lease. Schedule an appointment through the number provided and show up on time. Ensure that the apartment has secure entry, laundry within the building, maintenance, easy access to shuttle stop and its proximity to the campus before making any commitments.
All the apartments will be equipped with a refrigerator, a stove (induction or gas), heating and AC units! Some houses also provide microwave ovens (else you can buy one at Walmart for less than $40).
- Always confirm with the landlord if the heat and water is provided by them and if its bill is included in the rent. Paying for heat out of your pocket might send your electricity bill through the roof in winter.
- Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the lease. The standard lease duration is one year but many landlords offer short term lease (of 6 months) too! Please visit the apartment you are being offered before you sign the lease (if you are booking the apartment online before coming to the US, ask you seniors residing nearby to take a look at it).
- When you finish signing your lease, it is your duty to get the electricity and internet connections to your apartment. You need to call the respective company and set up a new account in your name. It takes around 3 days for the company to provide the service. Plan ahead and finish the formalities as soon as you sign the lease, to ensure that you are able to move into your apartment within 7 to 10 days of your arrival.
Please have a look at following links for additional information:
Setting up your apartment
Walmart/Kroger/CVS/Jagdeep’s (Indian grocery store) is your next stop. You can board a bus from the campus or nearby, to buy nearly everything from pillows to kitchen ware, needed to start your own place from Walmart. Ensure that you allow yourselves around 4 to 5 hours for shopping. You can either board the bus back home or hail a taxi (shouldn’t cost you more than $30), considering the amount of items you will be carrying. Kroger/CVS/Jagdeep’s are around the campus. Kindly check NAKSHA to locate them!