Information for New Pakistani Students
E-Mentor System for Arriving Students: For newly arriving students the current PSA committee has come up with an E-Mentor service. One of the PSA members would be assigned as a mentor to any arriving students to fills out the form (see below). A mentor will contact you within one week after receiving the form. The mentors would be assigned based on your hometown.
Please fill out this form and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Arrival Information: Purdue University is located in a small town called West Lafayette, in the state of Indiana. Adjacent to West Lafayette is the relatively larger city, Lafayette. These are just two distinct twin/neighboring cities like Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Remember there are at least four cities in USA named Lafayette, so we distinguish these as Lafayette/West Lafayette, “Indiana”. The two nearest major airports are in Indianapolis and Chicago. We are 60 miles north of Indianapolis and 120 miles south of Chicago. You can book your flight all the way to one of these two airports. There is a bus service from each of these airports to reach West Lafayette. The URLs for the two bus services are:
Lafayette Limo is the name of bus service from Indianapolis to West Lafayette while the Express Air Coach runs between O’Hare airport Chicago and West Lafayette. Ask the drivers to drop you off at the “Purdue Memorial Union” stop. Purdue Memorial Union is like the heart of the campus.
Jobs On-Campus: Most of the graduate students get scholarship from their departments. It is generally called “Funding”. The funding can be in the form of “Teaching Assistantship” or “Research Assistantship”. If you don’t have a promised funding, you can still work on-campus. Working on-campus means that you can work in any university department; the job should be related to the university and you will get paid. International students (on F-1 and J-1 visa) are allowed to work on-campus only for a maximum of 20 hours per week. You can not work for a private company or business. There are plenty of jobs available, like at university cafeterias, IT help, office work, etc. The key is to get here as early as possible and search. PSA members can provide you directions in this regard.
Getting Here Early: We recommended that you get here as early as possible after getting your visa. It will not only help you in securing a job (if you need one), but also make your settling much more easy. You will have to find a proper place to live, buy household items (like bedding), buy a computer, get used to the bus routes and find your way around campus, etc. The earliest you become easy with life here before the semester starts the better it will be. As semester starts, everyone gets so busy in his/her own; it is hard to find help. We also recommend that you attend BGR (Boiler Gold Rush) which is held during the week before classes – it makes settling in easier and helps you in learning campus routes and buildings.
Masjid On-Campus: We have a Masjid on-campus. The masjid has a guest room where new students can stay free of cost for the first 3 days. Contact Muslim Students Association officers through the following URL:
Housing: Housing generally means the living arrangement. The university has a number of hostels for both graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, there are many private apartment complexes that are cheaper and spacious than the hostels. The benefit of having own apartment is that you can cook meals to your taste (The hostel food might be bland to your spicy taste buds plus the halal meat problem). Bachelor Pakistani students are living at various apartment complexes. Most of the Pakistanis live together. We hope that the PSA group will provide an opportunity to build your connection with other new students to find apartment together. Married Pakistani students are mostly living in Purdue Village. Purdue Village provides good activities and great opportunities for spouses and children to interact with other Pakistani families. Some of the housing links are:
Clothing: The weather here is severe at both extremes (from 0 to above 35 degree centigrade). We have good four seasons. It snows in winter. Bring warm clothing, both under- and outer-garments. You may not find a good jacket from Pakistan to handle the cold weather that we have here. Plan on buying one jacket from here (for around $50). Houses and buildings are all weather proof, which means air-conditioning keeps them cool in summer and warm in winter. Leather jackets are not very effective. Long coat like Neo wears in Matrix maybe a good thing to bring.
What To Bring: Don’t bring a computer. You can buy a good computer for cheap from here. You can buy a branded fully-loaded desktop computer for ~$600 with all warranties. If at all, just bring a CPU. Regarding food items, legally you can not bring un-cooked food items into USA. You can get all types of Shan or National masala from here. Bring a pressure cooker if you want. Basic utensils and crockery is cheap here. Bring a blanket or quilt if you like. Jeans or shorts and t-shirts is most common dress. Aata, rice, daal and other desi foods are abundant. If you have kids, then bring urdu reading writing books. No stationary or books are needed for schools here, they will provide everything.
Books: Books are very very expensive from our Pakistani standards. Every department has a list of courses that you will have to take, and every course has a text book. You will definitely require the text book for every course, as most of assignments and exams come from textbooks. Buy all the books from Pakistan. Roughly speaking, a book that you can buy for Rs. 500 in Pakistan will cost around $100 in USA. Look at your department website to locate coursework information and then find the details of the books. Try the discussion group to post your major area of study and someone can give you a tentative list of books that you may require. There is no need to bring stationary. Initial stationary can be arranged for you.
Restaurants: Most of the restaurants in USA offer vegetarian and sea-food dishes. In West Lafayette, there are a few restaurants that serve Halal meat. If you are not aware of the term “Kosher”, it is the meat that Jews prepare. We can ask and eat kosher meat and dishes also. There are a number of stores in our city that sell Halal meat and Pakistani grocery items. Khyber General Store is one dominant name amongst them.
ISS Services: International Students and Scholars (ISS) is the office that issued your I-20 or DS-2019 document. They provide a number of services for new international students. We strongly recommend that you attend their orientation programs (Graduate students: Aug 10, Undergraduates: Aug 16). A lot of important information is imparted in the orientation. Some of our members also volunteer to help ISS in their programs. The ISS student volunteers are a great source of first hand knowledge and help.
Immigration Emergency: The ISS have an emergency number on their website in case you face any problem at the airport in USA.
Free Pick-Up Service: ISS also provides a free pick-up service from bus stops for a few days before orientation. If you will be arriving in those days, please do sign up for this service. It is free. You will get a free ride with your entire luggage from the bus stop to wherever you intend putting up. The sign up page is at:
Expenses: Generally, $800-1000 per month is enough for the living expenses for a single student. The amount can be less if you share apartment. If you have half-time funding you will have less than $1000 to pay for your tuition of 6-9 credit hours. Married students with families spend ~$300 on food and ~600 on rent. The school for kids 5 year or older is free, with free pick and drop.
Medical: If you have not got vaccination done or you don’t have record, get it done or get the record. The state and University law requires you to be immunized against certain diseases. If you are not immunized, they will require you to be and it will be costly here. Kids immunization is, in most cases, free. Bring all their old record and government agencies may do the missing immunization for the kids for free. Your medical insurance will cover most of the medical treatment that you may need once here, but it does not cover eye and dental. Get your dentist check-up and treatment done before coming as dental work is also expensive. Get eye exam done and bring 2-3 spare spectacles. Eye exam and glasses are also very expensive here. A simple spectacle can cost you $400. For the immunization requirements, see the link:
This informal and suggestive information was compiled and edited by S.M.Iqbal. Please check directly with the referred organizations and businesses for the latest information and accuracy. PSA and its affiliates bear no responsibility for external content and for the suggestions presented in this page.