We're Here For You
Congratulations on your courage to study in the United States, right here at Illinois State University! This is no small decision. And it will shape the course of your life for years to come!
Young America is the premier student housing company for Illinois State. And we have a special place in our hearts for international students like you, who arrive here with few friends and plenty of unknowns! That’s why we’ve developed this International Student Welcome Process to help students like you:
• pick the perfect rental to call home
• prepare to move to a new country
• know what to do and where to go when you arrive
• get your bearings on campus and in the community
With Chinny as your guide, we hope to make this major transition a bit easier for you. We care because Young America is more than just your rental company—we’re honored to be your first friends here on campus.
Your Friends at Young America
You might be feeling overwhelmed right now, and I know there’s so much to do, but let me encourage you: you’ve got this. I was exactly where you are when I first arrived—in an empty apartment, thousands of miles away from home, and not a clue what exactly to expect from this new path.
The very first thing I would say is don’t hesitate to always ask for help! You made a brave decision to travel to this new city to achieve your dreams. This may be your first time in this country and city, so it’s okay to ask.
Also, everyone at Young America Realty is so kind and ready to help with whatever you need. This welcome guide is just a start, to highlight a few things to help you get settled in your first days on campus.
Graduate Student from Nigeria
Your New Home
Now that you are here, we want to help you get settled into your apartment. Having a place to call home is so important!
Adjusting to a new apartment takes time for all students. It may take a bit longer for you since you are here from another country. That’s normal! But trust us—very soon, ISU campus and the Bloomington–Normal community will be familiar and start to feel more like home.
As you unpack today, be sure to review our student MOVE-IN GUIDE. It outlines information about your apartment such as parking spots, apartment keys, internet set-up, online apartment inspection (due in 3 days!), and being a good neighbor. Because U.S. culture will differ from yours, we wanted to highlight a few things about apartment living:
Our community is quite friendly but we tend to keep our doors and first-floor windows closed and locked at night and when leaving home. We recommend you make this your habit too.
Be sure to keep your belongings inside your apartment and deposit your trash directly into the dumpster in the parking lot.
Be gentle with everything in your apartment. You are responsible for any damage to floors, furniture, walls, doors, and appliances. And a well-kept apartment will qualify you for a larger portion of your security deposit at the end of the lease!
I’m not sure I can properly describe how cold it gets, but trust me, it’s brutal. You can’t have any part of your body exposed because it stings so much. You’ll wear layers and layers of clothes and puffy winter jackets and boots, and your skin will dry out—and the best part? It’ll get dark before 5 p.m. You have to be prepared because it comes quick—so start asking questions in late October about where to buy affordable winter clothes and accessories. The first snow is beautiful and exciting . . . but you’ll get over that quickly. Winter is weird— but trust me, you will survive, and you will be so happy when it’s spring.
Graduate Student from Nigeria
Your New Campus & Community
Once you are settled in your new apartment—and after you’ve rested!—you’ll want to venture out to campus and even around the greater Bloomington Normal community. Take several walks around campus to learn the buildings and landmarks. If you have your class schedule, you may want to walk the route from your apartment to your classes and back. Be sure to check out Uptown Normal. It’s a quaint area of shops and restaurants within walking distance, just east of campus.
You’ll want to see the rest of the community too: both Normal and Bloomington have many shopping areas, restaurants, grocery stores, and points of interest. Grab a fellow student and explore all your new community has to offer!
If you want to get a driver’s license, visit cyberdriveillinois.com for requirements, fees, and the testing process.
You can also download an app like Uber or Lyft to request a ride anywhere for a small fee. Be sure to follow all the safety procedures recommended by these services.
Many students and residents bike around campus and the community—weather permitting, of course! Be sure to bike in designated lanes and to secure it with a lock at all bike racks.
You can also borrow a bike via the bike sharing program—learn more at normal.org/1290/Bike-Rentals.
Making New Friends
Food and friendships are essential to feeling at home here at ISU. In time you’ll find your favorite spots and people—until then, here are some tips. And please stop by to see your friends at the Young America office—we’re happy to answer questions and give advice!
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Come join us on the Quad!
The Student Division office will be closed today for the Festival.