Pre-Departure Checklist

This is just a list of things you need to keep in mind before you leave for the United States of America.

Immunization:

Administering Immunization vaccines is strongly advised .There are certain prescribed immunization vaccines that are to be taken before you depart from India. Some of them might require multiple doses over a period of time, so plan accordingly keeping the departure date in mind. If you are planning to stay on campus then the vaccines which you take in India is not sufficient, UIC will administer some more after you arrive here.

Dental and Eye Checkup:

Dental care and Eye care is expensive in the United States. Get a checkup done and sort out the related problems before you depart. Get an extra pair of spectacles/lens (solution and cases) as these are quite expensive in the US.

Health Insurance:

Getting a health insurance is a must. At least the health insurance that you take from India should cover you from the day you leave till the day of commencement of classes at UIC beyond which, you will be covered under the college CAMPUS CARE program.

Personal Expences:

Please bring around US$1000 (preferably by ForEx card or Traveler's Checks) for preliminary expenses for the first semester. Also make sure you have around US$100 to US$300 in cash in smaller denominations for immediate expenses and emergencies.
Carry some change as quarters in case you have to use the telephone. Regarding credit cards; in case you have an international credit card, have it with you as a safety measure though you don't want to use it. Reason being, for every dollar you spend say about 3 to 4% is taken as commission and misc. charges.
Also, its always recommended to carry the receipt of the cash that you shall be getting converted from INR to USD so as to justify of where and how did you get the money.

Most Important:

Pack sets of original documents and sets of photocopies in your handbag and leave a photocopy of all documents at home in India too.
Attested copies of the transcripts(if you have already recieved them) in a sealed envelope is a must for submitting in the admissions office.
For those, who won't be able to get the degree certificate this time in August, make arrangements to have it mailed to you as soon as possible with the help of your parents or friends back in India.

This list helps you with the things you need to pack.

Clothing:

T-shirts and jeans (casual wear)
A dozen or more of Inner wear
Warm clothing like a sweater (For moderate weather).You will necessarily have to buy winter jacket here (approx. $50 - $100) to combat Chicago's cold.
Traditional Indian dresses for cultural celebrations.
Formal wear (shirts, trousers, blazers/suits, ties for guys and similar formal wears for girls) for interviews.
About 7 pairs of socks (woollen ones)
Handkerchiefs
A good swimming trunk
Few shorts
Couple or more ties
1-2 belts (formal & casual)
2/3 Towels
Bedspread (double bed size), pillow covers (large) and night dresses.
Couple of pairs of thermal wear might also be useful for the winters.
Decent formal and sport shoes and Flip Flops.
Personal Items Toiletry items like soap, tooth brush (2/3), tooth-paste, comb, etc., should be sufficient for a month.
If you wear glasses, carry spare pairs (1 or 2 for they are really expensive here).
If you are wearing lens then get two extra pair of lens, lens cases and importantly lens solution.
Nail cutter, umbrella/rain coat, flash drives.
Buy a purse/wallet sufficient to hold around 5 credit/debit cards. Musical instruments that you play, so as to perform at IGSA events.

Stationary Items:

Ball pens(Bring around 2-3 pens. You will anyway get free pens at every orientation stall)
Erasers, pencils, stapler, markers, tapes and clips to be sufficient for a couple of months.
A good school bag is a must to go around.
A good file to carry your resumes for interviews.
If you are considering a career in anything that involves a lot of sketching, get quite a bit of stationary.

Books:

Textbooks are a little costly here, so we recommend you to get the latest editions before you come here.
For most of the courses, the same textbooks are available in India. Visit your department's web page to get a listing of the courses.
Else, the library here is very comprehensive and usually you can borrow a book for an entire semester.

Cooking items:

Cooking vessels, pressure cooker with spare gaskets and whistles, plates, tumblers, spoons, frying pans and all spices which you might need for cooking. Let the vessels (preferably non-stick ware) be big enough to cook for 3-4 people.
If you have already got in touch with other Indians coming to UIC and will be your room-mates, plan what kind of vessels you can get and thus you can eliminate redundant utensils. Do not stuff your baggage, just get the stuff you really need. Devon Avenue is to Indians what China Town is to the Chinese. You can get all kinds of Indian groceries at reasonable rates and even eat some of your favorite foods.

Medicine and Medical Prescriptions:

If you have any particular medical conditions, get the medicines as well as a prescription from your doctor. And don't forget to leave a copy of these prescriptions at home while you get the originals here. Crocin, Actified, Avil, Benadryl tonic, Band-Aids, cotton, cotton bandage, Iodex, Vicks, Digene, Baralgan, Brufen, Ridol, Avomin, Sporlac, etc. are some of the general things that you can carry.

Documents:

Passport Xerox(4 copies)
VISA Xerox (4 copies)
IDP Xerox (4 copies)
I-20(4 copies)
Air Ticket(2 copies)
Original mark sheets + Degree Certificate
Attested mark sheets + Degree Certificate (4 copies)
Immunization form(specific to university)
University specific letters like admit, aid, forms.
SEVIS fee receipt (3 copies)
GRE Original + Xerox copies(3 copies)
TOEFL Original + Xerox copies(3 copies)
Final Year Project Report
Recommendation Letters.

Electronic Gizmos:

We recommend you not to buy any new electronic appliances in India. They are cheap here and warranty stuff is very much applicable here.
For mobile phones, it is ideal if you have a smart phone. But if you are planning to buy one, you will get it for good deal here. You may opt for contract or non-contract phones and can choose among variety of monthly or annual plans. While having a smart phone is ideal and definitely helpful, that does not stop you from bringing your normal phones, as they can be used here as well.

Things to be left at home:

List of addresses/phone numbers at which info about you can be reached at.
ATTESTED copies of all your important documents (passport, transcript).
Its better to bring your originals along with you, so please get the photocopies of these documents ATTESTED then and there so that in future if your parents need to use them for some purpose.
Also, leave a scanned copy with your parents of all the important documents.
A copy of all relevant parts of Medical History files.
A few blank signed papers, so that your parents can be authorized to look after anything on your behalf.
Traveller Checks numbers should also be given to your parents.
If you are getting the Forex card, make sure your parents have all the details about it.

Things not to get:

Do not buy expensive winter clothing in India.
Do not carry pickle or pointed items in your hand baggage.
Do not carry food grains (rice, pulses, sugar etc.). Do not worry if you can't bring any of the stuff listed above, most of them are available in Chicago.

Things to be kept in hand baggage:

Some medicines (including for air-sickness)
Jacket
Original important documents (I-20, visa, passport, tickets and its photocopies)
Enough money (little cash, traveller checks/ Forex card)
Address book/phone book (Indian & US).

DO NOT OVERSTUFF YOUR LUGGAGE. ALL THE NECESSARY THINGS ARE AVAILABLE IN CHICAGO TOO.