Students: Learn about the U Pass
In the U.S., different types of stores cater to different products and price points. Online shopping is increasingly common for purchasing clothing, books, personal care, and even groceries.
UConn Bookstores: In addition to books and textbooks, the UConn Bookstore at the Storrs campus sells many of the items that you would need to settle in to life at UConn, such as bedding, electronics and other room supplies. You can order online and pick up in store (Storrs campus).
Pharmacies: Personal care items as well as medicines can be purchased from pharmacy stores such as CVS and Walgreens. These items can also be purchased from larger grocery stores and department stores.
Second hand stores: Second-hand stores are a great place to find inexpensive, used clothing, furniture, books and appliances. These are sometimes called “thrift stores”. Larger second hand store franchises include the Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers stores. There are also smaller second hand stores and consignment stores around all UConn campuses. In the spring and summer months, many homes host yard sales or tag sales on the weekend, where they sell their unwanted items for low costs.
Department stores: Students can visit large department stores for most household items, clothing, food and other supplies. Large area stores include Walmart and Target. Storrs campus students can take the WRTD bus (one transfer) to the Walmart in Windham.
Malls: Shopping malls in the U.S. can be small or large. Most UConn campuses have a shopping mall accessible by public transportation from their town or campus. Storrs and downtown Hartford students can take the 913 CT Transit bus to the Buckland Hills Shopping Mall in Manchester. Storrs students can also take the WRTD bus to the local Eastbrook Mall.
Furniture Rental: In addition to online, second hand, department and specialty store options, students may choose to rent furniture through a furniture rental service.
Specialty stores/small businesses: Most towns offer many small businesses and specialty shops offering a variety of goods. We encourage students to explore what is offered in their neighborhood!
In the United States, it is typical to eat a small breakfast, a medium sized lunch, and a large dinner. Breakfast food may include coffee/tea, breads (cold cereal, oatmeal, toast), fruit, yogurt or even eggs and meat. Common lunch foods include sandwiches, cold salads, potato chips, or fruit. Dinner usually includes a hot meal, and is typically eaten around 6 pm. Some very typical American foods include peanut butter, pancakes, hamburgers on buns, macaroni and cheese, and apple pie.
On Campus Meals: All Storrs campus students who live on-campus are also enrolled in a meal plan to eat in the UConn dining halls. UConn Dining Services offers several different meal plans at different costs, and many of the dining halls specialize in certain foods. If you live off campus, you may also purchase a meal plan to eat in the dining halls. UConn also offers several dining options on campus outside of the dining hall/meal plan system.
Buying Groceries: Most groceries are sold at large chain stores such as Price Chopper, Big Y, Stop n’ Shop, Shop Rite or even department stores such as Walmart and Target. Smaller grocery chains such as Aldi and Trader Joes are also increasingly popular, low cost options for groceries. There is a Price Chopper located close to the UConn Storrs campus. Students who live in downtown Hartford may find that they need to leave the city center to find a grocery store.
Reading Food Labels: In addition to nutrition information, food labels may also be able to tell you whether the food you are purchasing is Kosher, Halal, vegetarian or vegan, certified organic, or made with genetically modified organisms (GMO).
International Grocery Stores: International grocery stores are available, but you may need a car to access them, especially in more rural parts of the state. Google the type of store you are looking for to find local area listings. Some of the larger or well established stores include:
Restaurants: Most towns in Connecticut offer many varied options for restaurant dining, including international options. You may find that some international restaurants offer an American variation on the foreign cuisine, while others may be more authentic. Internet searches will help you to find options in your area.
All first year undergraduates attending Bachelor’s programs at the UConn Storrs campus are required to live on campus. The Office of Residential Life is a resource for all international students about living on campus. On campus housing is also available to non-degree, exchange and graduate students (though graduate student housing may be limited). UConn Stamford also offers on-campus housing in the city, close to campus.
For many students, living on-campus is the first time they will live in close quarters with another person. The relationship you form with your roommate can be very rewarding, but also very challenging. Learn more tips about living with your roommate and social relationships through our U.S. Culture and Environment resources.
It is important to have realistic expectations about living on campus! The UConn Office of Residential Life website features videos with current UConn students showing you what it is like to live in their dorm or on-campus apartment. There are many different types of residential living arrangements available (traditional housing, suites, apartments), but they vary in cost, and some living arrangements may not be available to first year students. Traditional housing consists of a shared or single room in a hall, where residents share bathrooms and other common areas. In a suite, a bathroom may be shared among only a few bedrooms. Graduate student on campus housing is limited to Northwood Apartments. After you learn your housing assignment, you can visit the Office of Residential Life webpage to view a virtual tour of your residence.
Students who live on campus are only able to apply for a parking permit after they have earned 54 or more credits. This means first year students generally cannot keep a car on campus. Please plan for this, and do not purchase a car until you meet the parking eligibility requirements.
When you are completing your housing application, it is important to be aware of some of the terminology. Some halls are mixed gender (co-ed) and some halls or floors may be specific to one gender, or gender inclusive (which refers to a floor or community that allows for students of any gender to live together regardless of assigned sex). When your application or housing contract refers to guests, that may also include romantic partners. Housing assignments are made based on an assessment of the lifestyle preferences of applicants, so be sure to answer the application questions honestly.
UConn also offers students the chance to live in Learning Communities, where residents share a common academic or personal interest. Learning communities are a great way to meet other students from the United States, because you already share a common interest through your learning community. If you apply for or are assigned to live in a Learning Community, it is important that you participate in the activities and academic components of that community. Residents must be engaged with the community to be successful.
Do you have questions? Visit the Office of New Student Storrs FAQ page answers to frequently asked questions about living on campus and the housing application process.
Students who will live off campus need to understanding the responsibilities for renting a room or apartment themselves, and understand the terms of their rental contract clearly. It can be very difficult or impossible to get out of a rental agreement that you have signed. The UConn Off-Campus Student Services office can help you understand these requirements. Their website and Off Campus Housing Guide includes many resources to help students and scholars understand their rights and responsibilities, trash and recycling, budgeting, furniture, moving in and out of properties and more. They also have an International Student Assistance webpage.
Students who live in off-campus housing should be familiar with the expectations of your rental community (if your rental is part of a greater apartment complex). If you cook frequently with a lot of oils, please take care to protect the ceiling or area above your stove from oil stains. Plumbing and pipes in the U.S. are quite sensitive, and you should never flush food down the toilet, or anything other than waste/toilet paper.
Searching for an apartment? We recommend that all incoming students and scholars who will live off-campus search the rental listings on the Off Campus Housing webpage. They provide listings close to all campuses. UConn students, staff and faculty may access the housing directory. If you do not yet have a UConn Net ID, you can request a Guest ID to search the listings. It is very important that you find housing in safe walking or bus distance to the UConn Storrs campus - this can be a challenge because some apartment complexes that appear to be close to campus, may be located on roads that are not safe for walking.
Finally, international students and scholars should not apply for or accept housing offered under the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). This is a public benefits program intended for low-income residents. Accepting public benefits could impact your eligibility for future immigration benefits.
Town Services: Students and scholars who live off campus should become familiar with their town website to learn more about rules and services for town residents.
Cell Phones: There are numerous cell phone service providers in the area. Phones can either be purchased on a contractual basis (most common) but for short-term stays, you may want to purchase a pay as you go service. Most cell phone providers can help you with both plans.
International students and scholars who do not have a Social Security Number and wish to purchase a contract phone service may need to pay a high security deposit. This is because the cell phone contract provider cannot check your financial history without the SSN, so they are taking a risk by giving you a cell phone contract.
Mail: Most mail is sent and delivered through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). If you live off-campus, mail is delivered daily, except for Sundays and legal holidays. At Storrs campus, mail is delivered Monday - Friday. See Student Mail Services for further information about on-campus mail.
Packages: Packages can be sent through U.S. Postal Service, or also through private providers such as UPS, Fed Ex and DHL. Off campus packages are typically delivered to your door, or if you live in an apartment complex there may be a mail room where you pick up packages. On campus packages are delivered to dorms through the Student Mail Services.
University Information Technology Services provides all information related to student technology needs, Net ID access, email access and other services and policies. View all services here. The University also has an Information Technology Acceptable Use policy that applies to all students, staff and faculty.
If you live off campus, you may be responsible for finding your own internet provider. Check the terms of your lease. Many internet services are provided together with cable tv or landline telephone services. When establishing service, be aware of which service you are agreeing to purchase, and be aware that there may be costly monthly fees that are associated with the service.
Students and scholars who live off campus should become familiar with their town website to learn more about rules and services for town residents.