Log in Page Discussion History Go to the site toolbox

Ncstate:Living at NC State

From BluWiki

Revision as of 11:27, 13 April 2006 by Samirgovilkar (Talk | contribs)

Preparing for the US
Before you leave
Packing your Bags
Traveling to the US
Arriving at NC State
Living at NC State
This Navbar

US Survival Tips

The US is quite unique and as a result, a lot of things are done differently here. Switches switch the other way, the temperature is in the 80s on a good day, the doors open the other way, the list goes on. It will take you some time but you'll get used to it.



Champion Court in the Fall

Please view this information in conjunction with the excellent information at : http://www.ncsu.edu/stud_orgs/maitri/housing.htm

The cost of living in Raleigh is quite reasonable as compared to major cities in the US. Most Indian graduate students stay in apartment complexes on Avent Ferry Road or Gorman Street.

There is a wide range of housing options available. The factors to be considered while choosing an apartment in one of these complexes are

  • Proximity to the campus
  • Proximity to the Avent Ferry Center computer labs - open to all students 24/7 and where you'll hang out a lot before you buy a computer
  • Monthly rent
  • Bus routes serving the apartment complex
  • Utilities (Water, Electricity, Heat, Internet, etc.) included in the rent
  • Proximity to Food Lion (our main grocery store), other stores and eating places - Burger King, Quiznos, Bruegger's Bagels, China Queen, Kerr's Drug Store

Another factor many people take into consideration is where people from their own batch are going to stay. This is for the simple reason that many of the newcomers take up many common courses during the first semester here and staying close by comes in handy while studying.

There are chiefly two kind of houses available.

  1. Townhouses - These are single storied houses, typically with kitchen and living room on the ground floor and bedrooms on the first floor.
  2. Apartments - These are the same as in India, typically with 2-3 bedrooms per apartment.

Students generally prefer to stay with roommates for a variety of reasons, saving money and company being the primary reasons. Rents range from a high of $750/month to a low of around $500/month for the house.

The number of roommates per house depends on the number of bedrooms available and the willingness of the roommates to share a room. However, a typical house will have 4 roommates sharing two bedrooms and splitting the rent equally.


These are the people you'll probably see the most of. It is essential that you get along and can work and play in relative harmony. Choosing compatible roommates will make studying easier and your life at NC State much more enjoyable and memorable.

Some things to remember :-

  • Friends do not always make good roommates.
  • If you are going to share a room, you need to consider a person's sleeping habits and cleaning habits.
  • Are your work and study schedules compatible? Will one of you be sleeping while the other is up and about making noise in the apartment?
  • Strongly consider cleaning habits. Both people may consider themselves messy. However, there is a difference between doing dishes every other day and doing dishes every other month.
  • Does the person smoke or drink ? If so, is it more or less than you can tolerate?
  • Does the person have any hobbies? There is big difference between stamp collecting and playing bhajans, especially if the person likes to do his hobby at 6 a.m.
  • Does the person have a "significant other" that may become a third roommate?
  • Does the person have friends that will spend a lot of time at your place?
  • Has the person had financial problems?
  • Do you have similar religious and political beliefs? If not, are both of you willing to keep your beliefs to yourself or enjoy a good friendly debate?
  • Finally, is the person nice and considerate? When differences arise, a courteous person is more likely to be willing to change.

Roommates Agreement

While some may consider an 'agreement' something very formal, it is beneficial for all room mates living together to decide upon and lay down ground rules of acceptable behaviour. Your roomate may not like taking out the garbage or cooking but if there is a turns system, he will ensure that s/he does it. If there is disagreement while setting up the rules, a simple vote should be able to decide. The following are items that could be included in a formal or informal agreement.

The advantage of having an agreement is that all the roommates are aware of what is acceptable and not acceptable in the house and agrees to be taken to task for things that he/she has agreed to.

Here are some issues that you should examine and decide.

Roommates Issues Agreement


One of the great things about being a student at NC State is that for the most part you get free transport. The Wolfline is free and open to the public. Your student ID is all you need to travel on the CAT and TTA buses.

Around the Campus

The campus and surrounding areas is well served by NC State's own bus service - the Wolfline. The Wolfline runs regularly from 7 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. Wolfline does not run on weekends, mid-semester breaks and long weekends.

There is also a night-service, appropriately called Werewolf, which has two routes - A and B - covering most of the Main, Centennial and Vet School campuses. It runs until around 2 AM in the night, and runs on most weekends as well.

The Wolfline buses are equipped with GPS so that you can track where the buses are at any given time. This is really cool and saves you a lot of time and waiting.

Around Raleigh

The Wolfline will help you get around the areas surrounding the campus. If you decide to live on Avent Ferry Road, the Wolfline is very useful for those weekly trips to the local grocery store.

CAT (Capital Area Transit) is Raleigh's bus service (white and orange buses)and connects most parts of the city reasonably well. All routes operate to (inbound) and from (outbound) the main city centre, and you will probably use the bus to go the nearest Walmart or malls in the area. CAT and Wolfline

Here are some places you could visit and how to get there using a CAT bus.

  • Crabtree Valley Mall : Catch a 4 (Rex Hospital Outbound) bus from Hillsborough Street at the stop opposite the library on Hillsborough and Gardner St. The bus indicator will say 'Rex Hospital Outbound'. The terminal stop is Crabtree Valley Mall and the bus heads back downtown after this. CVM is a great place to hangout, shop and get a bite to eat. It has most of the major stores (Sears, Belk, Circuit City, Sharper Image) etc. There is a large Circuit City across the street from CVM but it is hard to get to on foot as it involves crossing Glenwood Ave.
  • Downtown : Catch an 11 (Avent Ferry Inbound) from Avent Ferry Road or a 4 (Downtown Inbound) from Hillsborough St (Hillsborough and Gardner St. but on the same side of the road as the library). There is not much to see downtown currently as major renovation is in progress. There are some nice parks, restaurants and a few good pubs. Downtown is also the home of the BTI Centre which is a huge auditorium for a lot of cultural events. The buses downtown terminate at Moore Square Street. There is the Exploris museum with the IMAX nearby. You will also need to visit downtown to get to Progress Energy to pay your electricity bill deposit and to pay your Bellsouth deposit for your landline (if you choose to get one)
  • Walmart : Catch a 4 (Rex Hospital Outbound) from Hillsborough St to Crabtree Valley Mall. Get off at CVM and catch a 6 (Townridge Shopping Centre Outbound). Get off at the terminal stop at Townridge Shopping Centre. You can't miss Walmart. Repeat after me - "Nothing is cheaper than Walmart for 95% of the things I'll buy". You'll get everything here from bath mats to chocolates for less than you would get them anywhere else. Walmart comes in two flavors - there's a Super Walmart (much bigger, more selection, grocery included) further down Glenwood Ave than Townridge Shopping Centre. For this you need to catch the Briar Creek Express (70E) from CVM. There are only a few of these 70E buses so check the CAT website for details and a timetable.
  • Sam's Club : Sam's Club is another of the Walmart family (Sam Walton is the founder). If it was possible, this is even cheaper than Walmart but it is a discount club store which means you need to purchase a membership for the year and have to buy in bulk. You really need a car to get here though the TTA 301 bus takes you here (though it takes a long time and its hard to describe where to get off the bus). Sam's Club is great for buying things you buy in large quantities like toilet tissue and kitchen tissue rolls.
  • The Indian Stores : There are many Indian grocery stores relatively close to the NCSU campus most of them being about 4-5 miles away. The recommended method for getting to these stores is to catch a ride with someone with a car. The TTA Bus route 301 will take you to all of these stores but except for one store, there is a walk of half a mile or more involved. This is really inconvenient if you plan to bring back a lot of groceries. Some of the more popular stores are listed below:
    • Around the World Market - 6715 Hillsborough St Raleigh, NC (919) 859-5403
    • Triangle Indian Market - 740 E Chatham St # A, Cary, NC (919) 380-0350
    • Patel Brothers - 1419 SE Maynard Rd, Cary, NC (919) 319-5661
    • India Bazaar - 123 E Chatham St Cary, NC (919) 461-1619

In the Triangle Area

The Triangle Transit Authority (green buses) serve the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. There are two buses that students frequently use - one is the 301 from Western Blvd and the 105/107 from Hillsborough St.

Travel on the the TTA buses is FREE with your Student ID card.

For more details check the TTA link

To/from the Airport

Its not easy to transit between the airport and the campus area, and this journey is easiest by car. If at any point you need to go to the airport after coming here, a cab will cost you $30.

However, from Monday to Saturday in the day you can still get to the airport using the (free) TTA service. You have to catch a bus 105/107 from Hillsborough Street opposite the Library or 30x (from Western Blvd) to the TTA Centre Terminus and then catch the aptly named no. 747 to the airport.


Rail Transportation

Currently Raleigh does not have any local rail transportation though our campus has a railway line running right through it. In the near future, under the Regional Transit Plan, rail links are planned to serve different points in the Triangle area and there will be an NCSU station.


The Amtrak serves downtown Raleigh and has trains going north to New York and south to Florida every day. Trains often run very late - worse than even Indian railways !

Getting a Driving Licence

Getting a Driver's Licence as early as possible is important for two reasons :

  • The earlier you get your license, the more time you can claim to have driven thus reducing your mandatory car insurance payments when you do buy a car
  • Your licence serves as your only valid State ID when buying alcohol and for general proof of age. Your NCSU student ID card does not have this information and unless you want to carry your passport with you wherever you, a State ID is recommended.

To get a driver's license you have to visit the DMV office in the Avent Ferry shopping complex (near Food Lion). There are two kinds of licenses :

  • A Learner's permit : Only a computer based test of 25 questions needs to be passed along with a vision and road signs recognition test. With this permit you need a permanent licence holder in the car with you when you drive. Here are some helpful resources when studying for a learner's permit.
  • A permanent licence : A driving test needs to be passed to get this permanent licence.

Buying a Car

Someone with experience here please fill in this information. --Conalcharles 01:39, 28 March 2006 (EST)

Cell Phones

Most students who need a cellphone connection here get a Cingular mobile connection. The cheapest rate plan is $39.95 a month with a two-year committment though some discount is available through the university. You do get a basic cellphone free with the plan. For the more advanced kinds you have to pay a premium. These cellphones are locked to Cingular and cannot be used with other networks without some tweaking.

If you have a relatively new GSM cellphone in India, it will work just fine here. The Nokia Travel Charger adapts to any voltage so you do not need a transformer. Bring a flat pin adaptor for your cellphone charger.

Even though it sounds expensive (and it is), a cellphone is invaluable when job hunting and for keeping in touch with friends. For the basic flat rate of $39.95 plus taxes, you get 450 minutes anywhere in the US in the day. Calling any Cingular mobile in the US is always free and nights (after 9pm) and weekends are virtually free (maximum 5000 minutes). People don't SMS ('text' as it is called here) very much as SMS is relatively expensive. Unused minutes from your 450 minute quota rollover to the next month. Minutes over your current quota (450 + rolled over minutes) are charged.

If you are a group of friends, you can opt for a Family Plan which effectively lowers your monthly individual rate (and allowable minutes) and one person pays the bill for all the phones on the plan. Nights and Weekends are fully free in these plans (not 5000 mins max like in the individual plans).

Roaming has no extra charge (great!) and is automatically enabled. Calling from anywhere in the US where Cingular coverage exists effectively spends from your 450 minute quota. AFAIK there is no Nights and Weekends while roaming.

This is not a plug for Cingular - I'm just letting you know about the most popular cellphone provider here.


Raleigh is not a big city but there are still a lot of opportunities for entertainment.


For Hindi and regional language movies there are a number of sites that stream movie content to you. Search the net for details. The high speed internet here makes ALL things possible !

There are three places you can watch English movies.

  1. Campus Cinema : We have our own cinema on campus itself at Witherspoon Hall. They show some pretty good movies but a lot of older stuff. Tickets for students are $1.50. http://www.ncsu.edu/cinema/
  2. Mission Valley Cinemas : On Avent Ferry Rd - expensive but they do have the latest movies. Tickets are around $5. http://www.triangle.com/content/movies/theaters/Raleigh-Mission_Valley.html
  3. Blue Ridge Cinemas : A little far away from Campus near the local K-mart. The USP is that movies here are always $1.50 ! The movies are not always brand new though. http://www.carmike.com/showtimes/dsp_showtimesdetail.aspx?theatrenumber=076140

If you are big movie buff I'd recommend getting a DVD-by-mail system called Netflix. You pay around $10 a month to get DVDs through the mail which you can watch and return through the mail. You can choose which movies you get online. There are various schemes available.

If you prefer browsing for your own movies, there is a Blockbuster store nearby in Avent Ferry Shopping complex. This works on a membership system.


Other Entertainment


Site Toolbox:

Personal tools
GNU Free Documentation License 1.2

Disclaimers - About BluWiki