Things to know about BG
The town of Bowling Green is located 25 miles south of Toledo, Ohio, a major American port city. As part of the American Midwest and the Great Lakes region, it is noted for both agricultural and industrial activity. Bowling Green is a safe, quiet, academically-oriented town with a population of 30,000 (not counting BGSU students). Local banks, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and places of worship are within walking distance of the campus.
The weather in BG is unpredictable. The summer season is short, lasting not more than 4 months with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. Winters are long and harsh with temperatures ranging from 0 to -30 degrees and on average, the seasons lasts for nearly 5 months. If you plan to arrive in the fall, keep in mind that winter weather starts around October and may last until the end of April or even later.
Housing and Initial Accommodation
The cost of living in BG is relatively low in comparison to other American cities. The University will house you in one of the on-campus living facilities for the first week upon your arrival. You must request a room well in advance. In the past the charges for the room were $23 per night. It is recommended to contact ISA members in order to accommodate you during your stay, including the time spent looking for a place.
Most graduate students live in off-campus apartments. A fully furnished 1-bedroom apartment costs between $320 to $390 per month; whereas a 2-bedroom apartment costs between $425 to $550 per month. There are efficiencies (i.e. one room apartment with only a kitchen and a bath) available but they are limited (and costs between $315 to $390 per month). Usually students have enough time during their first two weeks after arriving in BG to look for apartments and move in to their new place. It is a good idea NOT to sign a lease until you have surveyed and visited the apartment firsthand. The following link has information of local realtors (some of their sites include pictures of the apartments) and you may contact them directly for more information. http://www.bgsu.edu/downloads/sa/file61937.swf Most undergraduate students do not have the option of living off-campus until after their first year. The following link provides information about on-campus housing. http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/reslife/
Directions to Bowling Green
Bowling Green is within a day’s drive from some of the most major cities in the U.S. including Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. Interstate 75 borders the eastern edge of the campus and U.S. Route 6 is just south of the city. Interstates 80 and 90(the Ohio Turnpike) are only 20 minutes to the north of BG. The city of Toledo has interstate bus service and the Toledo Express Airport is about 45 minutes from the BG campus by car. The Detroit Airport is about 1 1/4 hours away.
You can get directions to and from campus using mapquest or maps.google.com
Detroit Airport: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), William Rogell Drive, Detroit, MI 48242
Toledo Airport: Toledo Express Airport (TOL), 11013 Airport Highway, Swanton, OH 43558
When flying to the U.S., book your airline ticket to arrive in either Toledo or Detroit airports. Upon arrival, The Center for International Programs can arrange to pick you up from either of these airports for a fee (this usually costs $60 to $100). However, we recommend that if you know of your arrival date and time well in advance, to get in touch with ISA who might be able to arrange your transportation via ISA members.
DO NOT BUY WINTER WEAR FROM INDIA.Indian winter wear may not provide you with enough warmth during the winters here in BG. If you will be arriving in the fall, you will have about a month before winter sets in to shop for winter clothing. It is advisable to have a thick warm jacket for outer wear. Also, during winters it is best to wear layers of clothing instead of one heavy sweater as this will allow you to be comfortable when indoors with heating.
Utensils and food
Unfortunately, Bowling Green does not have any Indian appliances/grocery stores in town. However, the closest store is in Toledo, only 30 minutes by car from campus. As for restaurants, Toledo has at least three North Indian restaurants with lunch buffets. Menus vary according to regional tastes and local management. Also, buying Indian utensils here can be very expensive. We highly recommend bringing the following items with you.
I ) A Cooker is a must Approx 5 liters.
II) Frying pan
III) At least a month supply of Indian spices and packaged food.
Although BG does not have a public railway or bus transit system, it does have a BGSU shuttle service. The shuttle service operates only during the academic year (August to May). The shuttle will get you to most of the important places in town such as the Mall, a grocery store, downtown etc. It will also get you to and from most of the apartments surrounding the campus are. Also, students (and some professors) sometimes purchase bikes (from the local bike shop in downtown BG) and ride it to and from campus. BG is quite bike-friendly; however, the weather may not be appropriate to ride bikes during the duration of the winter season
Money transfers to and from India
You will be required to set up a bank account within the first few days of arriving in BG. The following banks have both lobbies as well as ATMs in BG and your accounts are automatically insured by FDIC for up to $100,000.
Huntington Bank: https://www.huntington.com/
Fifth Third Bank: https://www.53.com/wps/portal/personal
Key Bank: https://www.key.com/index.html
All of these banks allow you to access your account online.
Citibank India has a facility where in a student can open a NRO account which is usually a joint account with a parent. The account holders are each provided with a checkbook and a debit card for that account. There is a minimum balance required for this account, which needs to be verified with Citibank, as the value changes constantly. Money can be deposited into this account either in Rupees or Dollars and can be withdrawn either in India or in the US. In addition the account also entitles you to a "World money card", a prepaid card that allows you to deposit money in Rupees into the card, and use the card to withdraw in US Dollars from any Visa ATM here in the US based on the current foreign exchange prices. This is especially convenient as an alternative to carrying cash and/or travelers checks when travelling here to the US. ICICI bank also offers a similar banking feature.
Note: The details provided here about banking may change any time without the ISA being notified. Also, the ISA does not recommend or endorse any bank in particular. The information is merely provided as a guide for students and others visiting our website.
Medical Insurance and Medical Forms:
Medical Insurance is a must in the US. All international students are required to have medical insurance that meets certain criteria. However, you may purchase a traveler’s insurance which will be valid until you get a regular medical insurance. You will receive more information about it during orientation. BGSU requires international students to purchase Medical Insurance provided by the University which costs around $1250 per year. You can choose to pay the entire amount at one time or you can purchase the insurance in parts (separately for the fall and spring semesters). Also, if you will be receiving assistantship, you can choose to pay for the insurance in monthly installments which will be debited from your pay check.
In the first week after arriving here, you will be asked to take a TB exam. If you plan to get vaccinated for TB before arriving in the US, please carry the medical records with you stating that you have been vaccinated or have recently taken a TB exam. Also, carry medical documents showing any other diseases that you have been vaccinated for.
Getting a cell phone:
There are several wireless phone service providers in the BG area. These include:
AT and T
You need to have a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to be able to purchase a cell phone on your own. If you know you will be receiving assistantship, then you will be informed about the proper procedures of applying for SSN. An independent phone plan can cost anywhere from $40 to $150 per month depending on the phone features as well as services requested.
If you are not sure about receiving an assistantship or on-campus employment, then you may be required to pay a refundable deposit (around $500) while purchasing the cell phone. The other option might be to add a line to someone’s pre-existing phone plan. However, this may require that you know the person well and have a good understanding when it comes to payment and other terms and conditions.
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