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Cultural Association of India, University of Missouri-Columbia

2500 MU Student Center; Columbia, MO 65211

Information for New Students; Part I

Dear Prospective Students,

Congratulations on being admitted to the University of Missouri, Columbia. On behalf of the Cultural Association of
India (CAI) - the oldest international student organization on campus - we welcome you to Mizzou, the den of “Tigers”!

About us: Established on October 4, 1957, CAI has been a vibrant student organization on campus with various
programs throughout the year. Currently we have over 200 students and over 200 faculty families, doctors, resident
physicians and post doctoral fellows from all over India. All in all over 1000 Indians (including children) live in
Columbia. We enjoy warm support of the International Center at MU and of the multi-
ethnic residents of Columbia town. We celebrated our organization’s 50th anniversary in 2007, with gusto!!!

We celebrate: *Republic Day, *Independence Day, *Holi, *Baishakhi, *India-Nite, *Diwali, *Ugadi, *Pongal, *Saraswati
Puja, *Ganesh Puja, *Navaratri, *Bijoya, *Poila Baishak etc., + hold picnics and take part in quite a few multicultural
events on campus and around town each year. Also we organize concerts by famous artists from India and USA for
multicultural entertainment. With this short introduction of our Indian Diaspora in Columbia and at MU, let us give you
some useful information about this place.

Columbia and Mizzou: Columbia is a college town in the Mid-Western state of Missouri, located halfway between the
big cities St. Louis & Kansas City, each about 120 miles away. It is a peaceful town of about 98,000 residents and the
“Mizzou” - the largest of the four-campus University of Missouri education system. With over 28,000 students, many
internationals from all over the world, Columbia and Mizzou carry an unquestionably adorable multicultural ambiance.

Religious and Spiritual Centers: There is a Hindu Mandir and Community Center run by the Indian community; a Mosque, run by the people from pan-Islamic countries, plus Synagogue and
Churches run by the respective communities in town. There also are several Yoga centers – some privately run, one
offered by the University for Yoga’s health-benefit, and one “Vedic Society” at MU run by Indian students to promote
physical health and spirituality through Yoga / Pranayam.

Climate and clothing: Missouri has extreme weather. Temperatures range from a sweltering 300 to 400 C in summer -
to below zero 0C in winter - with intensely cold winds and frequent snowfalls. For summer, cotton T-shirts and shorts
are adequate; for winter, you will need a heavy, water-resistant jacket and sweaters. If you are coming in Fall then it is
better to purchase winter jacket after arriving here; if coming in winter, then of course buy one at home. Also a good
supply of socks and undergarments from home will be cheaper and useful. Formal suits are rarely needed, usually
used for interviews at the end of your course of study for job or internship prospects.

Housing: A wide range of on-campus and off-campus living options are available. The majority of Indian students live
in groups, off-campus; with rents ranging from $200 - $500 per head per month. A studio or one-bedroom apartments
are hard to find. The rent may or may not include basic utilities like water, electricity and phone line.

We recommend the University Place Apartments (UPA to the newcomers for its convenient
location right across the campus (5 minutes walk to classes through campus foot-path) and security arrangements
(locked main entrance with individual card-key). It has cooking facilities so most Indian and other international students
who prefer to cook own food stay here. Although named “University Place”; it is a private one, NOT owned by the
University so is considered “off-campus” housing.

Apartments in UPA are 2-bedroom (2 person/room = 4 person/apartment) + a kitchen, bath and living room; fully
furnished with bed, chair, table, sofa, cooking range, refrigerator, heating, air-conditioning, local phone, cable TV and
high speed cable internet connection for your computer – at no extra cost.

Book housing as early as you can as the ones closest to campus fills up fast and you may have to go farther
away from campus to find housing causing inconvenience to get to classes especially in snowy winter.

Rent in UPA: per person per month: ($10/15 extra for corner unit
(a) $245-$255 for 2-bed room Apt. sharing a room with another person (2 person/room = 4 person / apartment)
(b) $430-$450 for 2-bedroom Apt. with one person per room (= 2 person / apartment with private bedrooms)

Note: Due to high demand in housing market, we are unable to book apartment on your behalf, so we ask you
to visit take virtual tour of the apartments, check rates, make your own reservation
online and let us know at to follow up with the UPA management.

Address in USA you can use: if you are coming to UPA then use the following address for both VISA application and
for address label on the luggage:
• University Place Apartments, 1205 University Avenue; Columbia, MO – 65201
• phone 573-268-3736 (Dr. Mitra’s cell phone number you can use as ‘contact’ number)

Food: There are many fast-food restaurants as well as fine dining venues in town, including two Indian restaurants.
Most Indian students however prefer to cook at home. Indian groceries are available in Columbia, and so are most of
the cooking utensils in the local stores; you may bring a pressure cooker or your favorite utensils if you wish.

Getting to Columbia: Columbia is accessible by land or air. The preferred option is to come to St. Louis (STL) or to
Kansas City (MCI) International airport by air & take MO-X bus to Columbia - ~120 miles takes 2-2.5 hours by MO-X
bus ( MO-X bus provides door-to-door (airport to the apartment) shuttle service every
hour between 8 am and 10 pm from St. Louis (STL); but buses from Kansas City (MCI) airport are less frequent, the
last bus is at 8PM, and unlike STL airport, you have to come to Gate 80 of Terminal C to catch the bus at the curb
outside there. Bus fare: @ $43 each person; group of 2 or more riding together gets cheaper. We can book your
Airport -to- Columbia bus trip by MO-X paying your bus fare for now, you pay us back later.

Coordinate your plane-bus timings: In arranging air-travel from India, make sure your flight comes to STL Lambert
airport (STL) latest by 7:00pm so that you can catch one of the last 2 buses to get to Columbia the same night. For
Kansas City (MCI) airport, your plane timing to land should be 6pm or earlier, to allow time for any plane delay and to
accommodate terminal changing time. If you miss the last bus in either STL or MCI, then you will have to spend the
night at the airport and catch the bus next morning. See
We recommend STL airport for the newcomers for convenience.

There is also a Greyhound bus service that costs a bit less, but there is NO door-to-door service; it comes to the bus
station at Columbia from where you have to take a taxi to come to the apartment at additional cost. Their toll-free
number is 1-800-231-2222 and their external number for reservations is (573) 449-2416.

Other useful information

On-campus jobs: You are allowed to hold on-campus jobs only if you don’t have assistantship. Most students
manage to get a job in the libraries, dining halls/cafeteria or campus computing, with a basic pay of $7.5 an hour for up
to 20 hours per week. Jobs are not assured or unlimited; the earlier you come before the semester starts, the better
your chances are of obtaining a job.

Budget planning:
• Average monthly living expenses (food and room rent) here work out to around $ 500 - 600.
• Approximate costs of some items here are: a pair of jeans $15 - 30; sneakers $ 25 - 80; a full meal $ 3 - 8;
groceries $ 60 – 150 per month; textbooks $ 50 - 150 each; spectacles $ 100 - 150.

• Course books are expensive here but it is difficult to identify books unless we know exactly which courses you
will be taking here. It is wise to bring a few basic books that you are using on your subject matter in India

• Bring some traditional clothes or any ethnic wear – there are plenty of occasions to wear them over here.
• If you are interested in cultural activities like song, dance, music, drama, fine arts etc. then bring the tools of
your trade; you will have many opportunities to show-off your talents in this good multicultural town of ours.

Health matters: (Updated June 14, 2009)

a. Eye and dental care here are quite expensive and are NOT covered by most insurance policies; so get your
eyes and teeth checked and get any necessary treatment done there before leaving for the US.
b. Bring an extra pair of eye-glasses (spectacles) if you are using one. Also bring a few basic remedies like
tonics, tablets for fever, headache, indigestion (be it allopathic, homeopathic or Ayurvedic) - that you use.
c. HEALTH INSURANCE is provided by the University with the fees you pay so DON’T get it from India.
See: may not cover preexisting conditions.
d. TB tests will be given here at admission-time at MU - so DO NOT take TB test in India, but

e. MEASLES-MMR vaccine MUST be taken BEFORE you come, and you MUST bring a doctor’s certificate
with a WHO label, showing the date and dose administered.
f. Also bring a list of your medical and vaccination history from your childhood, with approximate month / year
(from your or your parent’s memory), which don’t have to be certified by a doctor. This list is very important
to have, to get proper treatment in case you have any health problem here.

• Rains are frequent and heavy in Missouri. Bring a raincoat; it also can do a double-duty during light snowfall.
• Bring couple bed-sheets and pillow-covers (without pillow); DO NOT bring mosquito curtain!!!
• Get badminton or tennis racket or table tennis bat or other small sports items in which you are interested.
• Carry some $1 notes and 25c coins for your immediate use upon arrival here. You can call us from outside
Columbia by dialing 1, followed by the 573 area code + the 7-digit number. This costs around 35c. Calls within
Columbia are free and require dialing only the last seven digits.

Visit CAI homepage at for more information and pictures of our cultural
activities; feel free to browse it and register your comments in the guest book. For questions or comments, write to We wish you the best and hope to hear from you soon.

Part II. Your Response Form:

If you want our help with housing and Airport to Columbia bus transportation then e-mail back the Response
Form following the steps below.
Step A = read Information Sheet part I first.
Step B = click “Reply” on the e-mail (to enable you to write back)
Step C = copy/paste this Part II response form and fill it out; then
Step D = click “Send” to send your response back to us.

# Question items Note your response in this expandable form

1 Full name and gender (M/F):
2 Phone No (for contact in India)
3 Co-traveler’s name(s), if any:
4 Visa status: (got or pending)
5 Need bus booking?: (Yes/No)
6 Air ticket confirmed? (Yes/No)
7 Arrival information: (Airport Name;
Date; Time: Airline: Flight No)
8 For housing, have you made online
9 Have any roommate in mind? (name)
10 Food preference, Veg or Non-Veg?:
11 Home State/Language preference?
12 Additional comments:


The CAI Team - 2011

● President, Sachidevi Puttaswamy; ● Vice President, Miqdad Dhariwala;
● Treasurer, Josephine Dula; ● General Secretary, Pranit Samarth;
● Cultural Secretary, Shreya Ghoshdastidar; ● Historian, Sagar Gupta;
● External Affairs, Gargi Bhaduri; ● Web Master, Phaneendra Bommareddy;
● Faculty advisor, Dr. Ranadhir Mitra

[Updated February 13, 2011]