Living and Going to School in Chapel Hill

This guide was compiled by Research, Innovation and Global Solutions with input from international students and units around campus. It is intended to provide resources and helpful information for new international students in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. It is revised and updated regularly.

Please note that none of the information herein is intended to provide legal, medical, or other professional advice nor endorsement of companies. The views and information provided within this guide do not necessarily represent the opinions or convey the endorsement of the University or the Gillings School.

Pre-Departure and Arrival Information

Immigration Status Info
COVID-19 ISSS Procedures
Tips for Traveling to the U.S.
Arriving in the U.S.

Immediately after you receive your letter of admission, it is important that you follow the instructions from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for submitting your financial certificate form along with supporting documentation in order to receive a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. These “Certificates of Eligibility” allow students to apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy and enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 student immigration status. There are instructions for uploading your financial documentation into ConnectCarolina.

“All students requesting admission to the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status are required to have a visa stamp in their passport, except for Canadian citizens who are exempt from this requirement. Applicants for F and J visas will require an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The visa cannot be issued more than 120 days prior to the program start date as listed on the Form I-20 or DS-2019. Students may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on the Form I-20/DS-2019.

Check the website for U.S. Embassies for current COVID-19 procedures, required documents, how to make an appointment, and operating hours. Based on conditions at each U.S. consular post, some embassies/consulates may have limited non-immigrant visa services, or could at times be closed.
Visa wait times for an appointment interview may be several weeks. Security clearances may be necessary for some applicants and those procedures have recently been adding 6-8 weeks to normal processing times. Please plan to apply EARLY!

Please review to ensure the accuracy and completeness of your documents before presenting them to a consular officer. Thorough scrutiny of documentation can be expected.

If denied a visa, make a request to receive the reason for denial in writing from the consular officer. Contact ISSS with this written documentation for assistance.”1

Remember: Upon arrival at UNC-Chapel Hill you MUST check in with International Students and Scholars Services. Students should sign up for a check-in session. The sign up and instructions are located on the ISSS website. ISSS is located in the FedEx Global Education Center, Room 2004, which is located at the corner of Pittsboro and McCauley Streets.

1 Text in quotes extracted directly from

All information in this tab taken from:

Per the message sent out on March 17, 2020, the University is reducing operations on campus. ISSS advisors will no longer offer in-person services but will remain available via email and continue to offer advising and process requests remotely via Zoom. 

Students can contact their International Student Advisor directly based on their program of study or email ISSS at   

Contact Information 

Phone Number:  (919)962-5661
Address: FedEx Global Education Center, Room 2004, 301 Pittsboro Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Virtual hours: Monday through Friday 9am-4pm 

J-1 Scholar Check-in at ISSS for newly arriving Exchange Visitors 

Please note that at this time any J-1 check-ins must be done virtually as the office building is closed. Please contact your J-1 scholar advisor to set up an appointment. 

J-1 transfers from another U.S. institution should email for an appointment. 


In order to better serve our international students and scholars, we request that you make an appointment to speak with one of our international student and scholar advisors. Our advisors can assist you with issues related to F-1 or J-1 immigration status, cultural adjustment and other personal concerns.  Please email, subject line: appointment request, to schedule an appointment.  Scholars in H-1B, O-1, TN or other employment-related immigration status should also email to schedule an appointment. 

Preparing for your appointment: Prior to making an appointment, we recommend you refer to our website and read our page about the topic you have questions about.

Here are some tips from international students when traveling to the U.S.:

• Book your flight only after the visa has been stamped in your passport.
• Check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection information regarding items that are prohibited or restricted on flights to the U.S. Make sure to follow all guidelines for bringing food into the country.
• Keep all travel documents, including your passport, Form I-20 or DS-2019, admission letter and proof of financial support, with you during your flight to the United States. Do not pack your travel documents in checked baggage.
• Make provision for airport pickup on the day of arrival.
• Make provision for temporary housing arrangement while looking for permanent housing.
• Anticipate some degree of adjustment in terms of food, skin changes and lifestyle.
• Ask for clarification if confused at any step of your transition.
• DO NOT bring items in carry-on luggage that are not permissible on flights, such as raw, not properly preserved and labeled food items and liquid substances.
• DO NOT carry sharp objects.
• DO NOT attempt to help a stranger with luggage during the course of your flight to the United States. This may include a request for simple assistance such as holding a suitcase or other item.
• DO NOT sign a lease (See Housing tab) unless you are certain of living in the apartment. A signed lease is a binding contract. Some international students have had difficulty with this in the past.
• DO NOT sign a utility or service contract if you do not intend to maintain it at least for a year. For example, most phone contracts run for two years, and if you cancel before two years have elapsed, you will incur penalties. The same may apply to cable and Internet, among other services.
• Be aware of ingredients in foods that you may be allergic to when trying food items.

Please read CDC COVID-19 Travel Guidelines 

The Office of International Students and Scholars Services offers a variety of information for your arrival to North Carolina via Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). RDU is the nearest airport to Chapel Hill, about 30 minutes east of Chapel Hill.

Please read the RDU airport COVID-19 Travel Guidelines 

If you have not made prior housing arrangements for when you arrive in North Carolina, it is wise to make a reservation in a hotel or motel. You can find affordable hotel and motel options under lodging on the ISSS arrival planning webpage. You will also find transportation options from the airport to Chapel Hill.

Living in the U.S.

Select sections below to see resources for the topics and select the arrow to see more topics like Coming to the U.S. with your family.

Health care
Finance Resources
Legal Services
Coming to the U.S. with your family
Hair Salons and Barber Shops

There are accommodations available for graduate students who wish to live either on campus or off-campus. Many university students in the U.S. live on or near campus. The vast majority of UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and professional students live off-campus in Chapel Hill, Carrboro or Durham. Contacting current students to find their favorite apartment complexes, neighborhoods or roommates can be helpful.

On-campus housing options

Graduate and professional students and students with families are eligible to apply for housing at Baity Hill Graduate & Family Housing.

Apply early! To learn more about housing and availability, directly contact:

Baity Hill at (919) 843-8831 or

Off-campus housing options and considerations

Students who live off-campus generally find a place less than a mile or two away. Not only is this convenient for getting to and from campus, but many social activities occur on campus. The educational experience is not confined to the classroom, and you will find yourself learning as much from your fellow students as from members of the faculty.

Many local apartment complexes are on the free [meaning no fare needs to be paid] bus lines (Chapel Hill Transit) in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. If possible, it is recommended that you choose a place to live that is near a free bus line. The buses also make less frequent stops at park-and-ride lots, but there is a fee for using this service. (See Transportation).

Please see UNC-Chapel Hill’s web tool to help find Off-Campus Housing*.

*Please be aware that some apartments are more flexible with their application process for international students, while others are not. Some apartments require high security deposits due to lack of history in the U.S. versus others which do not require high security deposits.

Things to consider when choosing a place to live off-campus:

Parking: There is no free parking on-campus from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the week. However, there are pay lots in Chapel Hill on Franklin St., Rosemary St., and on South Campus. As it stands now, you may park for free in most campus lots after 5:00 pm and all day on weekends, with a few exceptions for football and basketball game days and special events (marked by signs).
• Utilities: If the rent does not include utilities, you will have to request that utilities be turned on when you move in. The landlord can provide you with the name and telephone numbers of the gas, electric and telephone companies that service your apartment. If you do not have a good credit history, they may require you to pay a security deposit. The security deposit should be refunded after one year (often, with interest) if your bills are paid promptly throughout the lease period. The gas and electric companies typically provide two payment options. The first requires you to pay for all the services you use in every given month. The other lets you pay an estimated budget amount each month, with any difference being reconciled at the end of the year. Some people find this more convenient, since gas and electricity bills can otherwise vary considerably during the summer and winter months. You still have to pay for all the electricity you use, but it won’t be as big a strain on your budget if you don’t have to pay significantly more during the months you use more of the service.
• Renter’s Insurance: Renter’s insurance is advisable, and most landlords require coverage before moving into your apartment. Insurance can help you recover from property loss due to fire, theft, natural disasters, etc. The landlord is not responsible for your belongings if they are destroyed in a fire or stolen. Most renter’s insurance policies also protect you if someone is injured while in your apartment or if you unintentionally cause significant damage to the apartment. Here is a useful guide from the North Carolina Department of Insurance: Consumer Guide to Renters Insurance – North Carolina Department of Insurance.
• Leases/Budget/Utilities: Carolina Student Legal Services is available to answer questions or concerns about renting an apartment/house. Budget Planning Worksheet.
• Other things to consider when thinking about living off-campus

If you decide on off-campus housing here is helpful information on utilities and basic household needs:


Service Area
Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Spectrum   1201 Raleigh Rd., Chapel Hill, N.C.   (866) 874-2389

AT&T Internet and TV

Chapel Hill, NC

(855) 293-7676
Varies - Some apartments bundle cable with rent - ask your landlord
Duke Power Co.

2000 Avondale Dr.

(800) 777-9898
Call for information
Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Duke Energy

4412 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, N.C. 27705

(800) 777-9898
Call for information
Chapel Hill/Carroboro
Piedmont Electric

2500 NC-86, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278

(800) 222-3107
Varies. Those with a bad credit score or no credit history can prepay for a year.
Water and Sewer
Durham Water and Sewer

Customer Service 1100 Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Durham, N.C. 27707

(919) 560-4344
$50. Check with your landlord if service is bundled with rent.
Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Orange Water and Sewer

400 Jones Ferry Rd., Carrboro, NC 27510

(919) 968-4421
Service initiation fee
Chapel Hill
PSNC Energy     (877) 776-2427
Varies with house size


Check with your cable provider for internet options, as you might save money by combining your cable and internet services. You may decide to only purchase internet from these providers and forego cable services – especially if you do not use cable and prefer to use streaming services.


Most students have cell phones and do not have landlines (home phone). However, if you would like a landline in your off-campus housing there are various companies in the area that provide the option: AT&T, Verizon, Vonage, Comcast Cable and Spectrum. You can contact them directly to get pricing and see if you can combine your cable, internet and telephone services for a lower price.
For popular cell phone companies in the area:

• AT&T: 201 S Estes Dr #200e, Chapel Hill, NC 27604
• Sprint: 5324 New Hope Commons Blvd Ext #5, Durham, NC 27707
• Verizon: 201 S Estes Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
• T-Mobile: 6400 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27713

When looking at cell phone plans, be sure to ask about their discount calling plans and learn about possible data charges when using phone apps to connect with people internationally (e.g., WhatsApp, Viber and Skype). Remember to mention that you will be making international calls.

Helpful tip: The large phone companies have a UNC affiliate discount which can help students get a slightly cheaper monthly plan. Ask when you look for phones! You would likely need to bring your student ID card to set that up if they provide the discount.

Students compiled the list below on places they have found used furniture to furnish their apartments.

NOTE: When buying used furniture and bedding, make sure you inspect the items carefully to avoid bringing home bedbugs, cockroaches or other pests. Wash used bedding in hot water, if possible, and avoid used mattresses.

*Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19; visit stores’ website for the most accurate information 

CommunityWorx Thrift Shop (Clothing, housewares, books, furniture)

125 W Main St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510

Trosa Furniture and Frame Shop

3500 N Roxboro St, Durham, N.C. 27704

Goodwill Store

1115 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 240-7451

4318 Garrett Road, Durham, N.C. 27707 – (919) 493-1182

5267 North Roxboro Road, Durham, N.C. 27712 – (919) 479-1141

Habitat for Humanity ReStore (Durham)

5501 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, N.C. 27707  – (919) 403-8668


Raleigh News and Observer classified ads

Select the locations below for available markets/food stores in the towns around the University.

*Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19 


Store Name
Phone Number
Food Lion
Carrboro Plaza - 104 NC Hwy 54, Unit A, Carrboro, N.C. 27510
(919) 932-1589
Food Lion
Willow Creek Shopping Center - 602 Jones Ferry Rd a, Carrboro, N.C. 27510
(919) 942-0916
Harris Teeter
Carr Mill Mall - 310 N Greensboro St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510
(919) 942-8564
Weaver Street Market
101 E Weaver St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510
(919) 929-0010
Carrboro Farmers Market Saturdays Year-Round: 9am-12pm November - March 7am-12 April - October Wednesdays & Seasonally: 3-6pm April - November (COVID-19 Hours: Saturdays 7am-12pm and Wednesday 3pm-6pm)
301 W Main St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510
(919) 280-3326

Chapel Hill

Store Name
Phone Number
Food Lion
Timberlyne Shopping Center - 1129 Weaver Dairy Rd, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 929-0458
Food Lion
Rams Plaza - 1720 Fordham Blvd, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 967-2613
Harris Teeter
Chapel Hill North - 1800 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 968-0110
Harris Teeter
Meadowmont Village - 116 W Barbee Chapel Rd, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
(919) 932-5020
Harris Teeter
University Mall - 2110 S Estes Dr, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 933-5700
Wal-Mart Superstore
12500 US Hwy 15 501 N, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
(919) 357-9039
143 W Franklin St #120, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516
(919) 590-4925
Fresh Market
1200 Raleigh Rd, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
(919) 932-7501
Trader Joe's
1800 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 918-7871
Whole Foods Market
81 S Elliott Rd, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 968-1983
Farmers Market Saturdays 8am-12pm and Tuesdays 3pm-6pm
University Mall - 201 S Estes Dr, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(919) 533-9496
Farmers Market Information about the 2019 Farmers’ Market Season will be updated soon.
Southern Village - Aberdeen Dr, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516
(919) 280-3326
Carolina Campus Community Garden
200 Wilson St Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516


Store Name
Phone Number
Wal-Mart Superstore
5450 New Hope Commons Dr, Durham, N.C. 27707
(919) 489-4412
8210 Renaissance Pkwy, Durham, N.C. 27713
(919) 425-0001
4037 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, N.C. 27707
(919) 765-0008
Durham Farmers Market Saturdays from 8am-12pm
501 Foster St, Durham, N.C. 27701
(919) 667-3099

Ethnic and Specialty Stores

Store Name
Phone Number
Mediterranean Deli Bakery and Catering
410 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516
Li Ming’s Global Mart (Asian, Latino and Indian)
3400 Westgate Dr, Durham, N.C. 27707
(919) 401-5212
Spice Bazaar (Southern Asian)
4125 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, N.C. 27707
(919) 490-3747
Around The World Market (Indian)
1708 NC-54, Durham, N.C. 27713
(919) 572-5599
Al Madina Supermarket (Middle Eastern)
1019 Method Rd, Raleigh, N.C. 27606
(919) 755-6220


*Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19; visit restaurants’ website for the most accurate information 

Chapel Hill and Carrboro: Looking for a specific type of food? Chapel Hill and Carrboro have “Asian fusion, traditional southern, progressive American, pit-cooked BBQ, authentic cuisines from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, fresh mesquite and charcoal grilled seafood, contemporary Italian, and so much more.”7 Use this great web resource from to find food in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Durham: “Food and drink are in Durham’s DNA. From family-run barbecue joints and old school soul food to fresh takes on global cuisine and craft beer, the Bull City’s rich food and beverage culture cuts through fleeting trends. Eat and drink your way across town, and in the process, discover Durham’s community and soul.”8 Search and discover the food and restaurants Durham has to offer.

Raleigh: You’re in one of the “Top 10 Tastiest Towns in the South” according to Southern Living, and you’ll quickly see why our culinary scene is gaining other national recognition. Farmers’ markets provide fresh meat and produce to restaurants that are focused on farm-to-table cooking… Carolina favorites like sweet tea, barbecue and home-style vegetables are staples of our culinary history… and award-winning chefs (we can claim two Iron Chef contenders) are setting trends in unique and creative takes on comfort food. Find a restaurant in Raleigh!

Carolina Cupboard: Carolina Cupboard is an on-campus food pantry that provides food at no cost to students who are facing food insecurity. Please visit them in the basement of Avery Residence Hall (295 Ridge Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514) Monday and Wednesday (3pm-7pm) and Friday (2pm-5pm), if you are worried about going hungry.

The Carolina Cupboard may be contacted with questions or concerns about receiving or donating food at:

There are many travel options for getting to campus, to destinations within Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and to other areas in the Triangle region. For the best travel experience, plan ahead and know the laws and rules of the road.

Biking and Walking: For information on biking and walking around UNC-Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill, please visit UNC-Chapel Hill’s webpages on Biking and Walking. The page includes resources, maps and safety tips.

In other countries, it may not be customary to wear a helmet while riding a bike. In North Carolina, children under the age of 15 are required by law to wear a helmet, and it is recommended that all people wear a helmet since a good-fitting helmet is your best means of protection from head and brain injury. More information on bike helmet research and tips on fitting your helmet.

Bike Shops: *Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19; visit stores’ website for the most accurate information 

  • Bicycle Chain – 210 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516 (919) – 929-0213
  • Back Alley Bikes –100 Boyd St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510 – (919) 967-7777
  • The Clean Machine – 104 W Main St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510 – (919) 967-5104
  • Bullseye Bicycle – 102 Morris St, Durham, N.C. 27701 – (919) 438-3883
  • Durham Cycles – 756 9th St, Durham, N.C. 27705 – (919) 251-8103

Transit Services:

*Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19; visit for the most accurate information 

P2P Express2 is a fare-free, fixed-route bus service for UNC-Chapel Hill students and employees that runs between UNC-Chapel Hill residence halls and Franklin Street. P2P Express serves designated bus stops on campus every 15 minutes. Buses do not run during breaks, on University-recognized holidays, or when residence halls are closed.
• Chapel Hill Transit offers FREE bus transportation throughout the campus, Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Bus stops are identified by a small blue street sign, and route information is provided near the driver at the front of each bus, or it can be found online. Some busier bus stops provide real-time information on when the next bus is coming, and this information also can be tracked online using the NextBus Bus Locator (make sure you set your location to Chapel Hill).
• Park and Ride: Additionally, students can access regular and express buses from a number of Park-and-Ride lots. Most of the park-and-ride lots have a daily or annual charge if you park there. For more information regarding transportation and parking options around Chapel Hill, visit the Department of Public Safety on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus.
• Triangle Transit: For regional bus service, Triangle Transit serves Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, Cary, Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. For more information on routes, schedules, prices and policies, visit their website. Their “Transit Trip Planner” is especially helpful in determining the best way to get from one place to another, and will provide bus stop times and walking distances to destinations or transfer locations.
• Uber: Uber is another transportation option that is like a taxi, except you pay via your credit card that you provide when signing-up for an Uber account. You sign-up for Uber, set your pick-up location, request a ride and pay via your phone. Uber can provide you with an estimate how much your fare will be prior to committing to taking their service to your destination. Want to learn more about Uber before signing-up? Uber 101: An Intro to Uber.
• Lyft: Lyft is similar to Uber where you pay via your credit card when you sign-up via an application on your phone. Once you have entered your information, you can set your pick-up location and request a ride. Lyft can provide you with an estimate how much your fare will be prior to committing to taking their service to you destination. When your driver arrives, the application will send you a message that your driver has arrived and will have details on what their car looks like. Cross-checking between Uber and Lyft is a good idea because sometimes one is cheaper than the other.
• Taxi: Taxis are another transport option for traveling about town and to/from the airport. You can search online for various taxi services in the Research Triangle Park area which includes Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham and Raleigh.

2 Text on P2P Express taken directly from

Driving: Driving on campus is generally discouraged, as parking is limited and, in most cases, a permit is required. To obtain a parking permit, you must visit the Department of Public Safety building. Metered parking spaces or parking garages with hourly or daily fees are available in some areas around campus for people without a parking permit.

A driver’s license is required for the operation of a motor vehicle in North Carolina. The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides information on how to get a license and registration for your car. Check the website for office locations and phone numbers to get more information. The ISSS webpage on transportation can provide more information on driving and getting a license or ID card.

• The steps to obtaining a driver’s license.
• Study the driver’s handbooks before taking the test.
• To prepare for the driver’s exam, here is a very useful North Carolina DMV Driver’s License Test Study Guide.
• If you do not have a car and do not need a driver’s license, you can still get a N.C. state ID that can be used in lieu of your passport while you’re in the U.S. Check the Division of Motor Vehicles for details.
• Your car must be inspected and your registration renewed each year.
• You must have liability insurance for your car before you can legally drive. Here are some car insurance companies that operate in North Carolina:

Zipcar at UNC, Chapel Hill
As the world’s leading car-sharing network, Zipcar lets you drive a variety of cars on demand, by the hour or the day, around campuses, cities and airports worldwide. If you’re affiliated with UNC Chapel Hill you may be eligible for a discount on your Zipcar membership. Learn about becoming a Chapel Hill CAP member.

Air Travel: The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is the nearest airport to Chapel Hill, about 30 minutes east of Chapel Hill. To get there from Chapel Hill by car, take I-40 East to Raleigh and exit 284B or 285. Transit service from Chapel Hill to the airport is extremely difficult, so driving or taking a cab or shuttle service is recommended.

All students enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill are required to have health insurance coverage. The University of North Carolina offers a policy that meets these minimum requirements. Read the details about the student health insurance plan and international student insurance requirements. You can also read about commonly used insurance terms to better understand fees and services.

Campus Health Services: Campus Health Services (CHS) is where students receive comprehensive health care and mental health services. Every student at UNC-Chapel Hill pays a health fee each term in tuition and fees. This fee entitles students and post-doctoral fellows to services at Campus Health Services. The Health Fee covers most provider visits. You can review the information on the CHS website for a more comprehensive description of what is covered under the Campus Health Fee. Appointments are available by phone and online.

SHAC Medical Clinic: The Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) is a student-run free clinic. Their mission is to serve the health needs of individuals who are unable to access the health care system. SHAC provide various services free of charge and some specialty services free of charge, check their website to see what services are offered for free. Their present location is at the Carrboro Community Health Center. *Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19; visit for the most accurate information 

Counseling and Psychological Services: Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is where students receive mental health care. CAPS is a part of Campus Health Services and is also funded by the student health fee. First time visits are provided without an appointment and without an out-of-pocket charge. Walk in anytime Monday – Friday between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Initial consultation: call 919-966-3658 to be screened by phone. *Hours and operations vary due to COVID-19; visit for the most accurate information 

Health Promotion: Student Wellness provides health promotion at UNC-Chapel Hill with a goal of enhancing the individual and collective health of the community through programs, services, and resources. Through partnerships with other campus departments, community agencies, student organizations, and peer mentors, Student Wellness works to develop and advocate for a campus and community environment that creates, emphasizes, and supports healthy choices and positive decision making regarding health, safety, and wellness. Learn more at

Immunizations/Vaccinations: For childhood vaccinations/immunizations needed to enroll in certain daycare or school: SHAC Medical Clinic is the nation’s oldest student-run free clinic. They provide childhood vaccinations free of charge. Health departments also offer vaccinations, some for free and others with a fee. Please call to see if the vaccinations/immunizations your child might need are free or have a fee: Orange County Health Department, Durham County Health Department, Wake County Health Department. *Hours, operations, availability, and appointments may vary due to COVID-19.

Pharmacies and Drug Stores: UNC-Chapel Hill has two full-service pharmacies that provide prescription medications and over-the-counter health items. Pharmacists are available for counseling about any medications dispensed and can fill prescriptions from any provider. Most insurance plans are accepted. You may also find medicines at other local pharmacy and drug stores.

• Campus Health Services Pharmacy: Campus Health Services basement – (919-966-6554)
• Student Stores Pharmacy (run by Campus Health Services): 3rd floor of UNC Student Stores – (919-966-8166)

CVS Drug Stores

  • Rams Plaza –1724 Fordham Blvd, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 942-5125
  • 15-501 North – 11314 US Hwy 15 501 N, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 929- 5664
  • Carr Mill Mall – 200 N Greensboro St, Carrboro, N.C. 27510 – (919) 929-2181

Rite Aid Pharmacy

  • Timberlyne Shopping Center – 1129 Weaver Dairy Rd #400, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 929-0174

Walgreens Pharmacy

  • 108 E Franklin St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 918-3801
  • 1500 E Franklin St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 918-4392

Wal-Mart Pharmacy

  • 12500 Us 15 501 N, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517 – (919) 357-9173
  • 5450 New Hope Commons Dr., Durham, N.C. 27707– (919) 489-4420

Opening a bank account: You can open a bank account in the United States even if you are not a citizen. For most banks, you will need two forms of government-issued identification, including a valid passport and one of the following documents:

• Student identification with photo
• Valid driver’s license
• International tax identification number
• Credit card with photo
• Social Security card

To open an account, go to a local branch and fill out the necessary paperwork. Most banks require a minimum initial deposit to open the account. This minimum amount will vary by bank. Once you are approved, it may take 5-7 business days to process the account. You can have your account documents mailed to a temporary residence in the U.S., or you can personally pick them up at the branch. Be careful to read the contract before signing, especially regarding fees, penalties and policies regarding transferring money to an international destination. Here are some local banks and credit union:

Bank of America:

  • 851 Willow Dr., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
  • 104 East Main St., Carrboro, N.C. 27510

SunTrust Bank:

  • 1414 Raleigh Rd., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
  • 126 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516

Wells Fargo Bank:

  • 129 S. Estes Dr., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599
  • 165 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514

PNC Bank:

  • 841 Willow Dr., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
  • 101 E. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27510

First Citizens Bank:

  • 1650 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514


  • 143 E. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
  • 100 N. Elliott Rd., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514

State Employees’ Credit Union

  • 310 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516
  • 100 Hwy 54 West, Carrboro, N.C. 27510

It is possible to have two accounts, one in the credit union and one in a regular bank. A regular bank has its own advantages – for example, wide access to ATMs if traveling around the country and abroad. Be careful to read the contract before signing, especially regarding fees and penalties.

Credit card access to money: Local banks are electronically linked internationally with the PLUS, NYCE, CASHIER, CIRRUS and/or other systems. If you have a card that is linked to one of these systems, you can get U.S. currency just by using your credit card or debit bank card. Remember to alert your credit card company to the fact that you will be traveling abroad. Credit card companies may view unexplained charges abroad as suspicious and deny the charge. This is especially important if you wish to use your credit card to make tuition and fee payments.

Foreign money exchange: Most major banks and many travel agencies feature a currency exchange desk. While most major airports feature a currency exchange desk, you are likely to get a better rate directly from an ATM machine affiliated with a major bank. ATM cards most likely to work trouble-free internationally are those with a four-digit PIN number. You may be charged a usage fee by both the local bank and your home institution when withdrawing from an ATM that is not your bank (check with your bank to know how much a usage fee will be).

Taxes: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) seeks to provide free income tax assistance. VITA offers services at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law and several locations in Orange County.

Carolina Student Legal Services, Inc. is staffed by three (3) licensed attorneys and one (1) legal assistant. We are available to provide students with assistance in understanding the factors that should be considered when one seeks legal advice, to determine if a lawyer’s services are or are not necessary, and to provide appropriate representation and/or referral.”

Please visit Carolina Student Legal Services, Inc. website to learn more about the legal issues they can provide assistance with.

“Please remember when sending emails to Student Legal Services (and others) that any information you disclose in your emails is not confidential.”

Information in this section taken directly from

The UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Public Safety is the police presence on campus. Their website provides information about their policies and services, as well as Safe Tips and how to report a crime.

Child Care Services

Child Care Services Association (CCSA) provides information about accredited child care resources and agencies for Durham, Orange and Wake counties. Information about child care scholarships and financial assistance is available on their website.

  • 1829 E. Franklin St., Bldg. 1000, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 – (919) 967-3272
  • 1201 South Briggs Ave., Suite 200, Durham, N.C. 27703 – (919) 403-6950

Child Care Financial Assistance Program was developed and funded through the Chancellor’s Child Care Advisory Committee. It is designed to provide financial assistance to UNC-Chapel Hill employees and students for quality child care. UNC-Chapel Hill contracts with Child Care Services Association (CCSA) to administer the program, with the Benefits Services serving as the University’s liaison to CCSA. Because funding for the program is limited, eligibility cannot guarantee assistance. For additional information on the scholarship program, review their webpage on Paying for Childcare.

University Child Care Center: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care opened the University Child Care Center and is a nationally accredited, five-star licensed non-profit center. Children enrolled at the University Child Care Center are children of students, faculty and staff of UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care. The population is a diverse group that reflects the race, ethnic and cultural diversity of the Chapel Hill community. The center currently has a lengthy waitlist, but you can ask how likely your child is to be enrolled and can decide if you should continue to look for other childcare options.

4 Some of the text from this section is extracted directly from:


For families with school-aged children, information on local public schools are available:

Orange County Schools
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
Durham Public Schools
Chatham County Schools
Wake County Schools

For childhood vaccinations/immunizations needed to enroll in certain daycare or school: SHAC Medical Clinic is the nation’s oldest student-run free clinic. They provide childhood vaccinations free of charge.

Health departments also offer vaccinations, some for free and others with a fee. Please call to see if the vaccinations/immunizations your child might need are free or have a fee: Orange County Health Department, Durham County Health Department, Wake County Health Department.

UNC Spouses and Partners Group: For spouse and partners of international students, this group “is here to help members make friends, meet people from around the world, pursue interesting activities, explore Chapel Hill, and develop a sense of belonging to UNC-Chapel Hill.”5

5 Text taken directly from

  • Salon 135 – 128 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514, (919) 929-4119
  • Moshi Moshi – 416 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516, (919) 933-1272
  • To The Woods – 601 W Rosemary St, Suite 103, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516, (919) 903-8593
  • Grace Hair – 406 W Rosemary St, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516, (919) 357-3503
  • Aveda Institute: Chapel Hill – 201 S Estes Dr #200-B, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514, (919) 960-4769
  • Chapel Hill Barber Shop – 431 W Franklin St. #310, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516, (919) 942- 4864
  • Great Clips – 104 NC-54 #4, Carrboro, N.C. 27510, (919) 967-9390

Beauty Shops: Black/African American Hair Care

  • Delaine’s House of Beauty – 111 N Graham St., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516, (919) 932-5405
  • Inflight International Hair – 323 W Main St., Durham, N.C. 27701, (919) 688- 0057
  • Mary’s Hairstyling – 122 Fidelity St # B, Carrboro, N.C. 27510, (919) 968-6711
  • Styles of Elegance – 112 E Main St B, Carrboro, N.C. 27510, (919) 933-1710
  • Studio 10 – 5300 Atlantic Ave., Ste 103, Raleigh, N.C. 27609, (919) 871-0036

Barber Shops: Black/African American Hair Care

  • Cut Above – 111 N Merritt Mill Rd., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27510, (919) 933-2883
  • Midway Barber Shop – 707 W. Rosemary St., Carrboro, N.C. 27510, (919) 942- 6338
  • Plaza Barber Shop – 3125 Fayetteville St, Durham, N.C. 27707, (919) 688-3839
  • The Renaissance Barbershop – 7001 Fayetteville Rd #131, Durham, N.C. 27713, (919) 806-2121

Recreation and Entertainment Resources

The Culture of Health Initiative at the Gillings School is a continuous process that includes finding ways to ensure that people have access to options that make it easier to be healthy. The initiative includes healthy living classes and activities.

Recreation Facilities

On-Campus Recreation Facilities

Full-time undergraduate and graduate students receive an automatic membership through payment of mandatory student fees. The membership is only effective during semesters when the student is enrolled in classes.6

The Rams Head Recreation Center (Rec Center) is a state-of-the-art facility featuring:

  • Three basketball courts (one with inset soccer goals and dasher boards for roller and floor hockey)
  • Indoor track
  • Indoor climbing wall
  • Locker rooms
  • Multipurpose room
  • Cardiovascular and weight training equipment
  • Student Recreation Center
  • Group fitness classes

The Rec Center is located at the corner of South Road and Stadium Drive.

Fetzer Gym includes the following facility features:

  • Two multipurpose gyms (Gym A and B) which are used for basketball, volleyball, badminton and team handball
  • Gymnastics gym (Gym C)
  • Indoor climbing wall (Gym C)
  • Fencing/multipurpose room
  • Wrestling/combatives room
  • Six squash courts (American)
  • 14 racquetball courts (four of which can be converted for wallyball)
  • Sports medicine
  • Student and faculty/staff locker rooms
  • Basket room (locker and towel service and sport equipment check-out)

Intramural sports and sports clubs are also good ways to stay healthy and make friends. For more information, visit:  or

Off-Campus Recreation Facilities

While campus facilities may be the most affordable option for students, there are several other local fitness centers. Check these websites for more information about facilities and pricing:

Outdoor Recreation

Camping: North Carolina is rich in scenic and outdoor opportunities. From the mountains to the sea, there are a number of beautiful camping locations and State parks with a variety of facilities to accommodate novice campers and day-time picnickers to more experienced backpackers, hikers, and climbers. Many North Carolina State Parks and recreational areas are within an hour’s drive of UNC-Chapel Hill, including: Falls Lake, Jordan Lake, Umstead Park, and Eno River State Park.

Hiking and Biking: Chapel Hill’s Department of Parks and Recreation has a listing of greenways and parks in the town.

  • N.C. holds 88 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the nation’s longest marked footpath (more than 2,100 miles) and first national scenic trail.
  • Another nice place to walk is in the trails near the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
  • In Durham, there are also many trails to walk and bike. One famous trail is the American Tobacco Trail, a 22-mile paved trail which leads to the American Tobacco Complex.
  • Duke Forest has trails for walking and running
  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens is located on the Duke University Campus and has several walking trails

Beaches:For a day trip or weekend, you can drive 2-3 hours to visit a number of beautiful North Carolina coastal towns and beaches, including Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington, Emerald Isle, Topsail Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and others. With a longer drive (3-5 hours), you can explore the less-developed and more pristine Outer Banks barrier islands and visit towns such as Duck, Manteo, Kitty Hawk, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Island.

Mountains: In the opposite direction (and a 3-4 hour drive), there are beautiful views of the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains, and lovely mountain towns such as Asheville, Boone, and Blowing Rock. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular drive in the fall when the foliage turns brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow, and you can find many web sites that will predict the peak color change season and the best time to visit. In the winter, there are a number of ski resorts, including the popular Sugar Mountain.

Spectator Sports

UNC-Chapel Hill has a long tradition of championship-winning sports teams. In addition to the world-famous men’s and women’s basketball teams, the women’s soccer team is consistently one of the highest-ranked teams in the U.S., and the UNC-Chapel Hill football team is rising in both rank and popularity. Students should take advantage of free or low-fare tickets offered to students.

Beyond UNC-Chapel Hill, there are many local and national athletic teams to watch or attend games, including:


There are several movie theaters in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, including the independent movie theater, the Chelsea, in the Timberlyne Shopping Center in Chapel Hill. To find a theater, visit Moviefone and enter your zip code to browse by location.
In addition to traditional indoor movie theaters, during the summer months, the Southern Village neighborhood offers “Movies on the Green,” which involves watching recent movies in an outdoor venue.

Live Music

Chapel Hill prides itself on its live music scene, and there are a number of venues where live music can be heard. Popular live music clubs in Chapel Hill/Carrboro include The Cat’s Cradle, The Local 506, and The Cave. Many other bars in Chapel Hill also have live music and DJ nights throughout the week and weekend.
Larger concert venues in the Triangle include Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, the PNC Arena in Raleigh, and the Walnut Creek Ampitheatre.
Many places offer free outdoor live music from late spring to early fall. These include:

For classical music, orchestra, theater, and other performing arts events, visit the UNC School of Music Calendar, the Carolina Performing Arts Center, or the Carrboro Arts Center.


The Triangle has a variety of locations to watch live theater.

Museums and Zoo

Festivals and Fairs

Local festivals and county fairs are common throughout the year, and each brings an opportunity to learn more about local culture and heritage as well as to sample new foods and find unique arts and crafts. Some of the larger festivals are listed below, but you can find many more by searching local community web sites or by visiting

Gillings International Student Support Pod

The purpose of the Gillings International Support Pod is to provide a platform to help international students figure out ways to navigate some of the challenges of being an international student at Gillings, offering emotional and mental support as needed and sharing relevant information with your peers. This is meant to be a chance for students to offer peer support to one another and be a safe space to discuss what you are experiencing or wish to discuss with your fellow Gillings international students.

Fall 2021 meetings will be held remotely:

Academic Resources

Resources to help you with the transition to UNC Gillings.

Classroom Culture

It is important for international students to understand the American education system and the roles that are expected of professors and students. Though informality might be misinterpreted as a sign of disrespect, most American students do not intend to communicate rudeness by their casual behavior. American students show their respect in different ways. For example, students show respect by having good attendance and by participating actively in classes. When students ask questions, they show the instructor they are interested in the class. International students should participate actively in discussions; since you may well have different perspectives from U.S. students, other students will benefit from your questions and comments as well. In addition, completing all assignments on time communicates responsibility and interest. Most American professors will interpret these behaviors as signs of respect and will respect their students in return. If you have a question about class material, it is okay to ask the professor in class or wait to speak to the professor after class. As a graduate student, questions and critical thinking are encouraged instead of simple regurgitation (memorizing and repetition) of material.

Academic Policies and Plagiarism

Information on course exemptions, SPH core courses, course registration, course-related forms and procedures, and school-wide forms and policies can be found on the Gillings School website. Plagiarism in academia is a serious issue. The following are some student resources on plagiarism:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center: The UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center offers online and on-campus help for students at any point in the writing process. They also offer handouts and links to other writing resources.
  • Writing Center Plagiarism Handout: This handout, provided by the UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center, covers a variety of topics including paraphrasing, determining if something is common knowledge, and other methods of avoiding plagiarism.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries: UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries offers a tutorial on avoiding plagiarism and the correct way to cite works using both MLA and APA formats. Students can take a quiz at the end of the tutorial to assess their understanding of the material.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill Honor System: UNC-Chapel Hill’s Honor Code, called the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance, lists the responsibilities and rights of students. The chronology of a case and appellate procedures are also outlined on the student information site.
Academic Enrichment Program

This program is specifically for helping students navigate entry-level biostatistics and epidemiology courses at the Gillings School. More information about the Academic Enrichment Program.

The Writing Center - English Language Support

Carolina attracts students and scholars from around the world. Our English Language Specialists offer a range of professional development opportunities designed to support successful academic and social communication (mini-courses, writing groups, speaking groups, and workshops). Writing groups and pronunciation class are currently continuing via Zoom.

The Writing Center offers a variety of English as a Second Language (ESL) Mini-Courses. If you are a new student who speaks English as a second language, it is highly recommended you consider registering for the Writing Center’s mini-courses. These courses are free, non-credit courses designed to give incoming ESL graduate students the level of language support necessary for written and oral scholarly communication.

Priority registration is reserved for new incoming graduate students. Continuing students are encouraged to register and will be enrolled in the courses as space is available. Questions? Contact Dr. Gigi Taylor,

Health Sciences Library

The librarians at the Health Sciences Library welcome the opportunity to support the research and information needs of all students. Librarians are happy to meet with you for individual research consults for in-depth assistance for course papers, master’s papers, and dissertations; to find data sets or statistics; or to help you learn computer applications like Photoshop or GIS. The library offers classes on citation management, database searching and more. The library has study rooms, which you can reserve on the webpage above. You can also get access to virtually any book or article ever published through InterLibrary Loan for free. Call, text, or chat online. No question is too small. They are here to help!

Accessibility Resources & Service

“Through Accessibility Resources & Service the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill seeks to meet the individual needs of applicants and current students with disabilities and medical conditions by coordinating and implementing appropriate accommodations and providing resources and services as they relate to academics, residences, dining and co and extra-curricular campus activities.”9 9 Text taken directly from:


You can find the booklist for your courses online before the semester begins. It is helpful to compare prices for books on different sites. You can buy/rent books at the locations below:

Diversity Resources at Gillings

At the Gillings School, we cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment to better prepare our students for the diverse world that awaits them – a world that seeks culturally competent people to serve as its leaders. This vision is explained further in the School’s Diversity Statement. You may see tags posted on the doors of certain faculty and staff members that read “Safe Zone” or “Mental Health First Aider” among others: What do those mean?

Safe Zone

"Safe Zone is a program designed to create a network of visible allies to people who identify as part of the diverse LGBTQ+ community.”10 Employees who have this designation have taken training that provided information and resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Your conversations with them are confidential. You may see tags posted on the doors of certain faculty and staff members that read “Safe Zone” or “Mental Health First Aider” among others: What do those mean? 10 Text taken directly from:

Mental Health Fist Aid

Employees who have undergone Mental Health First Aid training have studied risk factors and warning signs of mental health and addiction issues, including anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia and other mental health problems. Although these employees are not trained psychologists or psychiatrists, they can offer emotional support and direct those who need help to available resources on campus and beyond.

Haven Program

The Haven Program (Helping Advocates for Violence Ending Now) training is “intended to provide students, faculty, or staff with tools and skills to be an ally to someone who has experienced sexual, interpersonal (relationship) violence, or stalking.”11 11 Text taken directly from:

Green Zone Training

Faculty and staff that have a Green Zone tag are “members of the Carolina community that have been trained to know more about the issues and concerns faced by military affiliated students and to identify individuals who are available to assist this population.”12 12 Text taken directly from:

University Intiatives and Events

Learn about initiatives and events to become engaged in the wider University community.

University Resources


Funding Resources

Please note: Unless you have written confirmation from the School or University, you will not receive funding and should plan on financing your study in the U.S. as you have indicated on your Graduate Student Financial Certificate Form through the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.  For questions about funding, please contact Jenna Keith, MEd, student funding and awards coordinator.

Funding Resources

Resources for Students Abroad During Pandemic

For students who were unable to come to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year and stayed in their home countries, please take a look at these resources.

University Resources

UNC Gillings International Student Question and Answer Session

The Gillings School hosted awebinar for incoming international students to help with their transition to the United States. Current Gillings School international students shared their advice to incoming international students. Topics covered in the webinar: housing (2:00); arrival, transportation and more (7:20); academics (12:17); adjusting to the U.S. (28:24); weather (40:00); and resources (45:39).

Watch the video

Input from students, faculty and staff members is always very welcome. Please note that none of the information herein is intended to provide legal, medical, or other professional advice nor endorsement of companies. Please also note that the view and information provided within this guide do not necessarily represent the opinions or convey the endorsement of the University or the Gillings School.

This guide is a complement to:

This webpage is an update of the guides developed previously by Research, Innovation and Global Solutions, epidemiology, and health policy and management departments.