Life in Orlando

Top 3 Things to Know During Your First Few Weeks

Student food shopping

Did you just begin your awesome journey at UCF?

You are probably excited about everything, but at the same time might feel lost and confused with all the options that are offered here for you. Don’t worry, we will guide you through each and every step, so you don’t miss any of the important parts of being a college student.

First of all, being an international student in a completely new environment in a foreign country means learning how to adapt and adjust to a new culture. Here are top 3 tips on how to survive your first few weeks, exploring new things and to trying them all yourself!

  1. Shopping: grocery stores and where to purchase necessary items. You might have a little bit of culture shock with what you can find at the local grocery stores (Target, Publix, etc.) because you’re used to the food back home. It might seem odd and very different. Don’t worry, in Orlando there are some places where you can feel as if you’re back home again. For those who love the European-style groceries for cheaper price and great quality, then you should visit Aldi; a German-farmers based grocery store that has everything you need and is actually located right in front of Walmart at East Colonial! Fancy Fruits is another place with lots of organic food. It is great to purchase fruits and veggies there, and sometimes can be cheaper than Target, Publix or even Walmart. The huge benefit is that the quality is fresher and feels more like the food back home!
    There are other places, such as Dollar Tree and Five and Below, where you can get the same products, but for a lower price. If you just moved into your new dorm where you are going to spend the whole academic year or even longer, these are some of the places you can shop to save some money, because once you settle in, you realize that the amount of money that you spent during these first weeks wasn’t that necessary.
    Student Shopping
  1. Renting a car, driving, or Uber. When you are an international student and your family is far away overseas, it is hard to explain in detail how it is to live in Orlando, when almost everyone has a car, right? Everything is so spread out, so you can’t walk everywhere. One of the options to get around could be renting a car. There are multiple websites and apps to rent a car in the U.S., but most of them require the customers to be at least 21 years old, however not all the new students are 21 yet, so a good option is to rent a Zipcar stations are everywhere on the UCF campus and around Orlando. All you have to do is register online at and wait for the zipcard to come to your mailbox. Then you can easily reserve and access any of the cars available and drive to wherever you need to go! Or if you prefer not to drive, don’t forget that you can always use Uber or Lyft – and there is always an option to split the price of the ride with your friends in the app, so it’s very easy for all of you to split the cost equally.
  1. Fun things and what to do in the area. You have probably made friends already and are ready to hang out with them, but maybe you’re not sure what to do and where to go? We have a solution for this problem too! Just like back home, there are lots of fun options here in Orlando, including going to the movie theatre. The closest one is located in the Waterford Lakes Town Center, a plaza with lots of shopping stores such as Target, Five and Below, Ross and other clothing brands. Going to the movies could be a great listening guide for you, since they are all in English you get a chance to strengthen and improve your listening skills and learn about Western cinematography at the same time too! The Regal Cinemas is the name of the local movie theatre and they offer discounts for students from Monday to Thursday. If you just bring you student ID, you can buy tickets for cheaper than they usually are. The easiest way to Waterford Lakes town Center would be an Uber or Lyft, or if you are willing to walk a little bit, you can take the UCF shuttle #10 that will take you to the Lofts, which is right in front of Waterford, and then you just have to cross the street. The shuttle station is behind Colbourn Hall, which you can find on the map in the UCF app!


Kamila Ismailova - Global UCFKamila Ismailova is a Global UCF alum from Kazakhstan, majoring in Advertising-Public Relations. She is interning with us this semester and sharing her experiences at UCF from a student’s perspective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *