International Students

Welcome to Illinois! 


Whether you are here for the next four years or the next semester, we hope you have the best experience possible. Traveling to a new country is difficult, and the UIUC MSA is here to support you throughout your time here as a family away from home.


To help you get acclimated to life here in Champaign-Urbana, we have various other resources on this page to help you get started on your University of Illinois journey! Again congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Illinois and welcome to the Illini Family!


~ UIUC MSA Shura


"I came to the University of Illinois not knowing much about what to expect in terms of culture, people or college life in general other than what I saw in movies or in a summer program I attended at the University of Pennsylvania the summer prior.

What I quickly realized, however, was that almost everyone was in the same boat as I was. College is a new adventure that virtually every college student is going through, so the best thing I could have done to enjoy this new adventure is make friends with the people going through it with me.

I was fortunate enough to find the MSA, ASA (Arab Student Association) and several other organizations to help me achieve this, and it was because of them that these past two years have been so enjoyable."

 - Alaa Qarooni

"Before I came to UIUC as an exchange student, I knew that I wanted to make friends through the MSA. It was nice to see such a close-knit community filled with people who were welcoming and friendly, which is just what you need when you’re so far away from home. By the end of the year, I felt as though I had a family on campus- it just shows how caring everyone is.

Being a Muslim in the US isn’t at all what the media makes it out to be. It’s actually a wonderful experience as it gives you the chance to answer questions and present Islam in its real form. I came across people who were genuinely intrigued and so it felt good to have discussions with non-Muslims on what Islam really is. It was surprising to see people who were understanding- it’s always nice to know that not everyone blindly believes what they are told by the media."

 - Humairah Malek


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Champaign-Urbana safe?

A: Alhamdulilah, The University of Illinois and the surrounding Champaign-Urbana community is a safe area. However, there are multiple precautions available while on campus.

SafeWalks is a free service for students, faculty, and staff between 9pm and 2:30am where a male and female student will walk you back to your residence. To contact SafeWalks call +1-217-333-1216 or download the app.

Similarly, SafeRides will pick you up from the nearest street corner and drop you off at your residence between dusk and 6am. To contact, call +1-217-265-RIDE (7433). Generally though, it is always a good idea to walk in pairs or in a group of people. 


Q: What should I do when I get to the University of Illinois?

A: The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) has a detailed description of documents to bring, procedures to follow, and much on their website linked here.


Q: Where can I find a Muslim roommate?

A: Check out our Brothers/Sisters Roommate Matching page here


Q: What Halal options are available in the Champaign-Urbana communty?

A: Check out our Halal Food Options page here!


Q: How far is the mosque from Campus?

A: Depending on where you are on the campus, the mosque called Central Islamic Mosque and Islamic Center (CIMIC) is a 10-15 minute walk. The Google Map below is pinned to CIMIC's location. Alternatively, you can take the 13N Silver or the 10E Gold to the Springfield and Busey stop which is a one minute walk to CIMIC. For more information, visit    

Have any more questions about Muslim life at the University of Illinois? Click the blue button below to submit your inquiries!

Directory of International

Muslim Students



Alaa Qarooni

Tul Elsiddig

Waleed Aldadah

Humairah Malek

If you have any specific questions about life as a Muslim at the University of Illinois or in the United States in general, feel free to contact the students below! All of these students have experience being an international student either at the University of Illinois or another institution around the world.