Eating new foods is one of the exciting things about living in another culture. If you try new dishes a few times, soon you may discover that you like many new foods.
On Campus Living
If you live in the Drake residence halls you must choose one of several meal contracts. Information was sent to you by the Office of Admission with your room contract. Meals are served at several locations on campus. You will not have to pay cash for these meals. Instead you will use a "meal card" which shows you have already paid for your meals through the campus meal plan, called a "board contract."
Meals on campus are ample, varied, and nutritious. Vegetarian, halal and international dishes are offered. Nevertheless, the food will not be what you are accustomed to eating at home. (Even American students often discover this is true!) If you want to know the ingredients of a dish (for religious or dietary reasons, or just for curiosity), ask the serving staff. Meals requiring strict adherence to religious practices of preparation are not provided on campus.
You may also decide to cook some meals for yourself or your friends. Kitchens are available in the Residence Halls. Previous Drake international students recommend that you bring your favorite recipes and practice preparing them once or twice before you leave home. This is true for both men and women.
Note: Between semesters, or during Spring Break, no meals are served on campus.
Off Campus Living
Students who live in apartments will prepare most of their meals themselves. Though Des Moines has several international grocery stores (more about this when you arrive), it is a good idea to bring any special spices you require. Off campus students may also purchase Drake meal contracts or eat in the many restaurants in the Drake neighborhood. These include fast food (hamburgers, chicken), American "diner" style, Mediterranean, Chinese, African, pizza, sandwiches, cafe/coffee shop, etc. These vary in price, but they are within short walking distance of campus and are popular with students.