Eastern students travel to Champaign grocery stores


Melissa Jabek

Sushma Saragadam (left), a graduate student in geographic information sciences, and Amulya Boddu (right), a graduate student in computer technology, shop at the Annapoorna store in Champaign on Saturday.

Blake Faith, Staff Reporter

The Office of International Students and Scholars drove several Eastern students to Champaign on Saturday so they could buy groceries from authentic grocery stores.

The office offers this to Eastern students for free and it is a once-a-month trip.

On the bus rides, students have the option to go to World Harvest International and Gourmet, Best of Africa Food Store, Fresh International Market, Annapoorna, Harvest Market and Green Onion.

Going through the aisles at the grocery stores during these bus trips, students see products they would normally see at local stores, varying from American name brand potato chips to pre-packaged meats.

Along with these items, there are also cans of Thums Up soda, Coca-Cola products from India and different types of candy in the Fresh International Market.

Brahmeswari Droradula and Manmitha Reddy Munukuntla, both graduate students in computer technology, are from India.

They said they go to the Annapoorna and Fresh International Market stores to buy spices, rice and cans of Thums Up, which is a soda drink originating in India, during these monthly bus trips.

“I come here to buy more spices and other groceries from these stores in Champaign,” Munukuntla said. “Charleston does not have the same things as here, and I also get to come here with friends and have lots of fun.”

Sukanya Chareewan, a graduate student in computer technology, shopped at the Fresh International Market, and with less than half a cart full she was one of the first to finish.

“I come (to the Fresh International Market) every month, and usually most of these groceries last the whole month, but some last only two weeks,” Chareewan said. “Usually if the groceries last only two weeks, I can replace some at Walmart or wait to buy more on the next trip.”

There are only two remaining Saturdays left for this trip to Champaign. They are scheduled for March 30 and April 20.

To attend the trip, students must first reserve a seat through the office.

The office uses outlets such as the WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Eastern’s email and Eastern’s website to get the information out for this trip.

More information about these monthly trips is available by calling the Office of International Students and Scholars at 217-581-2321.

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].