Explore BCS


General Information

General Information


Bryan and College Station—also known as BCS—are part of “Aggieland” located in the heart of the Brazos Valley. Although small, these two cities have a number of exciting activities due to its central location and large population of college students. Many organizations maintain online events calendars, and the following is only a selection of websites. These calendars are continually updated, so check frequently for the most up-to-date information.

  • Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce at http://business.bcschamber.org/events/calendar/
  • Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors’ Bureau - http://www.visitaggieland.com/
  • The Bryan-College Station Eagle - http://www.theeagle.com/calendar/
  • http://www.insitebrazosvalley.com/
  • Texas Co-op Power - http://www.texascooppower.com/
  • Texas A&M University Calendar - http://calendar.tamu.edu/                                                        

    Brazos Valley Worldfest
    Takes place yearly in November, and celebrates the cultural diversity of Brazos Valley. Many international student organizations organize booths to share information about their countries. Free admission.
    http://brazosvalleyworldfest.org

     Bryan and College Station Public Library System
    Check out books, DVDs, audio books, etc. To obtain a free card, you need photo ID and proof of current address (for example, lease or utility bill). Programs vary seasonally and include story times, reading programs/groups for children and adults, and computer classes.http://www.bcslibrary.org/

    First Fridays
    On the first Friday of every month, Downtown Bryan becomes filled with art, music, food, and family-friendly activities.http://www.downtownbryan.com/play/1stfriday/

    Friends of Chamber Music
    Free chamber concerts during Fall and Spring semesters. Info on schedule and venues:  http://communitychamberconcerts.org/

    Local Museums
    The area has several museums, including: 
    • Brazos Valley African American Museum: Documents the history of the African American community. http://www.bvaam.org
    • Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History: Exhibits, live animals, classes and workshops, nature trail.http://www.brazosvalleymuseum.org
    • Carnegie History Center: Part of the Public Library system, the center has collections of photos and other documents illustrating the history of the area and the State of Texas. http://www.bcslibrary.org/?page_id=56
    • Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley: Hands-on exhibits, special and summer programs. http://www.cmbv.org
    • George Bush Presidential Library and Museum: Exhibits, story-telling events for children, free movie screenings, and more.http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu

    On Campus Art and Culture Tour Guide
    Follow this link http://artandculture.tamu.edu/ for information on free on-campus art galleries and museums. (Note: Non-students pay admission to George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.) 

    Seasonal Celebrations
    Civic organizations, local governments, and area churches organize family-friendly celebrations throughout the year, such as Easter Egg hunts, Fourth of July celebrations, Fall Festivals, etc.
    These events are open to the community, and you do not have to be a member of the organization to participate. Advertising is generally by flyer, online events calendar, or word of mouth.
    FitLife
    Very affordable on-campus exercise and physical fitness program directed by the Applied Exercise Science
    Laboratory at Texas A&M University. Open to the public. Sign-up is on a semester-by-semester basis. Reduced fee parking passes available:http://fitlife.tamu.edu/

    Movies
    There are 2 commercial movie theatres in town (Cinemark Movies 18 in College Station; and Premier Cinema in  Bryan). Movie tickets are very affordable, especially for matinee shows (before 6 pm).
    The George Bush Presidential Library has free screenings of movie classics during the summer months. Check http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu for schedule.
    MSC Aggie Cinema movies are shown on campus and are open to students and non-students alike. Movies are shown when classes are in session. Check schedule at http://cinema.tamu.edu/index.html

    Recreation Departments of the City of Bryan and City of College Station 
    Find information on swimming pools, parks, adult sports teams, youth activities, and community education online at:
    City of Bryan Parks and Recreation Department: http://www.bryantx.gov/departments/?name=parks
    City of College Station Parks and Recreation Department: http://www.cstx.gov/index.aspx?page=3396
    In the summer, City of College Station organizes free open-air concerts in the Wolf Pen Creek area. 

    Texas A&M Rec Sports
    Family members can purchase a membership or buy day passes to use the Rec Center facilities. For details, call Membership Services (979-845-7826), or check http://recsports.tamu.edu/membership/
     
    Rec Sports also offers Outdoor Equipment Rentals for camping and outdoor sports. Open to the public, and no membership is required.http://recsports.tamu.edu/services/
    Bus Services
    • Aggie Spirit Buses (Texas A&M Transportation)
    Check online at http://www.transport.tamu.edu/busroutesfor available routes and times.
    Note: Transportation Services does not run routes as often during holidays, weekends, and break periods. Valid TAMU ID or BTD ID required to use Aggie Spirit busses (BTD ID can be purchased at BTD Main Office).
     
    • Brazos Transit District
    Public bus transportation network, operating Monday – Friday, 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.
    Routes and schedules at http://www.btd.org/fixedroutes.htmor by calling (979)-778-0607.
    Students with TAMU or Blinn ID can ride for free. 
     
    Cab Services
    Cab service in BCS and also to Houston and Dallas. Please be aware that cab rides outside of the BCS area can be very costly.  
    Ride Share Services
    Ride share services allow you to share a ride with another person or group of people headed to the same destination. Please use caution when using these services.
    • Zimride TAMU (associated with the Texas A&M University): https://www.zimride.com/tamu
    • Ride Share Facebook page: See group for more information. You must be a member of the group in order to view locations and times of rides.
     
    Rental Cars  
    Nearby Airports  
    For more information on transportation by bus outside of BCS, visit the Explore Texas page
    Specialty Grocery Stores
    Most area grocery stores offer a wide variety of items, including international, Halal, Kosher, and organic foods.
     
    BCS Food Market
    2704 Texas Avenue, College Station - Intersection of Texas Avenue and Harvey Mitchell Parkway (FM 2818)
    (979) 695-6888 Wide selection of Asian food products
     
    Brazos Natural Foods
    4303 South Texas Ave, Bryan - Next to Luby’s restaurant
    (979) 587-3511 Vegan, gluten-free, specialty spices, organic meats, natural products
     
    Brazos Valley Farmers Market
    Check locations and times at http://www.brazosvalleyfarmersmarket.com/
    Farm-fresh produce, breads, etc., from local producers
     
    The Howdy Farm
    The Howdy Farm is a sustainable farm created and powered by students and is located behind the Horticulture and Forest Science building, just a short walk from main campus. For more information, please visit http://tamuhowdyfarm.weebly.com/.
     
    Dong Yang Food Market
    3409 South Texas Ave., Bryan - Between University Avenue and Villa Maria
    (979) 846-3000 Asian food products, especially for Korean cuisine
     
    Farm Patch Produce Market
    3519 South College Ave., Bryan - Across from Chicken Oil restaurant
    (979) 822-7209 Fresh fruits/vegetables, including varieties used in Asian cuisine; ingredients for
    Mediterranean cooking 

     Filipiniana Asian Emporium
    3737 East 29th Street, Bryan - Between Carter Creek Parkway and Briarcrest Drive
    (970) 817-8174 Asian food products, especially for Filipino cuisine
     
    HEB
    1900 South Texas Ave, College Station - Intersection of Texas Ave. and Holleman Drive
    (979)-693-0361 Halal chicken
     
    Kroger
    2412 Texas Avenue South, College Station - Intersection of Southwest Parkway and Texas Ave.
    (979) 693-9974 African and Caribbean cooking  
     
    Mini Mart
    3800 South College Ave., Bryan - North of Hensel Park
    (979) 260-6868) Wide selection of ingredients for Indian cooking
     
    Readfield Meats
    2701 South Texas Ave, Bryan - Between Villa Maria Road and downtown Bryan
    (979) 822-1594 Halal meats, including chicken, goat, lamb, and beef (call ahead to check availability of fresh Halal meat)
     
    Village Foods
    1760 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan - By Bryan High School
    (979-846-9600) Good selection of products for people with gluten intolerance and other food allergies, vegan
     
    ZIP’N Shell Station and Indian Grocery
                609 University Drive, College Station—Across from Mitchell Physics Building
                (979) 846-6368 Wide selection of ingredients for Indian cooking

     Shopping on a Budget
    Department Stores:
    Many department stores offer aggressive discounts before, during, and after holidays (such as Christmas or Presidents’ Day) or to sell off seasonal items and clothing. ‘Black Friday’ (the day after Thanksgiving) is known for incredible deals, but requires you to be an early riser and have tolerance for extremely competitive co-shoppers.
     
    Dollar Stores:
    Originally selling everything for “1 $ or less”, these stores still offer very good prices on many items of daily living, including household and cleaning products, decoration materials, and shelf-stable food items.
     
    99¢ Only Store
    2104 S. Texas Avenue, Suite 200, Bryan  (979) 823-4919
     
    Dollar General
    12905 Wellborn Rd, College Station – Intersection with Rock Prairie Rd.    (979) 696-9197
     
    Dollar Tree
    1661 S Texas Ave, College Station           (979) 696-6241
     
    King Dollar
    2408 S Texas Ave, College Station – Southwest Kroger Shopping Center     (979) 694-3860
     
    Resale/Thrift Stores:
    Resale (thrift) stores sell items donated by community members and businesses. Items sold may include furniture, household goods, clothing, toys, etc., and are generally very cheap. The selection can vary from one day to the next. Check before you buy, since you cannot return items. Resale stores are usually operated by benevolent organizations, meaning that your purchase will help support people in need.
     
    Goodwill Thrift Stores
    2704 S Texas Ave, College Station, (979-764-8297) – by BCS Food Market
    2600 S Texas Ave, Bryan, (979- 823-2083) – close to Harmony Science Academy
    Clothing, furniture, household items, toys, etc. 
     
    Habitat for Humanity ReStore 
    2211 Maloney Ave., Bryan – close to Harmony Science Academy
    (979-775-8122)
    Furniture, household items, appliances, building materials
     
    Hospice Thrift Store
                2814 Cavitt Avenue, Bryan
    (979-775-7227)
    http://www.hospicebrazosvalley.org/support/shop.html
    Furniture, household items, clothing, toys, etc.    
     
    Twin City Mission Second Chance Thrift Stores
    424 N. Main, Downtown Bryan
    803 Wellborn Rd., College Station close to campus
    3808 Old College, Bryan – close to Farm Patch
    http://www.twincitymission.org/support.shtml
    Furniture, household items, clothing, toys, etc.

    Clothing:
    The following stores sell mainly clothing, but you can also find an eclectic collection of household goods, luggage, decoration materials, etc., at most of these businesses. Selection varies, so check back often.
     
    Burke’s Outlet
    1200 Harvey Rd, College Station
    (979) 764-3029
     
    Plato’s Closet
    1104 Harvey Rd, College Station
    (979) 694-8440
    Buys and sells name brand clothing and accessories for teen and women
     
    Big Lots
    1913 S Texas Ave, College Station – across from HEB
    (979) 696-0327
     
    Once Upon a Child
    2220 S Texas Ave, College Station – close to Target
    (979) 696-7161
    http://www.onceuponachild.com/
    Buys and sells name brand children’s clothing, toys, and furniture
    Ross
    1911 S Texas Ave, College Station– across from HEB
    (979) 694-5399
     
    Stein Mart
    2408 S Texas Ave, College Station– Southwest Kroger Shopping Center
    (979) 696-3210
     
    TJ Maxx
    1128 Harvey Rd, College Station
    (979) 694-2008
     
    The Warehouse at C.C. Creations
    114 Holleman Dr, College Station           
    (979) 693-9664
    Texas A&M themed apparel (t-shirts, shorts, etc.)

    Household Items and Furniture:
    Quality Used Furniture
    2039 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy S, College Station
    (979) 693-8669
     
    Tuesday Morning
    1210 Harvey Rd, College Station -
    (979) 693-2613
     
    In addition to Texas A&M University, the Bryan/College Station area also has a campus of Blinn College . Blinn College is a community college offering 2-year degrees (Associate level), as well as vocational training for mechanical and other trades.

    International citizens who plan to take courses at Texas A&M University or at Blinn College must first seek admission to these schools. Please note that visa regulations currently do not allow persons in F-2 visa status to enroll or to audit higher education or vocational instruction. (For Change of Status procedures and timeline, please refer to "F1 - Status Related Details" section on the F-1 Status page.) 

    Persons in F-2 visa status can, however, take classes that are considered of recreational or a-vocational (not related to a trade) nature, or sign up for basic English language classes.

    There is a rich offering of such recreational classes available in the area, for example through the College Station Parks and Recreation Department (http://www.cstx.gov/), and through local museums, art galleries, and craft businesses.

    For opportunities to improve English language skills, please click here
     
    Access to medical services in the Bryan/College Station area is excellent. There are three large hospitals serving the area, and Houston, approximately 100 miles to the South of College Station, is a world-renown center for medical care and medical research.
     
    Types of Healthcare Providers 
    While enrolled, Texas A&M University students can visit the on-campus Beutel Health Care Center for medical care. However, the student clinic does not service non-students.

    Non-students needing healthcare have access to the following options. All providers may require immediate pay for service.

    DOCTOR’S OFFICE
    The patient makes an appointment for a specific day and time. The patient will be expected to be at the doctor’s office at the appointed time. For first-time consultations, patients should arrive ahead of their appointed time to complete required paperwork. Doctor’s offices generally operate Monday through Friday. U.S. medical practitioners generally do not make house calls.
     
    URGENT CARE CLINICS
    A growing number of places provide medical care on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary) and during extended hours (evening and weekends). The fee structure is generally similar to a regular doctor’s office.
    Urgent Care Clinics include:
    • St. Joseph’s Express, 4401 Hwy 6 South (Exit W.D. Fitch Pkwy), College Station, (979)731-5200
    • Scott&White Clinic, Today Care, 1600 University, College Station, (979) 691-3300
    • St. Joseph’s Express, 2010 East Villa Maria, Bryan, (979) 821-7373
    • Brazos Valley Urgent Care, 2911 Texas Ave South, Suite 103, College Station, (979) 764-2882
    HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS
    Emergency rooms (ER) are open 24-hours, 7 days a week. They provide medical care to patients with life-threatening conditions or serious accidents.ERs prioritize patient care, which often results in long waiting periods for non-life-threatening situations.

    Treatment costs in ERs can be very much higher than in doctor’s offices or urgent care clinics. For this reason, most health insurance plans require that the patient pay a high co-pay amount for care received in an ER.

    It is advisable to use ERs only in case of serious medical emergency, when no other treatment options are feasible.

    Having Health Insurance Coverage is a Must!
    It is extremely important for international citizens who come to the U.S. to make arrangements for adequate health insurance. This applies to family members on a dependent visa, but also for visitors who plan to spend just a few weeks in the U.S. (Short-term visitors to the U.S. should inquire about Traveler’s Insurance policy prior to their departure from their home country.)

    Health insurance policies are available for individuals and families, but you have to sign up for insurance before service is needed.

    Students and their families should budget sufficient resources to pay for insurance premiums (several thousand dollars per year, depending on the composition of the family). 

    ISS strongly recommends signing up with a proven insurance provider, such as the company that underwrites the insurance policies of all Texas A&M students. Please contact healthinsurance@tamu.edu for a referral to the current provider for the Texas A&M University system.

    Please note the following important facts:
    • Any international student enrolled at Texas A&M must have health insurance deemed adequate by Texas A&M University, independent of visa status.
    • Continuous health insurance coverage is mandatory for all persons in active J-visa status, even if they are outside the U.S. Failure to maintain coverage is ground for termination of the J visa status.
    • Even with a health insurance policy, patients are expected to pay a share of the costs for medical services. Costs are lowest if care is provided by a medical professional who the insurance company recognizes as “in-network”.
    • Although local hospitals and other medical service providers may encourage patients without health insurance to sign up for Medicaid (a U.S. social safety-net program for citizens with very low income) or similar subsidized programs, international citizens do not qualify based on the conditions under which their visa was issued. Exceptions are listed below.
     
    Preventive Care Services Accessible to All 
    The following preventive care or counseling services are accessible to everybody, independent of citizenship or visa status:
    • The Brazos County Health Department provides low-cost vaccinations for children and adults who do not have health insurance, including those vaccinations required to enter school. Check locations, fees, and times at http://www.brazoshealth.org/.
    • Blinn College Dental Hygiene Program offers low-cost dental cleanings and other preventive dental care for adults and children ($10—per family and semester). Services are provided by students under professional supervision. Call (979) 209-7283 for a screening appointment.
     
    Counseling and Mental Health Services 
    Counseling is available for students and their families dealing with relationship or parenting challenges, culture shock, academic difficulties, depression, or other challenges.
    • On-Campus Student Counseling Services are for enrolled students only. See http://www.scs.tamu.edu for details.
    • Department Educational Psychology offers counseling and assessment services that are provided by advanced psychology students, under professional supervision. Services are open to everybody, and fees are on a sliding scale based on income. See http://epsy.tamu.edu. Contact phone: 979-595-1770.
    • The TAMU Psychology Clinic provides psychological evaluations, consultation with schools and other community agencies, individual adult, child and adolescent therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy. Services are open to everybody, and fees are on a sliding scale based on income. See English-Brochure. Contact phone: 979-845-8017.
     
    Support Services for Individuals and Families with Special Needs 
    The Texas A&M Center on Disability and Development (website: http://cdd.tamu.edu; e-mail: cdd@tamu.edu) links individuals and families to information and resources for persons with special needs.

    Contact the center, or check http://disabilityresources.tamu.edu to find a support group for conditions ranging from learning difficulties, ADHD, to physical handicaps.

    Please note: Some of the services available may not be reconcilable with your visa status. Always verify with ISS before accepting any services.

    Vaccinations
    The Brazos County Health Department provides low-cost vaccinations for children and adults who do not have health insurance, including those vaccinations required to enter school.
    Check locations, fees, and times at http://brazoshealth.org/


     
    Consumer Handbook
    The U.S. General Services Administration recently published the Consumer Action Handbook. The handbook contains information of topics ranging from Banking to questions on what do if you receive a Fraudulent Phone Call. Access the handbook online at:http://publications.usa.gov/USAFileDnld.php?PubType=P&PubID=5131&httpGetPubID=0 
     
    Internet Bulletin Boards
    Internet bulletin boards, such as Craigslist, are a great resource for buyers and sellers alike. However, because of the relative anonymity of the internet, fraudulent information and illegal activity is frequent. Caution is advised when using Internet Bulletin Boards.
     
    Texas A&M Off-Campus Survival Manual
    A practical guide on how to survive as an off-campus student. Access the manual online at: http://studentlife.tamu.edu/sites/studentlife.tamu.edu/files/2015%20OCSM.pdf .

     

ISS relies on you to keep this information updated.  If you see something on this page that needs to be updated, please let us know by emailing us at ISS@tamu.edu