Rice is eaten the world over and seasoned in just about every way imaginable. There are also lots of types of rice that behave differently when cooked. You're probably buying long grain rice so I'll start there.
Add 2 cloves, 2 green cardamon pods per cup of rice you're going to cook. Cook normally with the spices added. It will have a nice spiced flavor sort of like some Indian spiced rice dishes. A cinnamon stick is good too, but cook more than 1 cup of rice in that case.
I like a lemon rice pilaf:
1/2 onion chopped
Pinch of turmeric
1 clove garlic minced
zest of 1 lemon finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 cups long grain rice
3 cups water
In a small pot or large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the rice and stir. Once coated with the butter, add the turmeric Keep stirring, after a few minutes, the grains will be turning more opaque. Add the onion, stir another minute or two. Add the garlic, stir a couple of times, add the lemon zest, salt and water. When it boils, cover it and turn the heat to low. Simmer covered 15 minutes. Turn heat off. Let stand covered 5 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice and fluff/mix gently with a fork. A little sumac on top gives a nice contrast and punches up the sourness, but paprika is fine too.
Cook extra plain rice for a fried rice dish. Only use cooked rice that has completely cooled for fried rice. Season the fried rice with some soy, sugar salt and pepper. Oyster sauce is a good addition to fried rice too.
The fried rice concept is versatile. Use some sausage of various ethnicity and other vegies. Season with the dominant spices of the culture the sausage comes from.
Italian: think garlic oregano, basil
Mexican: garlic, oregano, cilantro lime
Spain: thyme, paprika, saffron but that's probably not right for a fried rice dish.
US breakfast sausage: thyme, sage, garlic, cayenne
Think also of beans with rice. Season with onion, garlic, celery, peppers--bell and hot. Again, various herbs can be added to take this in different culinary directions but beans and rice feeds most of the world.
Curry pastes are commonly available now in most grocery stores as is canned coconut milk. This is not the liquid from the center of a coconut but liquid from the pressed flesh. With these two ingredients many simplified Thai style curries are possible.
Couscous. Most any stew will work with couscous. A classic seasoning for couscous is Harissa, a hot spicy paste. Many recipes, google will turn up many. Stews for couscous in Morocco often include dried fruit. These stews are called tagines. Many recipes on the net again. These tend to be spiced in ways most US people don't think of for main courses. Cumin Coriander and Cinnamon. Almost more Indian in spicing but still very different. There will be some specialty ingredients such as preserved lemons. These aren't hard to make but will probably not interest you much at this point in our college life. And the dishes are still pretty good without them.
Chicken and rice are often baked together in Casseroles. The classic US verison uses canned cream of whatever soups. Not my particular preference but good college fare.