As an international student in Chicago, USA, you won’t feel a stranger, as you will experience the multicultural diversity in universities, as well as throughout the whole city. Study abroad in a city famous for its tasty cuisine, efficient transportation system and incredible night skyline. Large numbers of international students enrol in the local universities every year thanks to the affordable living costs, compared to other American cities as well as the friendly inhabitants and the rich cultural scene. Chicago, “The Windy City”, one of the most populated cities in the United States, is located in North Eastern Illinois, on the South Western side of Lake Michigan. Because of its great size, spending time around Lake Michigan during summer will make you feel like you are enjoying a nice time at the seaside.
Having one of the most balanced and diversified economies in U.S., Chicago is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and home to financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"). Chicago is also one of the richest cities in the U.S. featuring 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. Other main branches of the city’s economy include: science and engineering, retailing, aerospace, manufacturing, food processing, publishing, medical services, and more. Other companies with local offices are: Boeing, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Motorola, United Airlines, General Electric.
Students also have numerous opportunities for internships with leading businesses in many fields.
Life in Chicago is all about the entertaining scene, walks in the parks and supporting some of the world famous sport teams. Take pictures of the Sears Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in Chicago.
Among museums and cultural institutes, you can visit: Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, the Museum of Photography.
You can watch a play at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, Cadillac Palace.
Live music venues and clubs are part of Chicago’s cultural heritage; you can hear the famous Chicago blues, Chicago soul, jazz, and gospel. The Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Festival Ballet perform in various venues.
Enjoy lovely walks in the great Hyde Park, go to the beach, or admire some amazing outdoor public art.
Sports are an important part of Chicago, as the city is home to two major league baseball teams: the Chicago Cubs of the National League and the Chicago White Sox. Other popular sports teams are: the Chicago Bears for national football and the Chicago Bulls for basketball.
Try the Chicago-style hot dog and pizza, distinctly Chicago sandwiches, like the Italian beef sandwich. You can also enjoy many ethnic restaurant districts: the Mexican American neighbourhoods, Greektown, Little Italy, Chinatown and other.
Chicago was a favourite destination for immigrants from all over the world, and the situation has not changed. Ethnic communities from Ireland, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, countries from Asia and Mexico live in Chicago. The number of Hispanic or Latino population makes up almost 30 % of the total population. The high degree of internationality best shows in the variety of delicious cuisine – a great attraction for most Americans and international visitors alike. The friendly student environment will make you have trouble in keeping up with so many friends while studying abroad in Chicago.
Summers in Chicago are warm, sometimes hot and often humid, with average temperatures 25 °C (76 °F). Winters are cold and snowy, with high temperatures that are below freezing. The proximity to Lake Michigan makes downtown Chicago weather cool in early summer and mild in winter. Although Chicago is known as the Windy City, it is less windy than many other major American cities.
Student accommodation options available in Chicago:
1. Student residence halls – 900 USD/month for single or 800 USD/month for a double room. Choosing the campus meal plan will cost another 300 USD/month.
2. Private apartment – Outside the city centre, you can rent a one bedroom apartment for prices between 900 and 1,200 USD/month.
3. Host family or home stay – Prices for home stay are usually around 800 USD/month excluding meals.
For a big city in U.S., the cost of living while studying abroad in Chicago is rather inexpensive. An average student would spend around 1,250 USD/month (expenses include accommodation, food bills, occasionally eating and going out and public transportation).
Supermarkets throughout Chicago have decent prices, you won’t spend more than 270 USD/month for groceries.
A fare with the urban train is very cheap, regardless how much you're travelling and you can transfer to another line at no additional cost. A student monthly bus pass costs about 35 USD and transportation is very effective. Taxis in Chicago are also cheap.
Stafford House International is a group of English language schools that offer courses for general, academic and professional purposes. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and help our students enjoy our cities, empowering them with confidence, to realize their personal potential.
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