WHAT'S NEW IN CHICAGO
Home to deep- dish pizzas, Oprah Winfrey and some of the best universities in the world, Chicago is an ideal city for international students.
The third largest city in the United States after New York and Los Angeles, the sheer size of Chicago may seem daunting at first but this impression soon changes as one gets familiar with life in the city. Not only does Chicago have much to offer international students in terms of academics but life outside university campuses is so rich that you’ll never run out of things to do here. “I came to Chicago two years ago and I still keep discovering new things to do. The Jazz Festival is coming up next month and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s never a dull moment here,” says Swarna Prabha, 27, a medical resident studying in Chicago.
With educational institutes which are constantly ranked among the top national universities, Chicago has always been an important seat of higher education and research. Some of the renowned universities include Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois. In the 2012 Global Cities Index, Chicago was ranked seventh. The city also boasts of more than 30 Fortune 500 com- panies while playing host to about 100 corporate headquarters. This makes it an important international centre for trade and commerce.
As the birthplace of house music, the art and culture scene in Chicago is as vivid as it can get. From the world famous Oprah Winfrey Show, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Joffrey Ballet and Second City theatre, any cultural aficionado would be lured by the city’s bustling landscape. Interestingly, the Second City which was the first on- going improvisational theatre troupe in the United States, is one of the best known comedy enterprise in the world with names like Joan Rivers, Bill Murray Tina Fey and Steve Carell all notable alumni.
Chicago’s other claim to fame is its trademark deep- dish pizza more widely known in other parts of the world as ‘ Chicago Pizza’. The city’s mouth- wateringly cheesy offering was invented in 1943 at the famous pizzeria Uno’s. With a thicker crust, more cheese and a huge layer of toppings, you haven’t experienced Chicago unless you’ve tasted one of these wonders. However, the city’s love af- fair with food doesn’t end there and the traditional Chicago- style hot dog is another of its delicious must- try quick bites. Apart from these, there are several other student- friendly eating options in Chicago from street food to fine dining.
When it comes to commuting around the city, Chicago has a very good transport system. For students, taking the public transport is always the best option as it is cheaper and more accessible. The Chicago Transit Authority ( CTA) runs a network of trains and buses and also has a special pass called the U- pass for college students which allows unlimited rides for students on any CTA bus or train during a single academic session. This pass needs to be renewed every semester.
The only dampener to the excellent student life in Chicago would probably be its weather, especially the winters when temperatures can dip well below zero. A wardrobe of good thick coats and boots then are essential if you’re coming to study here. The summer, on the other hand, can be hot and humid. But sunbathing or volleyball by the beach can more than make up for the summer heat.