The United States, the land of endless opportunities, is the home to many universities and institutions. It is one of the most desirable destinations for studying abroad; because it not only offers a high standard of living and education but also provides a safe space for international students with its high rate of cultural diversity. Today, EDUopinions will have a deeper look into one of the educational cities of the US, Chicago and will break down the pros and cons of studying and living in this city.
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The Pros of Studying in Chicago
Chicago is the home to many world-renowned universities with high rankings in QS and THE – The University of Chicago (UChicago), Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, Columbia College Chicago, Chamberlain University, DePaul University, and The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
Moreover, not only the campuses offer library and information services to the students, but there are also many inspiring, equipped, and beautiful libraries all around the city to quench your thirst for knowledge: Harold Washington Library Centre, Mansueto Library (UChicago), The Poetry Foundation Library, and Chicago Public Library.
Chicago is not only a city with a high percentage of cultural diversity, but its food is highly diversified as well. There are many famous and yet unique dishes in Chicago that one cannot get enough of – Chicago-style hot dog, deep-dish pizza, butter-crust pizza, Polish sausage, Italian beef, Puerto Rican jibarito, as well as Chicago-style rainbow ice-cream, caramel popcorn, cinnamon roll, cheesecake, and brownies, to name but a few.
For local and international students who would like to test new dishes or get a taste of home, Chicago offers different international restaurants, specifically in regional avenues: Chinatown (Asian cuisine), Argyle Street (Vietnamese cuisine), and Devon (Indian cuisine).
Whether to get accustomed to the new city and lifestyle or just to hang out with your new friends from the university, city attractions are the best go-to options. Chicago is a heaven for all the art and culture enthusiasts. There are many art galleries as well as art museums throughout the city, for example, The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art, and Field Museum. Moreover, for the lovers of astronomy studies, Adler Planetarium and for the sea-life lovers, Shedd Aquarium can be perfect options.
Furthermore, located in downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is another famous spot for tourists. Lincoln Park, Lurie Garden, Buckingham Fountain, Crown Fountain, Lake Michigan, and Navy Pier are among the best options for nature lovers. There are also many outdoor concerts as well as sculptures and buildings for the lovers of modern music, culture, architecture and engineering – Cloud Gate, Willis Tower Sky Deck, 360 Chicago, The Rookery Building, to name a few.
Chicago has the second largest public transportation system in the US, which is why most of the residents prefer to not own a car. Students can also benefit from the variety of transportation means that the city offers: rail, bus, as well as a bike sharing system. In addition, although Chicago is a modern metropolis, most of the destinations can be reached within a walking distance through the so-called “Pedway” or pedestrian walkway system. Best of all, thanks to one of the world’s easiest street numbering systems, getting lost in the city is not a problem at all!
Furthermore, the second-busiest airport in the world, O’Hare International Airport, is located in Chicago. This is good news for both local and international students who would like to see more of the US with the regional/national flights or fly back to their home countries during the semester break using the international flights.
The Cons of Studying in Chicago
This factor is one of the main reasons for the number of times Chicago has appeared in the news headlines. The crime rate reached its peak in 2016; however, 2019 was the second consecutive year that the rate was reported to be decreased by 10%. Good news is that the city government has decided to look deeper into the main roots of this issue. In addition, the universities located in Chicago has implemented safety roots, anti-violence training, as well as nighttime guards, to guarantee the students’ safety.
Chicago is blessed with having all four seasons. Of course, this is one of the beauties of this city; however, because of its location as well as the presence of Lake Michigan, sometimes climate change can be a bit too extreme. Springs are wet and cool, summers are humid and hot (40 degrees Celsius), autumns are breezy and cold, and winters are snowy and freezing (-30 degree Celsius). In addition, Chicago is known as the “windy city” and as the name suggests residents should always be prepared for sudden chilly gusts and moist lake breezes.
Although Chicago is known as one of the most affordable cities in the US to live in (especially for student accommodations), no one can ignore the rather high tax rates; ranging from 0.25% for restaurants to 2.25% for groceries.