Adjusting to America
Every student has a lot to adjust to when they arrive at college. International students just happen to have an additional set of things to get used to! These adjustments might range from academics to housing or culture, but don’t worry—international students are not the only ones adjusting to college life, and the University of Chicago has dedicated personnel to help smooth out the transition.
- HOUSING — It’s definitely weird to wake up far from home! That being said, international students have a robust support system the moment they step foot on campus. College Housing hosts an incredible, diverse, and mutually supportive community of students, and UChicago’s Resident Assistants, Heads, and Deans are always available to support students through the transition to college.
- ACADEMICS — While it may take some time to get used to the Socratic-style discussions and high level of rigor in UChicago’s classrooms, there are plenty of resources available to help students succeed in their studies. Many students ease into their studies through Core classes, which introduce many of the methods of inquiry that students will use throughout their time at UChicago, and are supported by the full ensemble of Harper Core Tutors. Academic advisors guide students through course selections to help them choose the most appropriate and interesting courses. All professors have office hours, none of them bite, and some of them might even bring their puppies into their offices!
- CULTURE — Believe it or not, hearing “have a good one” begins to feel normal in a couple of weeks. UChicago’s wide vartiety of cultural RSOs on campus are great resources for international students seeking to chat with people from back home, get some advice from upperclassmen who might have a few more American terms in their dictionary, or schedule a visit to a local restaurant with more familiar cuisine.
International Student Employment
Any student maintaining F1/J1 status is able to work on campus through positions paid for directly by the University or its affiliates. Once students secure a position—either through lab openings/postings or through the career portal on Handshake, UChicago’s online career platform— they are also onboarded to work in the U.S., and our offices help students apply for a Social Security Number and more.
Some international students go home every long break (winter and summer), while others may choose to either stay in Chicago or visit family and friends around the country during these breaks. International students have the opportunity to stay in campus housing during breaks if they choose to not go home. On-campus Houses and Resident Heads always host fun holiday events for those who choose to stay!
International Student Orientation
International pre-orientation is an opt-in program that allows international students to meet other international students before the College’s official orientation week. This is an opportunity for international students to explore the Chicagoland area and set up a local phone number, bank account, or arrange other practicalities. Find out more about the program here!
The depth and breadth of UChicago’s core curriculum is unparalleled. At UChicago, students gain exposure to virtually every subject (apart from physical education), which allows them to approach their own interests through a wide array of lenses developed through the study of other Core topics.
Declaring a Major
The liberal arts approach to education at UChicago affords students an incredible amount of flexibility when it comes to specializing an area of study. Most students spend the first few quarters of their time on campus taking Core classes and dabbling in fields that interest them. In fact, students don’t have to declare a major until the final quarter of their third year!
The University provides enrolled students with some health insurance plans that make the whole ordeal pretty simple. Students also have access to UChicago’s Student Health Services, which provides a whole array of care options that should satisfy most needs. Learn more here.