USA and UK have been favourites among international students since decades for studies. When you ask a student about their first choice for studies abroad, the USA is the first country that automatically comes onto their lips. The credit for its recognition goes to its reputed universities and multicultural voice. The diverse and dynamic culture of this country has proven to be an attraction to all. One of its many reputed states is Chicago which is favored among international students. Chicago or the city of Chicago is the third most populous state of the USA. it is known for its fast-paced lifestyle. The city which is considered as an economic hub, is also popular for its parties. However, for an international student, only the culture and popularity are not enough. There is a plethora of other aspects which are important to consider while moving in a foreign country. Find out about these aspects which are discussed in detail to guide you.
The first thing comes to mind when thinking about studies is the quality of education that one is going to get. This is obviously important as international students have to spend a lot in terms of housing, food, clothing and other domestic needs. Without a quality education and lifestyle in a reputable university, all of this seems futile. Chicago is counted among the best for studies thanks to its two most popular universities, University of Chicago (ranked 10th) and Northwestern University (ranked 32nd) along with two more universities in top 500 on global level. It does not come as a surprise as since the 1850s, Chicago has been a hub of higher studies and research. In fact, the whole country has multiple universities offering countless courses to choose from. According to QS Best Student Index, the city ranked at 30th along with Barcelona, which says a lot about its reputation.
Chicago is known for its partying culture and sizzling nightlife. The central area of the city provides other forms of entertainment as well as it has multiple restaurants, shopping centers, museums, a stadium for the Chicago Bears, convention facilities, parks, and beaches. The city does not stop to rest for a moment. For an animal lover, Lincoln Park provides Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory while for art lovers, River North Gallery District is a heaven with its largest collection of contemporary art galleries after New York City. Theatre lovers can find themselves soaked with art with its famous theater companies including the Goodman Theatre in the Loop; the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theater in Lincoln Park; and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier and many more. Basically, there is something for everyone in this city.
‘’ Chicago is known for its partying culture and sizzling nightlife’’
Part-time jobs are a lifeline to international students living in a foreign country. It is important not merely in terms of covering living costs but also in terms of the development of one's skills. It is especially necessary in case of Chicago as studying there is costly, what with ever increasing tuition fees. However, Chicago is equally strong when it comes to employment. It is especially beneficial that the international students are allowed to work in the country. Here, one can work in the morning while take classes in the evening. Employment is available both on and off campus companies which opens up many avenues for the students including Undergraduate and Master students. However, the most important aspect of working in the USA is that the students are paid regular American wages. Considering the multitudes of students pouring in the country, most of the universities have introduced a specialized CPT or Curricular Practical Training program that ensures that the students able to work from the moment they arrive on campus. It works by providing employment training and make them able to work in paid internships positions. This makes it easier for the students who are on budget to live decently and without any worry.
The multicultural identity of Chicago is duly established as the diversity here is truly enchanting. There is not a country in the world from where you will not find its people here. The diversity ensures that there is no lack of familiar people in a foreign land. That's why it ranks 33rd out of 140 on Global Livability scale of QS top universities. This is consoling for the students who find it difficult to be social. The culture can be intimidating to many people despite its diversity. In such circumstances, it is important to learn about the place beforehand. Culture shock can lead to social isolation which could impact your student learning environment.
Food often becomes an issue for an international student especially if the culture is completely different to one's own culture, for example in the case of Asian students in western countries. However, thanks to America's multiculturalism, the city of Chicago boasts of every kind of cuisine that the world has to offer. Everyone knows about Chicago's mouth-watering deep-dish pizzas but its other dishes are equally popular such as Chicago-style hot-dogs and sandwiches. With such global variety of food, students need not worry about food options in this city.
The most dreaded word for international students is a visa. Most of the students spend sleepless nights over it. In order to get over such fears, it is necessary to have proper knowledge about the whole procedure and guidelines of getting a student visa. According to the USA visa guidelines, one should have non-immigrant visa for temporary stay and an immigrant visa for permanent residence. In case of students, the type of visa is determined by the kind of study or school that they are applying for. In case of Universities, High school, Private elementary school, Seminary, Conservatory or language training courses, a student will need a visa category F while for other Vocational or other recognized non-academic institution an M category visa will suffice. Students are not allowed to travel on Visa Waiver Program or Visitor or B category Visas. Visitor (B) visa is more suitable if one is looking to study in a short recreational course which is not for any academic purposes. However, before you apply for any of the above mentioned visas, be sure to be accepted by a SEVP approved school. After getting accepted by the American school you plan to study, you will be registered in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for which you have to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. You will get a Form I-20 from the American school in order to present to the consular officer during visa interview.
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