Chicago – University of Chicago

Reasons people went to this university/place

  • I had never been to the US and wanted to go to a big city. When applying I wasn’t aware of the fact that U of Chicago is one of the best universities in the country! Barack Obama used to be lecturer there.

Recommended semester to go there

  • Most international students arrive in autumn and stay for a year. Uni Wien students can unfortunately only stay for two quarters. From what I’ve heard, you will hang out much more with other internationals if you arrive in autumn and you will definitely bond during orientation week. I think I based my decision on the weather and thought that spring quarter would be warmer, and from May onward the city is lovely and nice and summery.Winter quarter starts beginning of JANUARY which might be problematic for finishing winter term courses at Uni Wien.

Before going there

Accommodation experiences

  • For both quarters, I lived I a shared flat in Hyde Park close to school.I was simply lucky, because I shared a place with absolutely amazing, interesting and funny people, I had a lot in common with. Some friends of mine were less lucky and didn’t really talk much to their roomies.

Special items to pack

  • A proper, really warm coat! Outlet adapters, bed linen for the cover (hated that American single sheet thing; the fitted sheets and linen for the pillows are like in Austria).

How people who went there handled their finances

  • I hardly ever withdrew money from an ATM because it’s super expensive. I paid practically everything with my credit card! I paid my rent via paypal. Cross your fingers that the euro is strong compared to the dollar.

University Information

Rough semester schedule

  • Beginning of JANUARY to beginning of March (winter quarter), end of March to end of May (spring quarter), you can easily find more detailed information on the university websiteUnfortunately, the academic schedule does not match with the one from Uni Wien. If you go to Chicago for autumn and winter quarter, you will miss the first (two?) weeks of the summer semester in Vienna. If you to Chicago for winter and spring quarter, you will miss the last 4 weeks of winter semester in Vienna! It wasn’t easy to find courses for the winter semester, but it was manageable. I had a seminar which ended before Christmas, some professors let me miss 3 sessions. Simply speak to the lecturers and professors individually, but don’t expect a lot of understanding for your case.

Holidays during the semester

  • 3-4 weeks depending when your deadlines are

Number of ECTS the university expected former exchange students to do

  • At U of Chicago you have to do 300 units, no less or you lose your visa, any more is not possibly and would be insane anyway. 100 units roughly translate to 10 ECTS.

Course restrictions and when the university informed students about those

  • I think you have to stick to your discipline, but Kathy Forde can answer all your questions. I recommend not doing more than one graduate course, because they are more work intensive.

Did the university actually offer the classes students originally planned to do?

  • Yes, the college course catalogue mentions during which quarters a course will be offered

Recommended courses/modules

  • Academic and professional writing (aka little red school house), best writing course I’ve ever had. Very popular, and hard to get into! Media Aesthetics with Prof. Brown was great! Language of deception and humor (linguistics) is said to be an easy A course. I can confirm that the work load very low compared to other courses.

Exam period

  • Last week of the quarter, professors might set deadlines also for later

How exams look like

  • Essays! Of about 10 pages for the final one.Continuous work throughout the course includes a lot of reading, sorter papers, possibly quizzes, projects, online tasks, depending on the course.

Other information

Recommended restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping centers, ect.

  • Medici, Valois, Woodlawn Tap (locally known as Jimmy’s, best dive bar in the area) in Hyde Park, Big Star Tacos, Three Dots and a Dash, roof top bar in Lincoln Hotel, Virgin Hotel, Au Cheval, Umami Burgers, Little Goat and the Girl, The Green Mill

Recommended secret spots in the city/town

  • Wicker Park, the zoo in Lincoln Park is free, anywhere on lake shore, Chicago Cultural Center is free, the conservatory on the last floor of Harold Washington Library Center (Chicago Public Library), The Art Institute is free for U of Chicago students, check out Adler after dark, observation deck in Willis tower, signature room,

Recommended day trips

Recommended places or events to meet new people/make new friends

  • Grad school events, bar night

Public transport offered in the city/area of the University

  • Uber and lyft are simple and cheap if you can share with people, it takes about 45 min. to go downtown, up to an hour to go further north or west, there are U of Chicago buses from campus around Hyde Park

Other recommendations

  • Lycamobile has good deals to get a local phone number, which is very practical when you travel around, WhatsApp is less used in the US, people write more via Facebook messenger. Don’t be intimidated by your fellow classmates, be active in discussions, there will be a lot of work, but with some effort and common sense you will get great marks; go to New York and New Orleans, check out free food events! The gym is free, maybe join a student organization. I did stars tutoring (interesting for future teachers), take security alerts seriously, but don’t be afraid. Be vigilant and make sensible decisions like you would in any new/unknown place, become friends with grad students

Is this University the right place for me?

You should spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • if you want to study at one of the best universities in the US, live in a fantastic city, love good food

You should not spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • if you want a classic Erasmus party semester where you pass courses simply by marking Erasmus student on the answer sheet, don’t like winter

(all information provided is based on 1 filled out questionnaire)