Chicago Center for Urban Life & Culture

Apply Online Now! »
or call 1.800.747.6059

City Living

Your firsthand experience in the city is an integral aspect of every student program at the Chicago Center. You’ll experience the art, culture, and history of one of Chicago’s most recognizable neighborhoods, Hyde Park, and live cooperatively with roommates in one of the Chicago Center apartments. Living in Chicago enriches your studies and work experience in the Chicago Center practicum.


Chicago is home to nearly 3 million people.  As the country’s third largest city, nestled in America’s heartland on the shore of gleaming Lake Michigan, Chicago boasts a rich and varied history that reflects its cultural and geographic context.  From the Chicago Board of Trade, where Midwest farmers trade their grain in the international markets, to the diverse and breathtaking architecture and world-class museums, Chicago is a unique and fascinating city to learn, work, and grow in.

January Term Students Exploring Downtown

Sometimes visitors comment that travelling through Chicago’s neighborhoods feels like traveling through as many countries—each of which has a small town feel.  Our students experience world cultures through the many languages, world cuisines, styles of worship, music expressions, and public art present in Chicago’s diverse communities.  Our rich history of migration and ongoing immigration has created Chicago’s identity, which incorporates the largest contiguous African American community in the country and the second largest Mexican population nationally. Visit the City of Chicago’s website below to see some of the highlighted events and attractions Chicago has to offer.

Hyde Park

As a Chicago Center student you will have the opportunity to live in one of the country’s most notable neighborhoods, Hyde Park. Our neighborhood is a vibrant, bustling lake front community located on Chicago’s South Side.  In addition to being the home of President Barack Obama our neighborhood is known for its racial diversity, elegant architecture, and cultural and academic institutions.  The University of Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History, Museum of Science and Industry and Oriental Institute draw visitors from around the world.

Hyde Park Farmer’s Market

Hyde Park’s intellectual and political legacy has given it an international reputation.  Many famous authors, scientists, politicians and artists have made Hyde Park their home; like other residents, they value the successful integration of Hyde Park’s ethnic, racial and economic diversity.  Numerous coffee houses, bookstores, and some of the best ethnic restaurants (Thai, Japanese, French, Greek, Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern and American) make a stimulating climate for lively discussion and interaction.  And, lakefront paths and beaches (Lake Michigan) are within walking distance from the student apartments. Visit the city of Chicago’s website below to view just a few of Hyde Park’s attractions and amenities.

Cooperative Living

You will share a fully furnished, spacious apartment, with other students who are in your program and share similar interests as you. Each apartment is given a charge account at three local grocery stores for food and apartment maintenance items, and you will all be responsible for cooking, cleaning and other household needs.

January Term Students in their new home!

The living space becomes a nexus for community among participants, and some of the best learning happens in the context of late night discussions. In fact, lifelong friendships are often forged through this aspect of the Chicago Center program. Sharing the experience of learning from the city, your seminars, and your internships with your roommates makes Chicago Center a unique program for its participants.

Spring 2010 Student Dinner Party

A Chicago Center Housing Coordinator works with each apartment during the term.  While the Housing Coordinator does not live in the building, he or she visits each apartment weekly to meet with students. The Housing Coordinator provides an important personal and logistical resource to students throughout the term.

Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen; wireless internet, cable T.V., phone service, and most have onsite laundry facilities. Coffeshops, restaurants, bookstores, banks, shops and our office are all within walking distance. Apartments are close to public transportation and a short bus ride from downtown, or a walk to the lakefront!

Discover the City

Early on you will learn how to effectively use public transportation to get to where you want to go.  At the beginning of the term, students travel in groups for several days as you become familiar with the city.  Chicago Center staff will orient you to public transportation; you’ll learn how to use the buses and trains and how to choose the most effective route.  By the time you begin your internship, you’ll have public transportation experience and be able to explore all that Chicago’s neighborhoods have to offer.

Summer 2009 Students Exploring the City

You will also be oriented to your new neighborhood in the first days of the term.  On your excursions into Hyde Park you will explore the neighborhood in small groups, discovering all of the gems Hyde Park offers and getting to know your neighbors.

Within a couple of weeks you’ll be more familiar with Chicago than most residents!

Support Us