I studied in Chicago for 4 years and I fell in love with that city. It’s almost as exciting as NY and LA but way more friendly and not as intimidating. I think it’s a great place to start for international students that want to study in a larger US city. The people are very friendly and down to earth and it’s also a very international city so you will meet people from all over the world. A lot of them are students because Chicago has several good universities across the city and that makes it a very young and vibrant place. Another plus is public transport. The ‘L’ (subway that runs underground and above) goes to most places and if it doesn’t, buses will take you there. I remember as a student, the semester pass was part of the tuition and I could ride around the city whenever they want.
The architecture is unbeatable. I don’t think there is a city in the US that has that many beautiful buildings. Lake Michigan, which feels like an ocean, is a great place to relax. There are 14 miles of beach all along the city and plenty of parks for recreational activities. Before I moved there I heard about Chicago being a very dangerous place but I never felt scared in the 4 years I lived there. Most of the dangerous areas are in parts of the city that one doesn’t have to travel thorugh and thus are easy to avoid.
Chicago also offers a lot of culture. There are tons of museums, galleries and a lot of great music which makes sense because there are some of the best art school in the city.
So anyway, I really recommend Chicago as a city and especially as a place to study in the U.S. Sure, the weather can be brutal in the winter but it’s still worth a try, because the city has so much to offer. Great steaks there too.