Ah, Chicago. The United States’ third largest city, home to 2.7 million people and host to Northwestern students who decide to venture out into the big city for the Chicago Semester. If you’ve been considering or just thinking about what this off-campus study opportunity has to offer and how it works, allow me to give you some further insight from student and staff.
First, it is important to acknowledge what the Chicago semester was created to do. That is, “to give students some workplace experiences in a large city context, [help] students explore their chosen fields of study, make professional connections, and gain valuable hands on experiences,” as NW director of experiential education, Kendall Stanislav, said. The Chicago Semester offers a variety of tracks that range from business and the sciences to humanities and the performing arts. Even hard-to-find internships can be found. For example, Aleja Pulgarín was able to land a position as a medical interpreting intern at a hospital in The City that Works.
The Chicago Semester also allows students to not only improve on professional skills they already possess but actually gain new abilities in their respective fields and beyond that.
Lee Rozeboom, a recent Chicago Semester alumnus, had the opportunity to intern with Northwestern Mutual.
“It helped me learn so much about what I want to do after graduating and offered the opportunity for me to grow so much in professional skills that I will use for the rest of my life in other work places, but also in life in general,” he said.
Let’s not forget the fact that this is an off-campus study option. So there are courses available to students during their 16-week stay in Chicago. Students are placed in a professional seminar and have the ability to register for up to two four-credit courses.
Rozeboom enrolled in Arts in the City where he had the opportunity to attend different art events, galleries or shows once a week, cost included in tution fees.
Which brings me to my next point: it’s Chicago! Imagine the art, the concerts, the sites and the food that implies. One of the students’ highlights of their semester was the Light Show of Chicago, welcoming winter with different lights and floats, making it the third largest parade in the nation.
But let’s focus back on some of the logistics again to help our Type A brothers and sisters out here. Thinking about what this means for tuition and cost? Well, guess what? You get to use 100% of your financial aid package to help you with the expenses. Included in that is your housing. Chicago Semester hooks you up with an apartment in the city’s very own Gold Coast neighborhood with furniture, Wi-Fi, on-site laundry and other utilities.
In the rare occasion that this has not yet sold you on the idea of packing some bags and heading to the Raven’s Home scenery, let me point you toward two very kind and knowledgeable people on campus to talk even more about the benefits of getting off campus for a semester: Amber Leusink, administrative coordinator of the Compass Center for Career and Calling and coordinator of global education, and the aforementioned Kendall Stanislav. Both are approachable and informed on the Chicago Semester and its details.
If you’re interested, the application deadline is on Monday, Feb. 10.