About International House

Diversity of Thought and Experience

The mission of International House is to enable students and scholars from around the world to live and learn together in a diverse community that builds lifelong qualities of leadership, respect, and friendship.

This mission is achieved by daily interaction among students through programs, facilities, and community life designed to foster diversity of thought and experience.

A History of International Cultural Exchange

International House was conceived by a YMCA official Harry Edmonds following a chance encounter with a Chinese graduate student in 1909. The philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Cleveland H. Dodge family led to the construction of the first International House in New York City in 1924.

Founded in 1932 by John D. Rockefeller Jr., International House of Chicago is today one of 20 members of the International Houses Worldwide network. Since that time, the International House of Chicago experience of international cultural exchange in a diverse community has transformed the lives of more than 42,000 people. 

Host to the World

In addition to supporting our residents, International House also serves the greater Chicago community as a cultural and intellectual center for a wide array of programs. Over 200 public programs are held each year at International House. These include music and cultural performances, outreach programs with Chicago-area international organizations, collaborations with foreign consulates, language exchanges and discussions, and forums and debates led by distinguished guest speakers through the Global Voices Performing Arts and Lecture Series. Each year, International House provides over 35,000 attendees with meaningful opportunities for discussion and engagement in community, national, and world affairs. 

The Graduate Commons Program offers fellowships and internships to UChicago graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and sponsors programs to help ensure the exceptional diversity of the graduate community connected to International House. Programming includes weekly language and culture tables and related dining activities, professional development opportunities, health and wellness programs, and social programs that promote internpersonal and intercultural understanding and friendship among all UChicago grad students. 

The role and mission of International House of Chicago and International Houses Worldwide is more important than ever: in order to make the greatest possible impact in the international marketplace of ideas, Chicago students and scholars must be engaged with ideas and approaches from around the world. International House helps them do that, while also contributing to the intellectual and cultural fabric of the greater Chicago community. 

Visit I-House's Photographic Archive

The International House Photographic Archive documents the design, construction, and early life of the House. Explore these photos to learn about International House’s transformation throughout the years.

Explore the University of Chicago’s Global Programs

For more than a century, University of Chicago faculty and students have worked in other countries and in collaboration with scholars from around the world. Today, that reach extends further than ever with hundreds of programs, initiatives, and partnerships in over 31 nations and on every continent.