Resident Experiences

Summer Residential Life

At International House, residents will find many opportunities to become involved in our dynamic and diverse community. International House's programs and facilities are designed to foster a sense of community where graduate students can build friendships, and share experiences and knowledge. International House provides a wide range of social, educational, and cultural programs and events, which represent the diverse interests and backgrounds of the community. Graduate students are the community builders and are encouraged to share their ideas and talents with the community throughout the summer by participating in activities and taking on various leadership roles. 

Through the Graduate Commons Program, a team of 7 GRAD Global Impact Interns sponsor a wide variety of activities to promote intercultural exchange, professional development, and social interaction. Each of the programs and activities, along with daily community interaction, contribute to the International House goal of fostering better understanding through person-to-person contact - one that is still going strong after 85 years. Community members are not only welcome to participate in these events but are also encouraged to plan their own. Some of the programs that we host include movie nights, cooking together, celebrating various holidays, exploring Chicago together and many more. 

Testimonials from past residents of International Houses:


Tom Snyder

Hello!  I originally come from Upstate New York in the United States, and I'm currently studying History at UChicago.  One of the best parts about studying at UChicago is that I get to live in the city of Chicago.  For someone who loves history, this is amazing, because nearly every street you walk down has a story to tell you about its past and the people who have lived there!  This is also one of the reasons I love the University of Chicago, because so many of the students here have a passion for learning the lessons of history so they can apply them to the challenges we face today.  I am always inspired by the conversations I have with other students at UChicago, and I chose I-House because I knew I would have the opportunity to be part of a community where I could have these conversations with people from across the globe.  That is what I love most about I-House -- nearly any given time of day, I can go down to the Dining Room and have a fascinating conversation with someone from Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Russia, Italy, and numerous other nations and I can learn about their language, culture, beliefs and ideals.  I-House is an amazing global community, and it is definitely my favorite place at UChicago!


Caroline Haimerl

Hi, I am from "the world's music capital" Vienna, and I study statistics and psychology (not all Austrians are musically talented "Wunderkinder" unfortunately).  My passion is for the brain and neuroscience.  I arrived in Chicago about a month ago, and I feel very much like I have found my home here.  What I have found here surpassed my expectations.  UChicago is such an inspiring and stimulating place that seems to welcome all thirst for knowledge.  It has been an incredibly intense time so far and I still feel like a sponge trying to take in everything that is happening around me.  This leads me to the other enriching environment here, the I-House itself.  My original motivation to stay here was to experience life on campus, to fully dive in to the experience of studying at a United States university, but I-House has proven to be much more than that.  What I love most about it are the people, the everyday life that I get to spend with all those interesting and wonderful individuals.  For me, it seems like the most unique and special feature about I-House is that it is a place where people are so very open, easy to get to know and where one is welcomed in such a friendly way.  I am very grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this big family, it is a huge personal and intellectual gain and I enjoy the time with all of you immensely!

Evgenia Olimpieva

Privet! I am  originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, but I received my undergraduate degree here in the United States.  Now I am doing a one-year Master’s program at University of Chicago concentrating in Political Science.  My romance with UChicago started a while ago.  I came here when I was a sophomore in college and completely fell in love with the school and the city.  At the time I thought that studying here was an impossible dream! Now that the dream has come true, UChicago has not disappointed me.  I love the school for its intensity, rigor and commitment to learning.  Every day I am inspired by the magnificent architecture that accompanies me wherever I go on campus.  I chose to live at I-House because I knew it would be a great opportunity to meet people from around the globe.  I also liked the idea of being so close to the nexus of social, cultural and academic events on campus.  What I appreciate and enjoy most about the I-House is its warm, welcoming, diverse and creative community.

Esraa Mahmoud

My name is Esraa Mahmoud and I come from Egypt.  I’m majoring in Economics and minoring in political science.  I decided to come to the University of Chicago as an international student for one academic year hoping that this experience would shape my future.  Chicago is a very beautiful city with a combination of natural sightseeing and skyscrapers.  The thing I love the most about Chicago is the view of the lake.  I decided to live at I-House because I wanted to be part of the International community.  The thing I love the most about I-House is that sitting in the Dining Room feels so much like sitting at a table in the United Nations where you would be surrounded by people from all over the world.  I also love having 9 of my Egyptian friends with me which makes I-House feels so much like home.

Manuel Cabal

Hola, I am Manuel. I grew up in southern Mexico, in a sunny region close to the Caribbean Sea, where many of the vestiges of the ancient Mayan civilization are located. I am in the PhD program in Political Science, studying the politics of social policy in developing nations. My favorite thing about Chicago is the Lakefront Trail, where I like to run enjoying the multiple views of the city (of course, when the temperature is warm). I chose to live at International House because I wanted to enrich my UChicago experience by meeting interesting people from around the world, and I certainly have not been disappointed.  One never gets bored in I-House; there is always someone new to talk to and to plan exploring the city.  Among my best memories of grad school will definitely be the ones with friends I made while living here!

Marion Creach

I come from France.  I have been studying social sciences in Paris and am currently studying business law.  While at the University of Chicago, I have also had the opportunity to start learning Russian.  I came to Chicago for the weather (only half kidding), the academic excellence, the opportunities available, and the city of Chicago!  Chicago has a reputation for being the most American of American cities so that really made me want to come.  Music and architecture are two big passions of mine and Chicago is a center for both.  As an exchange student, it is important for me to develop a sense of belonging in this community of international students.  I chose to live in I-House in order to share experiences with everyone.  My favorite times are evenings spent in the Dining Room chatting with friends, playing pool (although I often lose), and playing the piano by the fireplace in the Rockefeller Lounge.

Anurag Advani

I hail from Delhi, India, and am currently a student of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) at the University of Chicago.  My decision to come here was motivated in part by the university's reputation for academic excellence and rigor, but more so by the miraculous prospect of seeing, breathing in and touching freshly fallen snow.  (Needless to say, that desire has been satiated -- well almost, but not quite).  Chicago presents the exciting opportunity to experience the heart of this great country, and staying in International House has greatly complemented the thrill of this adventure for me.  It provides spaces like the lounge to interact with people from around the globe, the library to study together in, and most of all the kitchen and dining hall to bond over common tastes in food, sports, music and more.  It is in the spirit of this inclusiveness that I will present an Indian movie titled 'Garm  Hava' ('Scorching Winds') as part of the iFilm Series, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Hasta Colman

I’m from Canada and I am studying in the Committee on International Relations (CIR) at the University of Chicago.  Prior to coming to Chicago, I studied Economics, International Relations and Art at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.  I received a Davis grant and this summer I will be traveling to Bhutan to engage youth in a Participative Action Research project.  My favorite part of living in International House is seeing how inclusive and caring everyone is of each other.  Everyone at International House always puts in extra effort to let other residents know how much they are truly appreciated.

Read more about my Davis Project for Peace!

Emma Epstein

I study at SSA at the University of Chicago.  I was interested in I-house upon my first email invitation to apply.  The idea of a community where everyone intentionally decides to live and learn with people from all over the world is innovating and exiting.  I LOVE the events and food and collaborative cooking.  I love the nonchalant interactions and friendships at I-House and House pride.  In my spare time, (which is very limited now), I am very active.  I bike, run, dance and play acroyoga.  I also like to watch documentaries.

Pietro Reggiani

I am an exchange student at UChicago from Bocconi University in Milan where I am in my third year of a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.  My hometown is Bologna, the town that hosts one of the oldest universities in the world (founded 1088), although it is probably better known around the world due to “Bolognese” sauce (you should definitely try the original)!  There are many activities I enjoy doing at International House, especially meeting people and laughing together.  I love that I meet interesting and diverse people as I am cooking my meals or while hanging out in the Dining Room.  I arrived at I-House alone but now I feel like I’m part of a big family.  People are the biggest asset this place has, I don’t know how many other houses on campus let you get in contact with so many diverse and interesting folks.  I feel privileged to be at UChicago and love being at I-House (especially for the free ice-cream on Sundays).

Hello! My name is Neeti; I live on the ninth floor. I am a third year Biological Sciences major at the College, where I study wildlife biology and ecological conservation. I had quite a funny reason for choosing UChicago - I heard about the Humans vs. Zombies game when I was in high school and decided that I had to check it out. After visiting the campus, I knew this was where I wanted to be! And I've had a wonderful experience here. One of my favorite things about studying here is living in the city of Chicago. I love spending my weekends in downtown, and catching a comedy improv show at Second City on Saturdays. I feel quite at home in the city.

This is my second year living at I-House. When I first moved here, I found such a welcoming and friendly home, including the Community Fellows, the staff, and especially the other residents. I have loved getting to know people from all around the world for the short time that they are in Chicago. Last year, I got to know Michele, an international student from Cairo, Egypt. Before he left to go home, we cooked an Egyptian dinner and I got to try some incredible new food! Now I'll have to plan my trip to visit him in Cairo. I'm very grateful to be a part of such a diverse community, and I hope I get to come back and live here again next year.