Expats moving to the Windy City are sure to have queries about their soon-to-be-home. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Chicago.
I don’t want to send my child to a bad school, but I want to live in the city centre. I’m afraid private school will cost too much. What should I do?
Many schools in Chicago are great; parents just need to do some research to find the best ones and try to enrol their child in one of these. There are also programmes and public schools for gifted students, many of which are among the best schools in Chicago. Also, some private schools offer financial aid or scholarships, so it's well worth researching.
Chicago is called the 'Windy City', but is it really that windy? Is it going to be cold?
Winter gets downright freezing, but to make up for it summer can be scorching hot. People tend to prefer the spring and autumn for milder climates. For all its reputation as a windy city, the Chicago winds aren't too bad. It does stay breezy next to Lake Michigan though.
Am I going to need a car?
Owning a car is certainly not necessary for getting around in Chicago. There are efficient commuter rails from the suburbs to the city centre, a good subway line in town and buses run frequently throughout the city. Traffic is also horrendous during rush hours and parking is minimal. That said, many people drive to the commuter trains if not living near a stop, and those with children or who work outside of the city centre could find a car useful. Newcomers to the city should assess the amenities nearby their home and their work commute before deciding whether to purchase a car.
Is there free public healthcare available to expats in Chicago?
Unfortunately there is no free public healthcare system in the USA. While there are some assistance programmes for children and those who cannot afford private insurance, expats do not qualify for this. It's highly recommended that newcomers take out a private health insurance plan or try to negotiate one into their employment contract. That said, those with health insurance will have access to some of the best medical care in the world in the USA.