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10 Things to do With Your Foreign Exchange Student

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10 Things to do With Your Foreign Exchange Student

By Wyatt Zwik, Academics Editor

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With both German and French exchange students coming in soon, some students may be at a loss for what to do with them. Whether you’re looking for something to the spend whole day on or just fill in the night, here’s some recommendations of the top things you shouldn’t miss in Chicagoland.

1.) Visit One (or All) of Chicago’s World-Class Museums

Chicago is one of the premier locations for museum lovers, especially with the Art Institute being a perennial choice as a top museum in the world. If they’re not an art lover, that’s alright, considering the Field Museum of Natural History, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium are all walking distance away from each other. Also, if you don’t mind going a bit further, the Museum of Science and Industry is just an extra 10 minute drive away.

2.) Take a Ride Up to the Top of the Willis Tower

The Willis Tower (or Sears for all you traditionalists out there) is the tallest building in Chicago, and provides an amazing view of the city. It also offers the Skydeck, which allows you to literally hang from the side of the building. It’s a Chicago land mark that no tourist should be allowed to miss.

3.) …Or Take a Ride Out of Chicago

I’m not saying visit another state, but going out to a pumpkin patch or farm is a cool experience. Stades Farm in McHenry County is about an hour away, and has pumpkin picking, a farmers market, and even a corn maze. The Chicago Botanic Gardens is only about a twenty minute drive and is also a gorgeous outdoor experience out of the city air.

4.) Eat at a Chicago Classic

Food in the United States is pretty different compared to other countries. One of the most “American” things is retro diners and hot dog stands, so taking them to somewhere like Superdawg, Johnny Rocket’s or Portillo’s is a cool way to get a taste of Chicago’s culture.

5.) Take a Stroll at the Northwestern Rocks

A popular spot for many students at Niles West, the rocks at Northwestern are an iconic stop that’d be hard to miss. The scenery of Lake Michigan meeting the Chicago skyline is gorgeous as well as a perfect photo-op spot for your exchange student. Additionally, there’s of variety of shops and restaurants in downtown Evanston, mainly off Church street.

6.) Ride the Train Down to Lincoln Square, Or Somewhere Besides “Downtown”

Sure, downtown is beautiful and all, but other parts of Chicago do in fact exist. In addition to being a hot spot of German-American culture, Lincoln Square is a safe, fun area of Chicago outside of the usual touristy spots. Lincoln Park Zoo also provides for a free, interesting spot that’s only a short drive away from the aforementioned areas. The shops on Clark and Belmont are also a fun spot to visit to experience the street life of Chicago

7.) Fright Fest at Six Flags

Halloween isn’t as widely celebrated is other countries, so taking your student to Fright Fest at Six Flags could be a great experience. It has the thrill of roller coasters and a typical American amusement park, while also having the typical Halloween fanfare.

8.) Go to the Mall

In past exchanges, one of the most popular activities was shopping. Some popular malls that are worth considering are Woodfield in Schaumburg, Old Orchard in Skokie, and Lincolnwood Mall in Lincolnwood. Some exchange students have saved money all year for this trip, so you should give them and opportunity to spend it at the ever present American Mall.

9.) Go to a Concert

Chicago has a big variety of concerts venues, ranging from the massive United Center to the smaller, more intimate Lincoln Hall by Sheffield & DePaul. Here’s a full list of upcoming concerts at assorted venues in Chicago that you can go to. Chicago’s also famous for it’s improv performances and Chicago Broadway. If you can afford the tickets, a professional musical or play is a great experience for any tourist, and Second City has a variety of performances to see as well.

10.) Watch a Live Sports Game

If you’re willing to buy tickets, going to one of Chicago’s famous sports teams is always a great idea. The Cubs season recently ended, but tickets are available for upcoming Blackhawks, Bulls, and Bears games on various websites. Drunk adults, horrible-for-you vendor food, screaming at grown men, painting your face and cheering is really what American culture is all about after all.

Hopefully, these ideas will result in a fun week for you and an unforgettable American vacation for your exchange student.

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