Evanston is pretty far away from Athens, and no, this doesn’t have anything to do with Zeus or Aristotle… But get your ears ready for a barrage of Greek letters, because unless you come from a Greek speaking country or you are a very avid mathematician, you are about to spend time listening to way more than the usual alphas betas and gammas. During Wildcat Welcome Week, the three Greek letters combinations might even make you dizzy if you try to remember who’s who.
As you probably know, fraternities and sororities are a very prominent aspect of student life at many colleges and universities in the United States: It’s called Greek Life, and Northwestern is a place where the Greeks are very present. At NU, four Greek Councils house a total of 41 chapters of social and multicultural fraternities and sororities, involving around 30-35% of the student body in the Greek System. You will definitely hear a lot about the Greeks as soon as you get to campus. Usually, the picture that pops up in our heads when we think about these organizations is the one painted by Hollywood movies and TV shows, but there’s a lot more to Greek life than that. Even though most people join Greek associations for the parties and the social aspect linked to it, there is a strong focus on philanthropy, academics, athletics, leadership and networking attached to joining a fraternity or a sorority.
For guys, the process of joining is called rush, and for girls it’s recruitment. Because of how rush and recruitment are scheduled at NU, no freshman can join a house until winter quarter, so it’s really easy to get to know the people in different organizations, and get a feel of the essence of each one of them before you make a decision to join or not. Personally, I never thought I would join a fraternity, but at ISO, my IPAs told me about their stories with Greek Life and I got interested in the idea. During fall quarter I attended several dinners, parties and other various events hosted by different fraternities, and in the winter ended up rushing the house I liked the most with another two international freshmen, joining a handful of older international brothers.
The whole rush/recruitment process will open a world of people to meet. Even if you decide not to join any house in the end, you will bond with tons of people. During the fall, fraternities and sororities will organize events to meet possible new members, and you should be there if you are even slightly interested in joining. The culture in each house is very different, but there is a very “American“ atmosphere surrounding the whole system, especially in the social organizations (IFC and PHA), which does scare away some internationals.
During ISO we’ll talk more about this and you will be able to ask different IPAs for their opinions. And no, don’t worry about the hazing stories, NU is pretty strict with that. For now, just try to take the images from “Old School“ and “Animal House“ out of your head. I would recommend you to keep an open mind and at least try it out during the first weeks of fall quarter.
Avy Faingezicht (Costa Rica)
Evanston Map made specially for 2012 ISO
Download, Open on your phone, Shop and Dine !
I bet you guys really want to know what the food at Northwestern is like, so today I am going to talk about some general characteristics of each dining hall based on my experiences and give you some small tips to improve your dining experience.
Note: All of the evaluations are based on my personal taste and are written just to give a basic idea of the dining halls.
Here is a map of all the dining halls and convenience stores:
My favorite dish: I don’t go there that often…
The dining hall in Elder is quite small because most of the students who have meals there are from Elder. It helps to foster a strong community for the students there. If you live in Elder, you will have many opportunities to get to know other people who live there too. The food there is ok. So if you live in Elder (or you just don’t want to waste time waiting for food in Sargent) Elder is a good option.
My favorite dish: turkey wrap, grilled chicken breast
Personally, I think that the food in Sargent is better than what most people have said. Sargent has some variation in entrées, and the grill bar is pretty good.
However, sometimes I’d avoid going to Sargent because it gets too crowed. Because it is very close to the Tech building, it is the busiest dining hall on campus, and therefore the entire dining hall is always packed with engineering students during lunch time. Sometimes the line for food can snake all the way to the entrance. So if you are going to have lunch at Sargent, you’d better get there before other students finish their classes in Tech.
C: Foster Walker (East)
My favorite dish: Chicken stir fry with general tso sauce, hot cookie
Comments: I often go to Plex east because they serve stir fry there almost every day. But other than that, they don’t really have anything special. But since I’m not a big fan of American food, stir fry is always a good way to get those Asian flavors.
Stir fry bar in Plex East
Foster Walker (West)
My favorite dish: Cheeseburger
If you are hungry during the night, you may consider going to the Plex west because it’s the only dining hall which serves late night meal. The food is regular, but everything tastes better when you’re desperately looking for food after you get out of your lab at 10PM!
My favorite dish: Chicken strips
In this dining hall, you will get a buzzer, and once your food is ready, it buzzed, and you can pick your food up the kitchen area. I think this is the fanciest dining hall on campus and I used to love it very much. But as their menu barely changes, you will probably get tired as the year goes on.
My favorite dish: Pasta, BBQ pork rib
Allison should be in the top 2 dining halls at Northwestern. Students love to go there because of the food and its comfortable atmosphere. The food served at the exhibition court is always changing. However, keep in mind that Allison is closed on the weekends.
F: 1835 Hinman
My favorite dish: Sunday morning omelet, hot cookie, ice-cream
I like Hinman very much not only because it’s the closest dining hall to my dorm, but also because it has the best omelet for brunch. Most of the time, Hinman has great food! The salad bar is good (they have blue cheese dressing, which is my favorite) and the dessert bar is fantastic. I like the hot cookie bar on Sunday night there.
Although I’ve given my ratings for each dining hall, you may or may not have the same taste as me, so you should definitely try out all the dining halls once you’re here!
About equivalency meals:
You don’t have to spend all of your meals in the dining halls! When you choose your meal plan, you will find a special kind of meal called equivalency meal. These meals can be used as regular meals or as money used in C-stores. Take the weekly-14 plan as an example: you will have 11 regular meals and 3 equivalency meals. Normally I’d use the equivalency meals to buy coffee or sushi from C-stores (Tech Express, Lisa’s Café…etc. ) when I don’t have time to go to dining hall or I just don’t want to have meal there. The equivalency meals give you a lot of flexibility on your meal choices, so make sure you will use them up every week (i.e. use up all the meals on chips on a Saturday afternoon, lol).
I hope you find this article useful, and have a great dining experience here!
Greetings and Welcome from The International Office at Northwestern University!
I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some important information regarding your rapidly approaching travel to the Chicago/Evanston area AND your arrival and check-in at ISO2012 (International Student Orientation).
A few points to remember as you are prepping to fly…
Once you arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, you have several options for getting from the airport to campus—these options are outlined on the International Office website here. If you have questions, or want other suggestions, get in touch with your IPA.
ISO Check-In will begin at 10am on Saturday, September 15, at Foster-Walker Housing Complex. The easiest way to access check-in is via Foster Street.
ISO Check-In and Move-In procedures will be available at Foster-Walker from 10am-6pm on Saturday. If you plan to arrive on-campus during this time, you must come to Foster-Walker to check-in and get your keys, even if you are not going to be living at Foster-Walker! We will be available with vans to help anyone living on north campus get their stuff from Foster-Walker up north, don’t worry!
NOTE: Anyone arriving on-campus after 6pm, you should plan to arrive at your residence hall directly. Do not go to Foster-Walker Complex after 6pm—your room key will not be there, but will be available at your actual residence hall (permanent academic room). Make sure that you know the street address of the residence hall where you’ve been assigned so you know where to go. LATE ARRIVALS: If you arrive very late at night, you must go to your assigned residence hall and use the call box to notify residence hall staff that you have arrived and they will let you in and show you to your room.
A word about MOVE-IN PERMITS & SHIPPING to campus…
MOVE-IN PERMITS - As international students arriving early and moving into your permanent rooms on-campus, you will not need to request a “move-in permit.” However, in order to indicate as much, you will need to log into the move-in permit system and indicate that you do not require a move-in permit. If you do not do this, you will continue to receive emails about requesting a move-in permit, which you do not require as an international student attending ISO2012.
SHIPPING – Shipping items to campus is a good way to lighten your load. However, keep in mind that you will not have access to the shipping centers to retrieve your shipped items until Tuesday, September 18. Please plan to bring the things you will need over the weekend with you as you travel to Evanston. There are no exceptions—items shipped will not be accessible until the above listed date.
We are all VERY excited for ISO and on behalf of the entire staff at the International Office (IO) and IPA’s, we look forward to seeing you soon! Please travel safe and smart and get in touch if you have questions—contact your IPA’s or the International Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The International Office
PS. A schedule will be available VERY soon… :)
Hey international Wildcats!!
In May, the spring quarter at Northwestern is quickly winding down. We are preoccupied with the final round of midterms and especially finals week. But the one idea at the back of my head right now is that in three weeks, I will kicking back at home to relax and enjoy summer. You guys should be (I expect you to be) so pumped to get to Northwestern come September; I remember that I could not be more ready to leave home. But as the quarters come to a close and you can feel the break approaching, I can assure you that you will start to miss home. For some of you, this feeling might strike the second you step into your dorm room, for others, you might never feel like you want to leave NU. Nonetheless, here are a couple tips to never feel too far away from home.
As you are packing your bags before coming to NU, make sure to bring one of your favorite local snacks. Whenever I went back home to France, I made sure to bring a box of chocolates back and it is a great help when I feel like I’m missing my local food. Make sure though that whatever you bring does not perish quickly so that you can have it with you for most of the quarter and I assure you that it is great to always have a taste of home close by. Otherwise, Chicago has all sorts of cultural neighborhoods where you can easily find delicious food. Call your friends, ask around! It’s really easy to gather a group of people to go down to Chicago for the day.
Once at Northwestern, one of the best ways to lose that feeling of homesickness it to get involved. Participate the most you can (or feel comfortable with)!! Go to a football game! Join clubs! Go down to Chicago some more!! And most importantly, meet new people!! You really want to make yourself a home away from home at NU and mingling with people who share similar interests as you is the best way to do so. Make sure to come to ISO this fall, you’ll get to meet incredible people like yourself, and IPAs who were just like you! You’ll find it really helpful to have a group of friends you can relate to. Also, hearing people who speak the same first language as you is a huge relief, believe me.
I you feel really homesick and you just can’t seem to shake it off, make sure to come talk to your IPAs. We are here for especially for you so if you are feeling down don’t hesitate a second before asking us a question about our experience or how we did to overcome this problem. Also, do talk to many of us, we each had a different experience and you may hear an opinion or piece of advice that suits you better. Rest assured that we will go out of our ways to help.
Stay in touch with home!! Set up a skype date with your family and friends from back home regularly. This really helps and is really comforting. If you feel kinda down, or just want to share how awesome your NU experience is, share it!
Basically, there is only so much you can do to handle homesickness and it depends on you and your travelling experience. Since college is not the same thing as an exchange week or two, it is really important to let us or your family know if you are not feeling right. We, IPAs will do the most we can to help you feel at home.
So, if you’ve fallen asleep and woken up for the ending, this is the one thing you should remember: SPEAK UP!
Tell us if you don’t feel well, tell us if you feel great. No matter what we will be there for you all (and this is true no matter how corny it sounds).
See you all at ISO (yes, be there) and go ‘Cats!!
One of your many joyous IPAs
Elliot Yücesan (France)
Hello Class of 2016! Are you all ready for the exciting year at Northwestern? I bet some of you are starting to get a little worried or nervous. Here is a suggested packing list to help you have a better idea about settling in!
A. Clothes and Room
· Warm Clothes ★★★★★
Chicago’s weather gets very harsh in the winter, and it often gets cold and windy till late April. So it’s a great idea to have sweatshirts and jackets all year around. Bring warm clothes if you can, but if not don’t worry you can always buy them here!
In Downtown Evanston, there is The North Face, Dan’s Outdoor store, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Gap… so on.
You can travel to the Old Orchard, Chicago or shop online!
(Check out the very helpful post about Chicago Weather http://nuiso.tumblr.com/post/7373301044/dealing-with-chicago-weather )
· Rain boots ★★★
Unfortunately, it snows and rains a lot in Evanston. So, a pair of rain boots is a good investment to make. There is no need to buy a specific brand, but sturdier the better! For guys, a pair of waterproof sneakers is a good option.
· Pillows and Bed sheets ★★★★★
You will first stay in your temporary dorm during ISO, but you will still need blankets and pillows. There are several options: 1. You may bring blankets, sheets and pillows from home. 2. You can buy them in Evanston during ISO 3. You can order them online through Macy’s, Amazon, Bed, Beth and Beyond…
· Desk Lamps ★★
Some dorms do not have overhead lighting. In that case, a desk lamp is strongly recommended. Make sure to check what furniture your dorm offers.
· Flip-Flops ★★★★★
You will need flip-flops in dorms for comfortable use and especially when you take shower. A MUST-HAVE item!
· Fridge ★★★
It is very convenient to store drinks, snacks and leftover food. Contact your roommate beforehand to decide who is going to buy the fridge. Two fridges in a room may take up too much space. Keep in mind that it cannot be bigger than 3 cubic feets.
· Hair Dryer ★★★
There are no hair dryers in dorm rooms!
· Printer ★★
Super helpful if you have to quickly print out essays. However, students can always use printers in the library. (5 cents per single sided page and 8 cents per double sided page) Also, journalism majors can use the printers in the journalism building for free.
· Laptop ★★★★★
Check what suggested computer configuration is for your own major!
General requirement: http://www.it.northwestern.edu/hardware/pc/pc-laptop.html
Medill School of Journalism: www.medill.northwestern.edu
· Extension Cord ★★★★
Another MUST-HAVE Item !
· Power Plug ★★★★
If you are bringing electronic equipment from your home country, make sure you bring the right converter and power plug. United States use 120v standard. Check how it is different from your country !
· USB Flash Driver ★★★★★
· Mini-Vacuum ★★★
· Mini-TV ★★★
· Food ★★★★★
Few boxes of instant noodles or snacks will help you get over homesickness !
· Medicine and Vitamin ★★★
When you are ill or have any medical conditions, you can always visit North Western Health Service. http://www.nuhs.northwestern.edu/evanston/appointments.aspx
However, if you have personal medications or vitamins bring them with you!
Na Hee Kang
Freshman year doesn’t have to mean Freshman 15, the infamous 15 pounds that every freshman will allegedly gain by the end of freshman year. Things to keep in mind to avoid them:
1) Dining hall food can be healthy! Yes, the dining hall is essentially buffet style food, which could tempt even the most cautious of us, but there are healthy options in the dining halls. It’s easy to get carried away with 6 course meals when the eating options are endless. What I tried to do was grab a salad for at least one meal every day. In my opinion, the Hinman dining hall had the best salad bar. There are at least 20 ingredients you could mix and match with, and there’s also fruit, which could be a healthy alternative for dessert. I would add a little honey on my watermelon.
2) Go to the gym.
It’s not so bad going to gym at Northwestern because there are three of them that are easily accessibly by walking from the dorms. My floor would make it into a social thing. Get a gym group going. We would sync our schedules up to go at the same time. It definitely motivated me to go more often than I would have if I had to go alone. Even if it’s for 20 minutes, some gym is better than no gym!
3) Don’t sink into the winter blues.
(Why people don’t ride their bicycles in Chicago winter)
In the winter, it’s easy to forget that there actually is a body that exists under all those layers. It’s prime time to pack on those extra couple pounds. It’s also easy choosing the shuttles on campus over walking. Awareness can help prevent the weight gain. We’re not squirrels, no need to fatten up to hibernate!
4) Find healthy snacks.
(Whole Foods in Evanston)
A problem I sometimes found my having is resorting to chips and dip for the majority of my snack times. After realizing how this was affecting my body, I started bringing home a fruit from the dining halls (you’re allowed to leave with one item). Apples turn out to be very fitting. Also, I would every now and then go to the grocery store and get some nuts and fruit that are a much better alternative than the junk food I would stash in my room.
Train System (CTA) in Chicago
Aka the “L” or “el” (because it’s elevated!)
Link to the el map: http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/maps/ctatrainmap.png
First thing you should know – unlike anywhere else in the world, the train system is not very efficient, and driving would be faster. With that said, however, the train is extremely convenient in taking you to downtown Chicago, all-you-can-eat sushi places, Chinatown and more! (especially when you don’t have a car..)
Where is Northwestern: We’re on the purple line, really close to the Davis, Foster, and Noyes station.
Going to Downtown Chicago: take the purple line, then take the red line to Howard to “the Loop”, which is Downtown Chicago, where most of the shops are. It will take about an hour. During rush hours in the week days, there’s Purple Express that brings you directly from Evanston to Downtown and skips many stops, which is a lot faster.
Other places you could go:
1. Cermak-Chinatown – lots of good Chinese restaurants. Take the purple line then the red line, around 1.5 hours.
2. Argyle – the Vietnamese town with Pho, Chinese pastries, Asian grocery stores. Take the purple line then the red line, around half an hour.
3. Belmont – has all-you-can-eat-sushi restaurants (e.g. House of Sushi) for ~$25.
4. Diversey – has a Korean taco place called Del Seoul.