International Education in Chicago
America as a whole, but Chicago in particular, has expats at its heart. People from all corners of the world have made the Windy City their home for centuries past. You’ll find a diverse range of cultures, ways of life, cuisines and so much more in this vibrant metropolis. And with such a long history of immigration, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of international schools here too.
Chicago doesn’t have the same choice of international schools as some other US cities such as New York or San Francisco. But since it also doesn’t have the expat magnets of Silicon Valley or the UN headquarters, supply and demand for school places is a little more balanced. Competition is still high and waiting lists are still common however, so the usual advice to apply early is still applicable.
If you were hoping international school fees may be more budget-friendly in Chicago than in other US cities, get ready to be disappointed. Yearly fees here are slightly cheaper than in San Francisco. This price gap widens when compared with New York. But the United States is still one of the most expensive countries in the world for international schooling so overall, there aren’t many savings to be made.
Chicago’s international schools can be found in various districts, stretching northwards from South Loop. These include Lincoln Park, Uptown, and Evanston, which is just outside the city in Cook County. All are affluent areas with lots of residential neigbourhoods. Some schools offer a school bus, but if you don’t want to worry about long commutes then consider accommodation options near one these districts.
Several international schools in Chicago follow a Christian or Catholic ethos. It’s relatively common for private schools in the US to do this. ‘Following a Christian ethos’ could mean saying a prayer to start the day, teaching religion classes or having religious ceremonies. However, the school is usually willing to discuss alternatives if you don’t want your child to participate in this aspect of school life.
The International Baccalaureate is the most common curriculum in Chicago’s international schools. You can also find a variety of European curricula such as French, German and British. The language of instruction will match the curriculum (the IB is taught through English), but additional language classes are commonly offered. These additional languages will usually include a selection of European languages and possibly Mandarin.
Since the US is a predominantly English-speaking country, native English-speaking teachers are common in every international school in Chicago. It’s likely that the majority of the student body will also have English as a first language, too.
International schools in Chicago come with all of the impressive features you’d expect from international schools elsewhere. Technology is used extensively in the classroom, extracurricular programs are provided, class sizes are small and teaching standards are excellent.
Below, we have compiled our top 5 international schools in Chicago. However, there are another 5 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Chicago based on your requirements.