Chicagoland Quarterly Event!

Today’s post is brought to you by Audra Murray, one of our residential staff members in Chicago, IL.


On Saturday, September 26, approximately 40 gphomestay students in the Chicagoland area woke up early, donned matching t-shirts, and loaded into cars and trains for a day trip to downtown Chicago. Lucky for them, the weather was a beautiful, crisp fall day, perfect for what was in store ahead. After gathering four school programs together, the day was ready to begin. For many students, this would be added to their list of college visits, while for many more, this was their first. No matter what their age, or number of years in their program, students were exposed to their ultimate goal – college in America.


Students started with a 2 hour guided tour of Columbia College in downtown Chicago. The students were fortunate to choose the tour that best suited their career goals. Columbia College offered the opportunity for students to follow music performance, production, acting and theater, or radio, digital and interior design. These areas of study were particularly interesting to students, because they were able to appeal to many of their creative and artistic sides. During the music tour, a Montini High School student was able to discuss his many instrumental interests, such as piano, guitar, and electronic music, and learned that he could practice all three while studying music production!


Students and staff took a short stroll around the block to end at the University Center, a student facility that accommodates the student dining hall; accessible to students who attend a number of colleges in the downtown Chicago area. There was no doubt that the students were quite hungry after their tours and were very excited about the expansive options of unlimited lunch and desserts! Our students were welcomed to the dining area and mingled right in with the college students. Eating at the dining hall was an excellent peek into college life.


Following lunch, students gathered into two groups that mixed their school programs, allowing the chance to meet new international students. The groups walked one mile through the Chicago parks in the bright mid-day sun, and ended at the Shedd Aquarium.


After a quick group photo, students gathered inside. For the next hour, students broke off with old and new friends to take in the marine life from around the world, including fresh and salt water creatures. The students were eager to see large marine life, including beluga whales, sharks, and penguins!

The aquarium visit ended with a 4-D show titled “Sea Monsters”, featuring prehistoric sea creatures. Students were shaken in their seats, sprayed with water, and engulfed in multi-dimensional visions. It was quite a ride back through time!

At the end of the day, the students were happy and tired. They enjoyed a successful field trip through Chicago, learned about college and study options, and met with animals that they may have never encountered before. Needless to say, they were worn out! A sleeping teenager on a train only screams success to the hardworking and dedicated staff of gphomestay!