Before You Arrive


New to NU: A Guide for New International Students

New to NU is a monthly newsletter for new International Wildcats that you will receive every month starting in May.  Information in New to NU will help you prepare to leave home and arrive in Evanston/Chicago. You will be added to the New to NU list when you request your immigration documents (I-20 or DS-2019)from the OISS portal.  Be sure to check your email.

CANVAS Classroom

The OISS will use CANVAS, Northwestern's Learning Management System, to deliver the majority of orientation. You will receive an invite to join the Orientation CANVAS page by August 31. 

Getting to Campus

Chicago-area airports

You may fly into either of the area's two major airports. For additional information about your arrival, visit their websites.

In either case, there are several options for getting from the airport to campus, depending on time and budget.

Transit options from O'Hare

Airport Express

Airport Express provides shared rides from the airport to campus. Cost is about $30.

  • Reserve your spot online AT LEAST 24 hours before your flight.
  • Northwestern students will receive a discount. You must be able to show your I-20/DS-2019 from Northwestern to receive the student discount. 
Pace Bus

Pace is a suburban public bus system. This takes approximately one hour to travel to campus. Cost is $1.75.

  • Take Pace Bus Route 250, which leaves the O'Hare "Kiss-n-Fly" station at long term parking lot E.
  • After arrival, take the Airport Transit System from your terminal to long-term parking. Then get on Pace Bus 250 (Dempster St), which drops off at the CTA Davis station in Evanston.
CTA Trains

It is possible to take CTA (blue line) from O'Hare International Airport and then make two transfers to the red line and purple line, which will bring you to Evanston. This takes approximately 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the time of day. Cost is $5.

  • The CTA blue line station is situated on the lower level of Terminal 2. You may walk to the station or use the Airport Transit System to get to the station.
  • Take the blue line train and switch to the red line at the Jackson Station downtown. From Jackson, take the red line in the direction of Howard, and then at Howard, switch to the purple line (direction of Linden) and the purple line will bring you to Evanston.

Taxi service is available to city of Chicago and suburban destinations. Fares vary based on traffic conditions, but an average fare from O'Hare International Airport to the Evanston campus is $50-$60. All taxis should have a working meter to calculate the fare based on time and mileage.

  • Taxi stands are situated at the lower level curb front outside of baggage claim at each terminal.
  • Use the taxi stands to ensure you have a licensed taxi driver. Do not accept rides from drivers outside the cab stand or on the departure level (second level) of the terminal roadways.
  • Uber and Lyft drivers are now authorized to pick up riders at O'Hare and Midway airports.  Please open your app and follow the directions to the designated pickup zones.  Both airports offer 30 minutes of free Wifi, so you can use this to order an Uber/Lyft ride!
Car Rental

Some new students and their parents choose to rent cars.  Please check individual car company websites for pricing, driver's license requirements and additional information.

Rental car companies at O'Hare

Rental car companies at Midway


For information on off campus housing, please see below.