M-o-v-i-n-g. Perhaps the most dreaded six letters in the English language, this torturous activity can be expensive, exhausting, and… enjoyable? That’s right!

Whether you’re loading your car with all of your possessions and driving down the road, flying in from halfway across the world and starting new, or somewhere in between, here are five tips to make your move to Chicago an enjoyable experience:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions… LOTS of questions

Finding the right home or apartment is not typically a one-stop-shop kind of experience. Unless, of course, it is. In which case, cheers to you because the rest of us humans are very jealous. There are long nights spent browsing all of the rental websites, messages sent to potential new roommates, various Craigslist pages explored; it’s a process and you should embrace the process. Ask the rental company about their pet policy, ask the potential new roommate about their cleaning habits, ask the landlord if the building’s parking lot is well-lit. Having more information is always better than having less. You want to make sure you find a place that fits your budget AND feels like home.

Learn about Chicago’s neighborhoods

You’ll hear the tag line plenty of times: “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods.” 77 to be exact. One of the things that makes this city so great is the pride that each individual community has in making up the whole that is America’s third largest city. The University of Chicago is located in historic Hyde Park and a majority of Harris students live near the university. However, as this helpful UChicago GRAD webpage shows, that doesn’t mean that ALL grad students live in Hyde Park.

Plenty of grad students live right in the heart of downtown, in the neighborhood called “The Loop”. Others choose to live between The Loop and Hyde Park in South Loop, and some choose to live in the neighborhoods on the north side of town such as Lincoln Park and Lakeview. The world, or rather, the City of Chicago, is your oyster.

Rely on current UChicago students

This should be simple enough: they’ve done it before – some of them as recently as 10 months ago! The Harris community is welcoming, and if you’re fortunate enough to interact with students and staff, you’ll learn quickly that they truly want the best experience for everyone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to current students on Facebook with questions about the various rental companies in Hyde Park or the transportation available for students living in other parts of the city. Everybody has a different story to tell and you should take advantage of having access to those stories.

See it for yourself!

One of the most crucial things I did before moving to Chicago was take three days to visit in order to schedule apartment tours and get a feel for Hyde Park. For me, seeing the physical units I could be moving into was so much better than looking at pictures online. I was able to meet the building staff at a variety of locations and got a sense for which pockets of Hyde Park were best suited for my needs. I understand that this is logistically not feasible for many students, but there are options even for those who can’t make the trip! Plenty of landlords and individual renters will offer to give Skype tours of specific apartments. The more time you spend in your neighborhood and/or specific apartment before moving, the more comfortable you will be when the day finally arrives for you to make the trip and pick up your keys!


The final and most important tip is to breathe. Whether you are making this move on two days’ notice or have been planning out every detail for months, it’s important to take a step back and remember that everything will work out. Take a break from scrolling Zillow and walk outside for 5 minutes. Your body and your brain will thank you for it, I promise. The act of moving is a symbolic transformation in this journey, more so than just about any other step in the process. Take everything one step at a time: ask questions, learn about your new home, rely on people who have been in your shoes, make time to visit, and breathe.

Your new home awaits – safe travels!