COCAL VI Advice for Travelers to Chicago
- On visa application or at customs orally, people should say they
are coming to a conference at Roosevelt University in Chicago. (This
is better than saying COCAL and trying to explain). Customs and
immigration understand that academics cross international borders to come
to conferences at universities and colleges.
- People should say clearly that they are not going to work for money at the conference
or on the trip. This seems to be a recent concern that has been cited by INS and
- TESOL has a very good web page with advice on visa issues: http://www.tesol.org/advocacy/articles/visa.html
Maps of Conference Hotels and Sites, etc.
Traveling to the Conference Sites
Both Roosevelt University and Columbia College are within Chicago's "Loop" and are thus well-served
by mass transit. Whether you are flying into O'Hare or Midway, you can take the El to within 2-3
blocks of either campus. If you are taking the train, Union Station is just west
of the Chicago River within a mile or so of campus. Here are key resources
from the Chicago Transit Authority's
- information on parking, car rentals, planes, trains, buses, from the
Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau
- www.transitchicago.com - main
website, with information on fares ($1.75 without transfers)
CTA map of downtown Chicago showing train and bus lines and many points of
PDF map of the whole CTA train system.
All the information on fares. CTA does offer visitor passes ($5 for
one day, $9 for two, $12 for three).
- 1-888-YOUR-CTA - You can order passes, get free maps, advice on routes to
take, etc. Most bus drivers (and many riders) are also very helpful.
- Metra Rail Guide - Metra is
the main commuter rail system serving the suburbs, as well as some of the
The Orange line of the CTA Elevated train system terminates at Midway and
heads northeast into downtown Chicago. The closest stop to Roosevelt is
the Library stop (on Van Buren between State and Dearborn). The
Orange line goes "clockwise" around the Loop (i.e. west, north, east,
south). If you miss the Library stop, ride around the Loop (named for the
El tracks) to the Adams stop (look east from the stop and you'll see the Art
The Blue Line of the CTA Elevated train system terminates at O'Hare and heads
southeast into downtown Chicago. Its closest stop to the conference sites
is Jackson. This is a subway stop with many ways to get out.
Follow the signs to Jackson and head east toward State Street. When you
board at O'Hare, you can take either the Congress or Douglas lines of the blue
line (they split past downtown, so either one will get you downtown).
Which Airport Should I Go To?
Strictly in terms of distance, Midway is a bit closer and may take you only a
half-hour or so on the El, rather than typically 45 minutes or so from O'Hare.
Shuttle services are somewhere in the $20 range and depending on traffic may be
somewhat faster or somewhat slower than the train. If you're at all comfortable with mass
transit, go for that ($1.75).
Last revised on July 23, 2004
by the Webmaster.