International Education and Global Engagement

Life in Chico

Chico downtown plaza

The City of Chico was founded in 1860 by General John Bidwell, and has a current population of approximately 100,000. Chico is located in the rich agricultural Northern Sacramento Valley approximately 90 miles (144 km) north of Sacramento, the state capitol, and 177 miles (285 km) northeast of San Francisco.  Chico values quality infrastructure and services, and maintains a special sense of community and small-town living as it has developed into a vibrant regional center for business, education, recreation and cultural activities.


Be prepared to move around a lot. During the four weeks in Chico you will be staying in off-campus housing suites with three private bedrooms called University Village. You will share (with two other SUSI scholars of the same gender) the bathrooms, full kitchen, and living space. The housing facility also has swimming pools, an exercise room, a common lounge area with a television, and laundry facilities on site to wash your own clothes. 

While on study tours you may be sharing a hotel room with one other person of the same gender from our group.  All hotels will provide free of charge: shampoo, conditioner, sheets, towels, soap, lotion, hair dryers, irons, and ironing boards.  All hotels have a no-smoking policy.


You may purchase and cook your own food or eat at restaurants. There is a supermarket and a variety of restaurants within a 5-minute walk from your housing. While on study tours you will be mainly eating at restaurants.  You will be provided with funds to purchase meals throughout the program, except when group meals are scheduled by program administration. View the downtown Chico restaurant guide.

Computers and Communications

We strongly recommend that you bring a laptop computer with you or plan to purchase one early in the program. We also recommend that you installSkype or another program with voice/video capabilities (Google, Yahoo, WhatsApp, Viber, etc.) if at all possible on your home computer and/or phone before departure.  These platforms will allow you to chat or speak with your friends and family for free when you are both logged onto your computers and/or phones in Wi-Fi enabled areas. The lodging in Chico has public computers (without video); and you will have free wireless internet access in all rooms for your personal computer and/or phone. When on campus, you may use university computer labs for checking email and doing research.

Please note, each of you will be provided with a simple flip phone upon arrival.  You will be able to use it to receive international calls but you will not be able to make international calls.  The main use for the phone will be to receive messages from within the group and program staff regarding meeting times.  This phone has no internet access.

The U.S. runs on an 110v electricity system (much of the rest of the world operates at 220v).  Most laptop power cords and mobile phone chargers have converters built into them.  You will, however, need an adapter to connect your mobile phone chargers and laptops to U.S. electrical sockets.  We highly recommend that you purchase an adapter prior to traveling to the U.S.  They should be small, inexpensive and easy to get in your country.  Items like flat irons and curling irons for your hair will need to be dual voltage or will require a converter to be used in the U.S.  We do not recommend bringing them if you can live without them for the five weeks. Alternatively, one may be purchased here relatively inexpensively if needed. Regular clothing irons and hair dryers will be provided in all of your hotels.


During your stay in Chico, you will be walking a lot. Come prepared with comfortable shoes and clothing. Your housing units will be located about a mile from the CSU, Chico campus and about 1.2 miles from the downtown area. There will be supermarkets and restaurants located about a 5-minute walk from your housing.

While in Chico, you will have the opportunity to walk to campus or take the public bus. The public bus is free with your university ID card, and route #3 will be your most efficient route to and from campus and downtown. The program staff will accompany you in the first days to and from campus by foot and via bus to make sure you are comfortable with the route.