City Overview | Summer Institute | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Summer Institute

College of Liberal Arts

past institute students

City Overview

Pulliam Hall, SIU campus

Living at Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) is a large, comprehensive state-supported university which offers a range of programs which lead to degrees ranging from the two-year associates degree in a number of technical fields through the doctoral level in 27 different disciplines. The University also offers professional degrees in law and medicine. Total university undergraduate and graduate student enrollment at this time is about 18,000. The Department of Political Science, the co-host for this Institute, offers the BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees and a professional Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA).

Illinois, the fifth largest American state, located in the center of the country, is often referred to as the microcosm of America as its population traits most closely resemble the national totals. (see story) Carbondale is the regional center for the southern-most portion of Illinois and has a population of about 40,000 within the city limits and immediately contiguous area. The shape of Southern Illinois brings it into close proximity to five states. This area is often referred to as the "Heartland." To see where it fits into the country, click on this USA map.

St. Louis, Missouri, the nearest large city, is 160 km away. Chicago, the third largest city in the US is about 550 km distant. Southern Illinois is bordered by the Mississippi River on the west and the Ohio River on the south and east. Much of the land south of Carbondale is unglaciated hill country covered with forests and lakes. Most of the area north of the city is glaciated prairie primarily used for agriculture and mining.

Additional information on the University and region is available through the University’s website, the City of Carbondale website, and the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau.

Where We Are - Carbondale, IL


The U.S. State Department will arrange your flights to and from the United States.  We will schedule the one-way flight from St. Louis to Washington, D.C. on July 19th.

We will meet the 2016 Institute participants at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday, June 18th. We will return to the St. Louis airport on Tuesday, July 19th for the flight to Washington, D.C. and the final portion of the program. Your departure home will be from Washington, D.C. on Saturday, July 23rd.

Transportation for all scheduled program activities will be arranged by staff and paid directly by the Institute. All campus buildings are within walking distance of your residence hall. Several vans will be available during the summer for both scheduled program events and informal activities during free time, and staff will be available evenings and weekends to drive small groups. You also will receive a pass for the Saluki Express bus system for individual transportation in Carbondale. Cab service is available in Carbondale, but at your expense.

Health Care

The U.S. is unique among industrialized countries in that it is just now moving towards a comprehensive national health care system. Most American health care is paid for by private insurance and is expensive. The Department of State will enroll you in a basic health care plan for the period of June 18 - July 23, 2016 which will cover medical problems that develop during your time in the U.S. This plan does not cover treatment for pre-existing conditions, although it will cover the costs of stabilizing the patient if a pre-existing situation causes an emergency. You will receive a health care card, and a brochure describing your insurance coverage during the initial orientation session. If you need medical care at any time, please notify a member of the Institute staff.


Summer temperatures in middle America vary from mild to hot-- expect a low of 15 °C and a high of 35 °C. The summer months usually are humid with occasional rainstorms. Virtually all buildings and vehicles are air conditioned.

While you are in the United States you will be visiting several  different cities. To check the temperature in these cities go to The Weather Channel and type Carbondale-62901, Springfield-62703, Chicago-60611, and Washington D.C.-20036 where it says “local weather” to find out the weather forecast in these cities, and to find the average temperature of the month when you will be visiting.

Research Facilities

The primary purpose of this Institute is not personal research, but we have left some time each week free for you to pursue your academic interests. SIU’s Morris Library is one of the top one hundred major research libraries in the United States, and has over 2.5 million volumes and 13,000 periodical subscriptions. You will receive a card for full library privileges during the initial orientation session. You also will receive a computer access number to use the University’s system which includes e-mail and Internet access. Orientation sessions for the library and computer system will be held the first week of the program.

Recreational Facilities

SIU has one of the finest student recreation centers in the country with many physical fitness and recreational activities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Bring appropriate clothing for recreational activities you enjoy. You will receive a pass for access to the Rec Center for your stay on campus.