Valparaiso has a few economically and environmentally friendly alternatives to driving around the Chicagoland area. The V-Line is available to travel around the city of Valparaiso, and the Transit Connect, ChicaGo Dash, and South Shore Train Line provide options to travel to Chicago.
In Valpo, along with the V-Line, many students find walking or riding a bike a viable option during most of the year. Many of the restaurants and stores, including the downtown area, are within walking distance from the campus. However, during the winter months, many students seek other forms of transportation.
Check the links below for the various public transportation services available:
- V-Line : A bus service operated by the city in collaboration with the University. Students ride free of charge and the V-Line runs routes to downtown shopping centers, Wal-Mart, and Target, as well as a weekend line that goes to the Dunes so that people can catch the train to and from Chicago.
- Transit Connect: Similar to the V-Line, this bus service provides daily service from Valpo to the South Shore train station.
- ChicaGo Dash: Weekday bus service from Valpo to Chicago.
- South Shore Train Line from Dune Park Station in Chesterton to downtown Chicago.
Purchasing Your Own Car
Purchasing your own car is a big investment and should only be done after careful consideration. If you are unsure about any part of the process, you should contact International Programs or ask a friend who has already purchased a car for advice. Remember that the state of Indiana will charge you a 7 percent sales tax, which can possibly add hundreds of dollars to your purchase. Also, once you have purchased the car, you must go to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to title and register the vehicle. Remember, Indiana law requires that you have your car registration, proof of insurance, and Driver’s License (or Learner’s Permit) with you at all times while driving. However, the title should always be left at home.
Insurance is a legal requirement in the state of Indiana before you operate a vehicle. There are several locations around the area where you may purchase insurance. You may also purchase insurance online. See the Helpful Links section below for some suggested insurance companies.
Learning to Drive
If you have never driven before or if you simply feel uncomfortable with the laws of driving in the United States, then it may be a good idea to attend a driving school before you begin driving. In our Helpful Links section below, we have listed a school that is located in Valparaiso.
Obtaining a Driver’s License
Unless you have an official International Driving Permit (IDP), you must hold a valid U.S. driver’s license in order to drive legally. To apply for a driver’s license, bring the following documents to the Indiana BMV:
- I-20 or DS-2019 (Current)
- Passport & Visa
- Current I-94 (The card stapled to your Passport)
- 2 Proofs of Indiana Residency
See this page on our website for more details on how to apply for a U.S. driver’s license.
Rules of the Road
While you are driving, be sure to observe laws, including the posted signs. In addition, when you hear a siren, be sure to pull over to the side of the road. If your vehicle is pulled over by a police officer, remain calm and keep your hands on the steering wheel in plain sight. If you are involved in a car accident, be sure to call 911 right away and make sure that you exchange insurance information with the other person. For more tips on driving, you can either visit the Indiana BMV website or go to a local branch to pick up a driver’s manual.