Life in PDX

Congratulations for choosing to study English at the IELP in Portland. If you really want to improve your English, learn about American culture, and have fun at the same time, get out and enjoy your new home. Watch the video below from Travel Oregon, or read on for more information about all of the wonderful things that Portland has to offer.



People standing outside of Salt and Straw ice cream shop

Summer (June - August): High temperatures are usually between 75°F and 80°F (24°C to 27°C). Summer clothing attire is for hot weather, and a light jacket can be worn for cooler evenings. 

Fall on the PSU campus

Fall (September - November): High temperature are usually between 53°F and 63°F (12°C to 17°C). In October, days tend to be mild and partly sunny. As the weather starts to cool, rain becomes more common. Fall clothing is usually layers, and a rain jacket is necessary.

Portland in winter

Winter (December - February): High temperatures are usually between 45°F and 51°F (7°C to 11°C). By December, temperatures may drop to freezing. We may get snow for a few days. It is necessary to have warm clothing and a winter coat. A heavy winter coat in the USA will cost approximately $100 to $200, depending on the quality. But remember, your suitcase space is valuable.

Spring at the Japanese Garden in PDX

Spring (March - May): High temperatures are usually between 56°F to 67°F (13°C to 20°C). Spring days often start rainy and end up with blue skies and sun towards mid-day. Many flowers bloom in early March. Spring clothing is usually layers, and a light rain jacket.

Restaurants and Nightlife

Portland has more restaurants per person than any other city in the world. There are many fine restaurants serving local specialties, as well as a variety of restaurants serving ethnic cuisines from around the world. Portland is also famous for its food carts, which serve gourmet food at prices students can afford.


Tax Free Shopping

You will find a wide variety of places to shop, including fine department stores, large malls, outlet stores, big box stores, small specialty stores, and even outdoor markets. Shopping areas include downtown, the Pearl District, Lloyd Center, and many distinct neighborhoods. Best of all, there is no sales tax!

Spectator Sports

The Portland State Vikings compete in a variety of competitive sports including football, basketball, tennis, cross-country, and more. PSU students can attend most Viking sporting events for free! Portland is also home to big league professional sports including the Trail Blazers basketball team, Timbers soccer team, and Winter Hawks hockey team.


Portland is famous for its public transportation system, which includes Tri-Met buses, MAX trains, and the Portland Streetcar. Tickets cost $2.50 and allow you to ride and transfer for up to two hours. Over 40% of IELP/PSU students use public transportation to get to and from campus. You can buy a discounted monthly pass from PSU's Transportation Services. Walking and bicycling are also great ways to get around. Owning a car is expensive, and parking is hard to find on campus.

Smartphones and Internet

Portland is a well wired city. Students either buy smart phones here in the US, or bring their phones from their home coutnry and get a new SIM card from a U.S. provider. PSU offers free Wi-Fi to students on campus, as do many cafes in Portland. Typical providers of smart phone, internet, and/or cable TV services include the following companies: AT&TCentury LinkCricketDIRECTVDish NetworkSprintT-MobileXfinity, and Verizon.

Banks and Financial Institutions

Portland has a number of financial institutions to choose from. In addition to conventional banks, there are also credit unions, which are member-owned financial cooperatives. Both offer savings, checking, and credit card services. The US government guarantees the safety of deposits made in both banks and credit unions up to $250,000. You can open an account with two forms of photo identification, such as your passport and your PSU student ID. Financial institutions with branches located near the PSU campus include the following: Bank of the WestKey BankUmpqua BankUnitus Community Credit UnionUS Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank.