By: MARY BURGER – STAFF WRITER
Beginning this fall, Centre will have a new option for students who are interested in a study away option and want to experience life in Chicago.
Although both involve internships, the Chicago program will be very different from the current Centre study -away program in Washington, D.C. Each student will choose one of three categories that their time in Chicago will be based on. These tracks include urban studies, the arts, and business entrepreneurship.
Each student will have an advisor from professors on campus who spent time in Chicago looking up options for the tracks. The student will have an internship in their track, a seminar course focused on their track, and an individual research project that will most likely relate to their chosen track.
An internship in the D.C. program might be totally unrelated to the two courses you take. “This [Chicago program is] conceived of as organically connected. Your internship is going to be connected to your seminar, and that is going to be connected to your independent research project,” Dr. Milton Reigelman, J. Rice Cowan Professor of English, Director of International Programs, and Special Assistant to the President said.
Unlike the program in D.C., students do not know what their internship will be in until they have been in Chicago for a few days. They are guaranteed an internship and list their top requests, but the exact location is unknown.
Students live in housing in safe neighborhoods around Chicago. They are not all in the same location however, which means that students have more opportunities to get to know students from outside of Centre.
Chicago was chosen to host the new program for a number of reasons. First, the headquarters of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest are located there. Another reason is Chicago’s relatively central location; the city is only about a six hour drive from Danville. It is also easy to travel to by air with Southwest flights leaving daily from Louisville. Once in Chicago, students can easily travel around the city by using the “L,” Chicago’s subway system.
This new semester option is a great opportunity for any student interested in exploring Chicago while also gaining valuable real-life experience. Students are outside of their comfort zone but also in a safe environment.
Sophomore Emily Morrell is one of the pilot participants in this semester opportunity. “I’m excited about having the opportunity to study and serve in an urban area while exploring issues of social justice.
“I chose Chicago because the focus on social justice fits in well with what I want to do in the real world. It seems like a great opportunity to explore different kinds of social justice organizations in a new setting. And Chicago is just a really great city,” Morrell said.
“The internship really does offer something that the students can get in Danville, but to do it for a semester gives you a different kind of networking,” Leigh Cocanougher, Assistant Director of the Center of Global Citizenship, said.
“The students are getting the work experience and also broadening their horizons by stepping outside of their comfort zones. If you do an internship at Centre that is great; there is still networking and work experience. But if you go to Chicago, especially if you are from a small town like Danville, you are going to get a completely different experience,” Cocanougher said.
In an age where previous work experience is growing ever more important, having the opportunity to work in a metropolitan area is becoming more attractive and increasingly significant. There are still spots available for a Semester in Chicago in the Fall of 2014.
In adition to studying in Chicago, the Center for Global Citenzhip also provides Centre students with the opportunity to study in Washington D.C. for a semester, with a primary focus on internships as well.