McPherson College students experienced a larger view of the world and urban life at the beginning of January with a visit to the Chicago Center.
This is the fourth year that MC students have visited the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture through the college’s teacher education department. The center focuses on helping college students to experience diverse, urban communities with internships and other programs.
Dr. Shane Kirchner, assistant professor of education, said that this was the first year that students outside of the teacher education program also went on the January interterm trip to experience what the Chicago Center has to offer.
Dr. Kirchner said the trip is ideal for those learning to be teachers, as it fulfills a class requirement to observe in schools in a diverse environment. But he realized that many students could learn from the same broader perspective.
“Why are we restricting this to education kids when any college student could benefit from the opportunity?” Dr. Kirchner said.
Savana Cross, a senior from Wichita, Kan., was one of those students outside of the education department to go on the trip. She had the opportunity to work with a diversity marketing research firm during the trip. Cross said the “culture shock” was important, as she discovered Chicago on a deeper level.
“It was a great opportunity to see how other communities live,” she said.
Stops on the trip included seeing murals at a Mexican art museum in the Pilsen neighborhood, attending an open mic night at KLEO (Keep Loving Each Other) and observing classrooms in a number of ethnic Chicago communities.
Cross and several other students said that they were most impressed with the half day the center spent teaching them how to navigate the complexities of Chicago’s Transit Authority.
“They do an incredible job of explaining that,” Cross said. “It makes you more comfortable with the city.”