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Posted July 9, 2015 by

Ann Szeliga ('17) is a 2015 CUE Urban Leadership Fellow. Her Urban Leadership Studio consists of an early summer experience with Youth Hostel Ministries in Europe, staffing the Urban Track of Wheaton Passage, and leading her peers in a vocational discernment group during her fall semester in Wheaton in Chicago. This post is an adaptation of Ann's original post,  " Youth Hostel Ministry: My Passion for Global Cities," published on Wheaton College's #MyWheaton student blog. 

Many cities around Europe, and the world, are craving hope and truth in their lives. My journey, I've learned, begins with studying the development and problems of cities. I hope this equips me with a deeper understanding of such cities, transforming my discouragement into deliverance of His love.

In Barcelona, our team saw an example of a lack of respect for human dignity. My team and I were in a restaurant in Barcelona when I witnessed deep, cruel racism involving Spaniard patrons and some Asian employees. After our team chatted with the employees, we learned they chose not to kick the unruly men out because then they would not earn enough money for the day. This is what they deal with on a daily basis in order to make a living in a place they should be able to call home, a place that should be a comfortable work environment. These issues are magnified in cities as a result of the racial diversity cities typically retain.

As a result of my experiences in these European cities, my passion for urban environments has grown. It is clear that this is an area of study I wish to pursue further during my time at Wheaton. As I prepare to end my time with YHM and begin my program with  Wheaton in Chicago this fall, God gives me both personal and global perspectives: He continues to ignite my fascination and passion for urban studies, while unveiling to me the united and broken urban communities throughout the world.