#MyWheaton Blog

Posted January 27, 2016 by
Tags: Internship My Wheaton Global and Experiential Learning

Wheaton In Chicago: "Who Is My Neighbor?" 

"I want to be a sponge,” I told myself before beginning my fall semester with Wheaton in Chicago. I decided the best posture to adopt when living in Chicago would be one of humility. Learning and growing as a person were my main goals, but little did I know how much living in the city would transform me.

WIC

My greatest impetus for applying to Wheaton College was Wheaton in Chicago, the semester-long program that allows a small group of Wheaton students to live, work, and learn together in the city. It provides students an opportunity to learn from community organizations all across Chicago. After my freshman year, it seemed foolish to live so close to a leading global city without ever truly accessing its resources.

And ‘access’ I did.

I said I wanted to be a sponge, but in reality I did less ‘soaking up’ than I did drinking in of Chicago’s myriad of social concerns:

Housing discrimination.

Education reform.

Mass incarceration.

Gender inequality.

Racial segregation.

WIC

The opportunities to learn and serve seemed infinite.These colossal concepts made the program particularly challenging but equally rewarding. Through coursework, service opportunities, and my internship at Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (led by David Doig ’86), I realized that developing whole communities is difficult work but extremely worthwhile.

Wheaton in Chicago both complicated and corrected my overly idealized view of the city. Chicago presents certain advantages and disadvantages, but it ultimately makes me ask the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Answering that in a way that is for God, for people, and for creation may take me a lifetime, but it will certainly make me a more complete person.

 

Hunter Hambrick '17 is an English Writing major. The  Wheaton In Chicago program has had over 200 students participate in it since its creation in 1998. Learn more about Wheaton In Chicago by watching the video below or visiting their website. Interested in applying? 

Photo Captions: Hambrick in front of the Uptown theatre just a few blocks away from the Wheaton In Chicago apartments; the 2015 Wheaton In Chicago group