Student Voices from the Urban Cross-cultural College Consortium

The Urban Cross-cultural College Consortium (U4C) is an innovative urban studies degree program which brings together students from Concordia University, Crown College and Northwestern College. It’s unique in that is teaches the city from a holistic, missional perspective and is the only program offered by Christian colleges in the US that is based on an entire year resident in the city. It’s focused specifically on the complex, multi-cultural, immigrant-rich global cities.  Students from all three institutions live together in South Minneapolis, take classes relevant to their urban studies interests and complete intensive internships with nonprofit organizations in the community.  Faculty members see the program as a great way to equip students to work in the ‘ever increasing multi-cultural and multi-ethnic world.”

Sarah Koscielniak, Concordia University – St Paul, ‘12

The experience is very interdisciplinary and the topics not only bleed into other classes but also into the students’ personal lives.  I would learn something in the classroom, then walk out of the classroom and see a way to apply what I just learned! The experience of living with students from other schools in a house integrated in the community was extremely important to the whole learning experience. I became a part of the community I was working with. 

I learned some of the challenges that many non-profits face in the city and some different tactics to handle those challenges.  I learned about patience and perseverance.  I met some amazing individuals during that time, and they will forever stay in my heart. 

I took U4C my Junior year of college.  As a Senior this year, I can already see how it has impacted the way I view education, the world, and my future.  I am more attentive in class to make connections of what I am learning about a certain topic, and how that can be applied to my own work in the community both now and in the future.  It helped me be prepared for the good and the bad of the non-profit industry.  I feel very skilled and prepared for whatever the future holds in a growing cross-cultural world!

Nou Thao, Crown College, ‘11

The experience was very good and I recommend it for all students who have a heart for the urban cities of the world.  I loved living in community and the small classroom sizes.  It was challenging, stretched me a lot, and I really learned more about myself and others. At my internship, I learned that everything takes soooooo much longer in the “real world” to come through.  I learned patience, and being faithful to something even when it’s hard and not what I expected.  

Dakin Schultz, Northwestern College, ‘13

Whether it is in a class, on my front porch or walking to the local bakery a few blocks away, I have had a fair amount of new experiences in my first semester as a U4C student. Meeting new people, going to new places and learning about the city from people who have lived and worked here has been an amazing and a very special opportunity for me.

I have learned a variety of things at my internship at Hope Academy so far this semester. It has been a great chance that I have had this year and the staff and faculty at the school have been terrific. My supervisor has helped me to connect better with inner-city students and how to help those students connect with Jesus through various activities and trips.

This very original and one-of-a-kind program has given me a different outlook on education and how you can constantly be learning through experience, not just lecture. Through the U4C program I have learned to connect with people who are different from myself and to be able to make connections and build relationships in order to share the Gospel and the love of Christ.

To learn more, visit the U4C website. This piece was put together with extensive support from Patricia Fenwick, Kari Raia, and Roland Wells.

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