Overall, I thought that my experience in Urban Milwaukee was a positive one. My journey throughout the semester was very inspiring and enlightening. Even though the culture in Milwaukee is not drastically different from my own culture, I was still able to learn a lot from the people I worked with. My experience allowed me to meet and work with many individuals with varying perspectives and attitudes on life, which opened my eyes to the many different ways of life, even just
I personally feel like the focus of my cross-cultural experience was to increase my cultural awareness and to learn about myself. Throughout my experience, I was able to learn about ways of life that differed from my own. Just from being exposed and being able to physically be a part of a different culture, I feel that this opportunity has increased my cultural awareness and made me much more culturally diverse. I have learned so much about the urban culture in Milwaukee, but I think this
What I Gained:
From my experience, I gained cultural appreciation, acceptance, and cultural knowledge. I am now able to better appreciate and accept the differences among cultures. I would have to say I have lived a rather privileged life growing up. This experience showed me a different way of life, which gave me a greater appreciation for the Milwaukee culture and all that the citizens do to make their community thrive. After being immersed in another culture first-hand and being able to take part in their ways of life, I have much greater respect for cultural differences and am more open to learning more about the different cultures. Other cultures have a lot to offer and it will only help me to learn about them. I also obtained greater knowledge of a culture other than my own through this experience. My education of our Urban Milwaukee experience helped me to gain a better understanding of another culture and overall provided me with greater and more diverse cultural knowledge. Because I was being taught about their culture and then able to take part in it at the same time I feel that I was able to grasp the culture better and come out with a greater understanding because it was more of an interactive learning experience for me.
Tips for Future Students:
The Urban Milwaukee experience was one that I will remember forever and one that I am thankful for to say the least. While it went well overall, there are a few words of advice for any newcomers. Most importantly, during this experience, you will get out what you put in. There are a lot of stereotypes that you will hear about the Milwaukee area. It is known to be a high crime area and some may imply that it is an unsafe area. I advise you to take these with a grain of salt as this will likely change as you spend more time there and become more familiar with the area, or at least it did for me. It is true that many parts of the community are underprivileged and disadvantaged, however the people in these communities have a lot to offer and I think it is important to go in with an open mind. The community and community members welcomed us with open arms and they were very appreciative of any help that we brought. By the time you leave, you will have formed meaningful relationships and lasting memories. The end of the experience can be emotional and a bit of a love- hate relationship. I was so thrilled that I had completed my hours, but very sad to see the experience end. I had been working with this community for close to three months and they had almost become another family to me.
Also, know that you will be responsible for finding directions to your placement site and should add a time cushion in anticipation of getting lost. It may even be helpful to take a test drive out to your site to make sure you know where you are going. Also, you will need your own method of transportation and carpooling is advised. It will be beneficial to you to reach out to the site once the teacher gives you the okay and get as many hours done as soon as possible, as it will work to your advantage in the end. However, know that this is very dependent on the site and what the particular site offers. Some groups struggled to get hours done and were not making as much progress as other groups. The professor was very understanding in these instances, as he recognized that it was not necessarily the students’ fault, and he provided additional opportunities for these groups so that they were able to reach their hours.