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Chi-Town Tales:
10 questions with a Chicago Center Alum

Sometimes the best thing an internship can do for you is to show you that you'd rather take a different path in your career. That's exactly what happened for Henry Bacalor during our summer 2023 internship program. 

Continue reading to learn more about the growth Henry experienced while at their internship at The Swedish American Museum and through participating in our program. 

CC: What inspired you to choose our program and embark on this unique academic journey?

HB:  I was unsure what I wanted to do with my major after college and the Chicago Center offered work experience in a field I was considering. I also knew I would be able to get the seminar class to count towards my major.

CC: Can you share a standout moment or experience during your time in the program that had a significant impact on you?

HB: If I had to pick a single moment that impacted me the most, it would be when we visited the National Mexican Museum of Art during O-Week. It was incredibly informative, but I was also struck by the beauty and meaningfulness of the exhibits. We saw a lot of incredible things during O-Week and the seminar, but that stuck with me more than anything.

CC: How has participating in our program contributed to your personal growth and development?

HB: Before the Chicago Center, I was unsure what I wanted to do after I graduated. The informational interviews I did as part of the program are the single most helpful thing I have done in deciding what I want to do next. My internship and the LEAD sessions were also both helpful in gaining skills and building my resume.

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"The Chicago Center helped me decide what I want to do after college, gave relevant work experience, and taught valuable career skills. "

All About Me

CC: Could you describe how the program helped you bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application?

HB: The seminar makes lessons relevant to the real world by talking with experts out in Chicago. Tours help students see the impact of the things we've talked about in class, and information sessions with community leaders gives first person perspectives on important issues. The Chicago Center also helps set students up to succeed in their career paths through LEAD sessions and internship experience.

 

CC: What was the most valuable skill or insight you gained during your internship or studies in the city?

HB: The most valuable insight I learned was finally deciding on a path after college. I learned a lot about the two career paths I was debating between and was able to make a decision as a result.

CC: How did you find the transition to living in a dynamic urban environment, and what were some memorable aspects of city life for you?

HB: I found the transition to urban living fine. I come from a college town, so Hyde Park was not a jarring transition. The main difference was learning to utilize public transit and the sheer amount of things to do in the city. 

CC: Were there any challenges you faced during your time in the program, and how did you overcome them?

HB: Learning to manage public transit took some time, although the Chicago Center provided plenty of resources and was on call in case I got lost or delayed. I also had to find things to do during my long commute.

CC: Can you highlight any connections or relationships you formed with fellow students, staff, or community members that enriched your experience?

HB: I grew close with some of the other students, and we had engaging conversations outside of class topics. I also found a great sense of community at my internship.

CC: What advice would you give to prospective students considering our program and an urban educational experience?

HB:  If you are confused about something or feel you are missing information, don't be afraid to ask for help. The staff are generally quick to respond to any problems or questions and are happy to help.

CC: Looking back, what lasting impact has your participation in our program had on your life and future aspirations?

HB:  The Chicago Center helped me decide what I want to do after college, gave relevant work experience, and taught valuable career skills. After the program I felt confident in the path I was taking and prepared to keep following it.

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