Chicago Semester is an off-campus program that offers qualified (2.5 or higher GPA required) juniors and seniors of any major the distinct opportunity to gain a semester of credit living, learning and working in America’s third largest city. Rooted in the Christian faith, the program challenges students to integrate their personal, professional and public lives through internships, academic seminars and urban experience.

Recognized nationally as the 2002 Experiential Education Program of the Year, Chicago Semester provides support and guidance as students explore the possibilities and issues within an urban working world. Features of the Chicago Semester curriculum include the following:

  1. A complete orientation process that familiarizes each student with the Chicago Semester program, the city of Chicago, and the world of work.
  2. Internships related to students’ professional interests.
  3. Seminars on aspects of the urban phenomenon.
  4. Cultural exposure through neighborhood visits and art events.

Students spend four days a week student teaching or working at an internship site arranged according to their interests, and are supervised by professionals at the work site and Chicago Semester staff. Areas for internships include, but are not limited to, graphic design, theater, accounting, finance, business, human resources, advertising, public relations, marketing, event planning, health sciences, nursing, communications, social work, social services, law, sports management and media.

One day a week students attend two seminars and practicum group at the Chicago Semester office in the heart of Chicago’s downtown Loop. Field trips, art events, living cooperatively with other students and participating in the daily life of the city, round out an urban experience that can only be found in a city like Chicago.

Seminars

Arts and the City Seminar provides a supportive environment for engaging the arts using critical thinking, creativity, appreciation, and awareness. Students will be challenged to articulate their observations of a variety of artists’ work through personal and spiritual analysis. They will attend weekly events in music, dance, theater and visual art, and engage with professional artists who visit the class regularly.

Metropolitan Seminar looks at the development and plans for the city, and how those plans intersect with the multicultural diversity of Chicago and inherent tensions. Students will investigate the trends and social conditions that residents and workers face and how they come together to make change through neighborhood tours, field trips and presentations from guest speakers.

Religion and Society in Urban America Seminar examines religious diversity and the role religious institutions play in engaging social problems in urban America. It will use Chicago as the religious history hub, and will focus on the 20th and 21st century and consider a range of issues from race, class, gender, etc. The seminar includes discussions, congregational visits and lectures.

Values and Vocation Seminar welcomes students to explore the meaning and significance of modern work and American culture. Topics include the power of gender roles, pressures to overwork, consumerism, the corporate grip on the globe and civic responsibility. Students reflect on these forces, formulating a vocational vision for their life.

Cost

Students who participate in the CS program are registered at their home campus and remain officially part of that student body. For this reason, they pay the regular tuition rate to Central College as though they were fulltime students. Students are responsible for their own living expenses, and financial aid received on campus for room and board costs typically transfers to Chicago. Total cost depends upon the lifestyle chosen by each student and is usually similar to the cost of a semester on campus.

Applications

All application materials and information can be found at www.chicagosemester.org. Applications are due February 1st for both the following fall and spring semesters.

Visit www.chicagosemester.org for more information or see the Chicago Semester campus representative for further details.

Washington, D.C., Intern Program

Through a formal partnership with the Washington Center, Central students are able to participate in internships in the nation's capitol. Art students may work at the National Gallery, biology students with the National Institutes of Health, language students with the state department or a foreign embassy – there are opportunities for almost any major.

Costs are comparable to study on the home campus. Term, semester and summer programs are available. Participation is limited to upperclassmen with a GPA of at least 3.0. Students may receive graded independent research credit and seminar credit as well as pass-no record credit for the internship through the program. Students who are interested should obtain additional information from Pat Joachim Kitzman, the campus liaison.

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