My Once in a Lifetime Experience with Semester in The City

Angie interned at Celebrity Series of Boston, where performance art and community empowerment meet. She wrote for the organizations online blog, covering her first opera recital, a Broadway star at Symphony Hall, Afro-Colombian dance, and more!

I came to know about the opportunity to study in Boston through the Semester in the City program rather serendipitously. I was coming to terms with the fact I wouldn’t be going abroad during my undergraduate years because I could not afford to. I was still hoping to find some kind of study-away program that was fun, affordable, and worthwhile. College for Social Innovation gave me that opportunity with Semester in the City.

The prospect of coming to Boston and working for a nonprofit was all I could talk about for weeks during the interview process. When I finally got word that I had been accepted into the program, I was elated. It was finally my turn to gain some living experience outside my countryside childhood in rural New Hampshire and the small town of Norton, where Wheaton College resides.

Living in the beautiful city of Boston did not disappoint. My new friends from the program and I explored the city not only through our commutes to work or class but also through our adventures together. We fed squirrels in the Public Gardens, went to Fenway, and ate the most amazing food just around the corner from our Allston apartments. Of course, it wasn’t always fun and games! It was also a lot of “adulting”, as we fondly called some mundane tasks of living.

Left to Right: MacKenzie, Molly, Me (Angela), Grace

Left to Right: MacKenzie, Molly, Me (Angela), Grace

We learned how to find the cheapest grocery store, manage our money and time, and accept when it might not be possible to buy that morning coffee. It was a valuable lesson on how to strike a balance between work, life, and friends. This is key to a healthy life, and with all of us getting closer and closer to that dreaded next step in adulthood, I’m thankful we were able to learn these lessons here.

Photo Credit: Robert Torres

Photo Credit: Robert Torres

Our day to day lives taught us this balance, but our internships and classes taught us how to use these lessons in the social sector of nonprofit work! Some of us worked with students, others with homelessness, and others within Boston communities. Personally, I helped a nonprofit who works to bring world-class performing arts experiences to the Greater Boston Area: Celebrity Series of Boston. All these different groups have one important thing in common: they are all part of the social sector. Our classes taught us about the social sector, and how we can become a part of it. Whether it was working to help individuals experiencing homelessness register to vote or creating an ecosystem map of our organizations, all of the things we did through our classes felt important, educational, and worthwhile.

As a senior in college, I’ve learned that there is nothing more life-shaping than experiential learning. My time working hands-on as an intern in a nonprofit has shaped my future career choices. Before these experiences, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do with my undergraduate degree. I knew writing is a marketable skill in almost any career, but which career would I choose? I had all the passion but no direction.

Through experiential learning, I was able to hone and master my passions and find that path I needed, while also building a portfolio of work that I could only hope for. As a writing student, a portfolio is incredibly necessary, and the special project I completed for my internship allowed me to publish a series of articles capturing performances throughout the city. I saw a Broadway star at Symphony Hall, an opera idol at Bard College, even an Afro-Colombian dance group at the New England Conservatory. My internship was beyond compare, and it was a semester full of firsts thanks to my placement at Celebrity Series of Boston.

The friendships, the internship, the classes and the city of Boston: all these things roll into one beautiful package thanks to College for Social Innovation. Semester in the City was a lifetime of experience in one life-changing semester. It was the best decision I ever made, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.