We have many outstanding off-campus study programs at Hope College.  Getting a new experience in another part of the country – or the world – is a rich learning opportunity.  Some of my best memories as a Hope student were from my time at the Vienna Summer School.  Students – as you plan out your college path, I encourage you to talk to the staff at the Center for Global Engagement and learn more about programs that are a good fit with your future plans.

If you have been around me for any amount of time, you know that I am also passionate about getting hands-on work experience through research, clinical rotations, or internships.  The good news is that some of these off-campus programs will allow you to do it all – you can live and learn in a different city AND complete an internship at the same time!  

I would like to highlight one such opportunity available to all Hope students – the Philadelphia Center program.  This past spring, I spent a day in Philadelphia learning about this program.  It has been running for over 50 years and includes students from colleges across the country.  I toured the city and visited multiple internship sites.  I talked to some of the program’s professors and got to hear from some students about their experiences.

One of my key takeaways was that a big city can provide big opportunities for internships.  As a major hub for culture, history, and sports, Philadelphia has options that are not as easy to find elsewhere.  I was particularly impressed by the number of organizations with internships available in the arts, neuroscience, sports management, exercise science, and women’s and gender studies.

One thing I hear at times is that some students feel like they will miss out on happenings at Hope if they go off-campus for a semester.  Scott Travis, Executive Director of Alumni and Family Engagement, studied in Philadelphia as a student.  Scott reflects on this question: “The Philadelphia Center, or any off-campus program, can be life changing.

There is something special about leaving the familiar behind, having new adventures and expanding your worldview through off-campus study. Growing up in a rural area, I learned a lot just by living in the city. I also learned through an internship that helped prepare me for my career and seminars that helped me to make new friendships. It’s cliche, but the opportunity you have to do something like this in college won’t necessarily be there for the rest of your life.”  

If you are interested, or just simply curious, we have a special opportunity coming up to meet directly with Morgan Mahdavi, recruiter for the Philadelphia Center.  She will be on campus on Monday, Oct. 21st, with drop-in hours from 3:00-5:00pm in MMC 123.  Please take some time to check it out. Morgan is also available by appointment (students should contact the Center for Global Engagement to set up a time).You may just find that it is a perfect fit for your future!

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