Wheaton in Chicago is an academic program. But, it’s much more than just that. Wheaton in Chicago is an experiential program that combines all the different elements of urban life into a cohesive whole that is stronger than each of its parts. The program strives to provide regular opportunities for action and reflection that is simply not possible on campus and students come away transformed by the city and her communities.
The powerful impact of life in the city
The life and communities of the city are the most powerful teaching tool. God works through them to shape and form everyone who participates in the program whether it be students, staff, or faculty. Little more can be said than what was communicated by one alumna of the program:
“For me, it was a life changing experience to do Wheaton in Chicago because of what the city gave me. I think it gave me a heart of compassion; just an ability to see the world differently through God’s eyes.”
- Veronica Ponce, WIC 2006
Students participate in orientation activities that help them acclimate to their new home and community. Staff and faculty help prepare students for the pragmatic responsibilities of finding their way, using public transportation, and general safety. But orientation is also a time to prepare for life together as a community - supporting, challenging, and striving together for the shalom of the city.
Weekly as well as occasional opportunities are provided for students to eat and talk together about their experiences. Sometimes these provide important opportunities for reflection and advice while other times they are simply a fun and relaxing time to eat and break bread together after a long day.
Staff and faculty lead a debriefing retreat as a final opportunity to process, reflect, and prepare students for the next steps after what is often a key developmental experience for students. The retreat is an opportunity for students to process and reflect on the experiences of the semester and begin to form the commitments and articulations that they will take with them as they return to campus or graduate.