by April Nwatah
For the past 4 years my mailing address has always ended in “Urbana, IL 61801.” However, since I’ve only lived here as a student, it should have actually read something along the lines of “The Bubble, IL 61801." I like to refer to the UIUC campus as “The Bubble” because it’s not an accurate representation of the real communities of Urbana and Champaign. During my first couple years of college I hardly ever left The Bubble, since I lived in the dorms and had pretty much everything that I needed right here. Everything that I had to say about Urbana and Champaign were related to the campus and nothing else. To me, Champaign stopped at around First Street and anything east of Lincoln Avenue in Urbana was Hipster territory. Needless to say, I was living in a false reality.
Doing Spanish Community Service Learning (through SPAN 232 and SPAN 332) has brought me out of The Bubble and into the communities of Urbana and Champaign through the various projects that I’ve done. Through these courses I have attained a greater awareness of these communities, along with their strengths and their shortcomings. As a Chicago native (real Chicago, not the suburbs) I’ve also surprisingly enjoyed the smaller, slower paced lifestyle.
So while Urbana and Champaign are a lot more than “The Bubble” they’re actually quite cool, yet I wouldn’t have realized that without being able to do service learning in the community. With graduation in a matter of days matched with my great experiences in the community, I’ve decided to stay and live in town for at least a year or so, working (I’m not sure where…yet), volunteering with my church, and seeking out the various treasures in the community. So since you might see me around, saying “adios” wouldn’t be quite appropriate so I guess I’ll just end with “¡hasta luego!"