Monday, March 26, 2012

Hello, Hola, Aloha, Hallo, Olá- Marcela Correa

I am a junior engineering science major from Colombia. I have always been interested in diversity and cultures. The US has always been portrait as a diverse place and it is commonly known as “the melting pot.” My Wartburg West experience has certainly helped me to understand and experience the diversity in this country. My first exposure to diversity was my first night in Denver when I order my food in Spanish in a restaurant just a block away from the apartment building. In my placement, at the University of Colorado, a lady greeted me in Spanish without even asking me if I was from a Spanish speaking country. In a city like Denver is easier to experience diversity and to see how different cultures come together in one place. In my way to work I take a street that is called Colfax Avenue. From downtown Denver to the University of Colorado medical campus you can see how as you keep going east, the different cultures are uncovered. As you get away from downtown, a few blocks are full of African restaurants, then a little bit further, you can see some Asian restaurants, and if you keep going east you will encounter a big portion of the road full of Hispanic stores and restaurants.

 I have definitely enjoyed the large Hispanic community in Denver. I have been able to find places and products that remind me of home. For instance, there is a place where every Saturday they have Salsa night. It is incredible to go to this place and see all the people dancing. It is truly a Latin environment and an example of how cultures can get this far.

Although Denver hosts a lot of international cultures, it also has examples of different places within the States. A couple of weeks ago I went to a place called Luciles. It was a completely different experience. I felt like being in the south. This restaurant is characterized for its food which depicts New Orleans and the south. I was with some friends from Iowa and they mentioned that some of the food that they had was not common in their region. One of them was amazed that we could experience the south by only going to a restaurant.

I have been in Denver for 3 months and I can clearly say that I still have so much to experience. I have had a lot of different experiences with diversity, but there are so much more things in this city that I would like to live. It has been a really good semester and it has certainly opened my eyes to the large diversity of the US. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Denver Celebrates St. Patrick's Day!

Denver Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day!
By Kimberly Morische
            We have now been in the Mile High City for almost three full months, and our cultural experiences have widened in terms of theater, art, sports, food, and even public transportation.  We have experienced that vast interests of the city’s many inhabitants.  However, during a bright Saturday morning on March 17th, the city came together for one celebration – St. Patrick’s Day.  Nelson and Bonita notified our group in advance that a parade would take place going down Blake and 17th streets, and many of us attended it. 
            I watched the parade with some other Wartburg West students, and it was so much fun to see the energy that was present.  Hundreds of people crowded along the sidewalks, wore green clothing, and cheered as various groups of people proudly sported their Irish heritage in the parade.  My favorite group was a studio of young Irish performers.  We eagerly tried to look over the heads of the many people standing in front of us, wishing for a glimpse of the group of female dancers.  Donned in red-haired wigs and green sparkly dresses, I saw the group dance to a jig as the bagpipers and drummers behind it played with all the bravo they could muster.
            After the parade, people quickly flooded the downtown area surrounding 16th street in hopes of getting a seat in an Irish pub.  We walked as fast as we could to the Tilted Kilt, a very popular restaurant, but unfortunately a line outside the door covered nearly a third of the block.  We did make it to another restaurant called Katie Mullen’s.  They had a festive green tent sent up outside and a Irish band playing onstage.  Spending St. Patrick’s Day in Denver was a wonderful experience that both allowed me to celebrate my small bit of Irish heritage as well as the culture of the city.
            I have very much enjoyed my time spent in Denver.  I am student-teaching in both Spanish and English classrooms.  My first placement was teaching Spanish at Abraham Lincoln High School, and I am now teaching English at Scott Carpenter Middle School.  I love how language is viewed as a precious source of knowledge here in the city.  Because there are so many cultures, nationalities, and languages represented here, I have enjoyed teaching both Spanish and English.  I can see that, overall, my students understand the power of language in society.

Best wishes,
Kimberly Morische

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Greetings from Denver from Kibnesh Herano!

Greetings from Denver

My name is Kibnesh Herano. I’m a fourth year student majoring in Social Work. Wartburg West has been an exciting experience!  I love the weather, the diverse population, and almost everything except the noise of the ambulances and fire trucks.  They wake me up once in a while.
My placement is at Lutheran Family Services (LFS). LFS is a resettlement agency that provides service to refugees, Asylees, victim of human trafficking, and secondary migrants. Refugees are people that have fled their country due to a “well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social or political group”

One word to describe my agency is diverse. LFS has served people from over 40 countries. The largest arriving population groups are from Bhutan, Burma, and Iraq. Some of the service the agency provides include, housing assistance, case management, employment search assistance, legal and immigration advice.  At LFS I work as the case management, which means advocating and supporting refugees as they navigate the new systems in the U.S.

I work eight hours a day except Thursdays so most of the time am exhausted during the week but when I have time I enjoy going out to eat and visiting different places.  One exciting thing about Wartburg West is the different activities we were able to choose to do with Wartburg West Alumni. I was able to go for an afternoon tea at the Brown Palace, which is a luxurious hotel in downtown Denver. An interesting fact I learnt about the Brown Palace was that it hosted every U.S. president since Teddy Roosevelt, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge. Also I will be having a tour of the Celestial Seasonings factory next weekend with other students and two alumni. 

Over all Denver is great and I am not missing Waverly yet! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Warm Wishes from Denver- Kayley Law

Warm Wishes from Denver!

Hi, my name is Kayley Law.  I am a senior Social Work major at Wartburg College with an Intercultural Studies minor.  Wartburg has so many great experiences to offer; Wartburg West is one of many excellent opportunities to expand your education to other areas of the world.

I have always loved traveling so coming to Wartburg West came by me honestly.  The Wartburg West students have been out here for about 10 weeks so far.  In those 10 weeks I have had so many great opportunities in Colorado.  Most of my time in Denver is spent at my internship site.  I work at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH).  CCH is the largest agency in the state assisting the homeless.  CCH’s efforts to provide comprehensive services to their clients set CCH apart from other housing assistance agencies. 

CCH is a housing first model, meaning they believe in obtaining housing for clients before working on anything else.  Studies have shown with stable housing drug usage drops by 15% without any other inventions.  For this reason, CCH aims to help all homeless individuals in Colorado regardless of age, race, religion, legal standing, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical health state, or marital status.  Some agencies simply are too small or lack the funding to be able to help certain clients.  Because of how large CCH is (over 500 employees and 20 different programs), it is very rare for clients to be turned away or denied services at the Coalition, exceptions being extreme violent behavior towards staff.

CCH is proud to fund and employ the Stout Street Clinic.  The Stout Street Clinic is a full service clinic providing care to any and all homeless or at-risk individuals.  Primary care, pediatric care, eye care, dental services, psychiatric care, and substance abuse treatment are all available at the clinic.  In addition, CCH provides case management and therapy to clients who have recently obtained housing to help transition from life on the street to life with stable housing. 

At CCH, I work with families that have recently acquired permanent housing as a case manager.  I help connect clients with local resources to meet the client’s goals.  Some of the tasks I do weekly include: transporting clients to food banks, having direct contact with clients to work on goals the clients have set, and working with local resources to continue positive connections.  In addition, I hold a children’s after-school group on Mondays called Marvelous Mondays!  At Marvelous Mondays all children are welcome to participate in supervised crafts, games, and cooking projects.  This group helps to build a sense of community among the clients and increases communication skills. 

While I am not at my placement I have been able to get out and explore the wonderful city of Denver!  Denver has so much to offer on many accounts.  There are tons of great restaurants, shops and outdoor activities to participate in.  I have tried to experience as much of Denver as I can.  Thus far I have been able to go dog sledding, tour the Celestial Seasonings factory, have High Tea at the Brown Palace, see a couple shows at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and attend the Symphony!  I haven’t had a chance to go skiing yet, but I will be sure to do that at least once before leaving. 

I have immensely enjoyed my time at Wartburg West.  I am very thankful I had the opportunity to come out to Colorado and experience the multitude of things it has to offer.  I hope everyone is doing well in Iowa!  We are sending warm wishes from Denver!  See you in April!

Kayley Law