Founded in 1967, The Philadelphia Center facilitates 8-week summer and 16-week semester unpaid internship experiences for college credit in the City of Brotherly Love. It also hosts cultural seminars and assists students in finding affordable living. To learn more about the program, we reached out to TPC alum Caroline Dobbins (@cndobbins on Twitter).
By Caroline Dobbins
I f someone told you to put your trust in educators you didn’t know, pick up and move to a new city without a job and without a place to live, you would probably laugh in their face. If you said that to me, I would tell you“Go for it!” It’s all about experiential learning, which is the cornerstone for the curriculum at The Philadelphia Center.
I took that big leap of faith during the fall semester of my junior year. As a student at Albion College, I was studying economics and management and was required to complete two internships. TPC fit the bill, and seemed to be calling my name after reading each and every page on their website and drooling over the thought of living in a big city for four months.
My plan was to secure an internship in the marketing or event management fields, enjoy my two classes and live life in the city. I did all of that, but I also did and learned so much more. From day one I was challenging myself socially and intellectually, and little did I know that I was discovering a better version of myself.
TPC prides itself on giving the whole city experience to each of its students, from housing to interviews, to budgeting and city fun, and they do a darn good job! Those components are just the nuts and bolts of the TPC programs: Intern, Live and Learn — and that is a guarantee. What TPC doesn’t tell you is about all the little things you will learn about your future and yourself.
“You live a real life, paying bills, cooking, working, managing classes and finding time to have fun — and yes, it’s all doable.”
When I describe my time in Philadelphia, I use the phrase “real life with a safety net,” because that’s what it is. You live a real life, paying bills, cooking, working, managing classes and finding time to have fun — and yes, it’s all doable. I took an internship at a brand communications firm in Northern Liberties, a small section of the city; took a marketing class where I branded myself with a dynamic brand that will carry me into the professional world; and “Education and Difference at Work,” my seminar course, reaffirmed my desire to be continue to be involved in the education system.
It wasn’t until the TPC closing program that I truly realized what the 16 weeks in Philadelphia had really done to me as a student, as a professional and as an individual. I left Philly with a greater sense of who I was, what I wanted out of life and how I should accomplish that. I don’t have it all figured out, but I sure do have a better idea.