My name is Natalie Chin and I’m a 3rd year Communication Studies major whose never been to New Orleans! I am beyond excited for this fabulous opportunity to not only see and experience the culture of somewhere as rich as New Orleans, but to learn and grown at the same time. I’m sure we’ve all seen and heard about New Orleans before because who hasn’t seen the vibrant images of Mardi Gras? I’m also sure that many of us were glued to the news reports about the devestation wraught on the city and it’s people during Katrina. Even to this day New Orleans is still reeling from the impact of that disaster.
This will be my first service learning trip outside of the Calgary. My experience with service learning project has been limited. I participated in a service learning research project this Fall semester involving businesses in Kensington. My experience there taught me that service learning is at times difficult and time consuming, but ultimately very rewarding. That particular project has also spurred me towards becoming more active with community-engagement and when I saw the little blurb about this NOLA trip in a UThisWeek email, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and actually do something.
I am extremely interested in learning about food security in New Orleans as I had never even heard the term before. Poverty is found everywhere and the connection poverty has to race in New Orleans unfortunately seems to be a strong one. The connections that poverty and race have to food security seem to be very intricate. It will definitely been an eye opening experience to see the work being done by various organizations to combat poverty and improve food security. As a Communications major, I am also very interested in the role media has played in regards to food security. Does the media in New Orleans have a postive or negative impact on poverty and race, and by extension, food security?
I think the best advice I can give myself going into this trip is to listen to what the people who live in New Orleans have to say. I want to keep an open mind to everything I will see, hear and experience. I think by keeping an ear to the ground and a sharp eye I will be able to use the things I learn on this trip to grow not only as a student. I can only anticipate that the best is yet to come!