Immigrant New York

Apr 2018

The first half of the semester is tough and packed because of all of the readings- but it's easy to just get by and write blog posts about the American Dream over and over again. The majority of the final grade comes from the service learning/blog posts. So if you attend your volunteering and do the readings, you're likely to get an A. The midterm wasn't bad at all. The TAs are really helpful, especially because they make the tests and grade everything. So just use them. It's a 4 credit class, so stick through it to get the heavily weighted good grade.

May 2015

This class was a bit disappointing. The premise is great - studying late 19th/early 20th century immigration in New York City and comparing it to current immigration patterns/issues. Unfortunately, Professor Kobrin typically teaches seminars, and this class - her first lecture course - wasn't great. I am already very interested in the topic, but the lectures didn't quite meet expectations - they just didn't feel very in-depth or rigorous. Professor Kobrin kept saying "next week we'll explore xyz," but we just never seemed to get there. The best lectures though were presented by Jessica, the teaching fellow, who is fantastic! I felt that she covered more material within the class period, but still provided more insights into the greater theme for each week (i.e. race, gender, cross-neighborhood interactions) than Professor Kobrin. If you're a self-directed learner who will be satisfied with interesting readings, then this may be the class for you. Otherwise, I'd wait until Professor Kobrin teaches it again as a seminar (or until Jessica teaches a course!). The best aspect of the class, however, was the mandatory volunteer component. Immigrant New York was supposedly Columbia's first service-learning lecture course, and overall that part was a great experience. We volunteered 2-4 hours per month at the Riverside Language Program as conversation partners for students in their English classes (immigrants living in NYC who have been here for less than 2 years). RLP, as we called it, is a fantastic organization and volunteering there seemed like a great way to learn about (and interact with) some of the most current issues that the city is facing (for example, how to provide language learning services to the huge population of newly arrived immigrants; how to make healthcare and education resources available to residents who don't speak English).