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When I first arrived in Charlotte, I was not sure what to expect from the city. I had never properly visited Charlotte before, despite its close proximity to Duke, and had a lot of questions about living there. Would I like living in Charlotte? What is there to do in town? How easy is it to travel from place to place within the city? Most importantly, is the work that we are doing this summer needed in Charlotte?

Thankfully, many of these questions were answered during an orientation to Charlotte that happened on my second day in town. The day started with a bus trip into Charlotte that immediately answered my question about transportation. It is fairly easy to travel from place to place within Charlotte. The city has a robust bus system that revolves around a central hub in the city center and a light rail that runs from I-485 to University City. The buses run frequently and have diverse enough routes that, by catching a connecting bus from the city center, it is possible to travel throughout much of the city using the bus lines.

Once we hopped off of our bus at the city center, I found out that there would be plenty of fun things to do and places to explore within Charlotte too. As we walked around downtown, we passed countless restaurants and shops, saw baseball, basketball, and football stadiums, and even noticed a couple of museums within walking distance of the bus stop. From our tour, it was clear that Charlotte is a vibrant and interesting place to live. After our orientation, I am excited to spend the rest of the summer in Charlotte.

Finally, our orientation reminded me that the work that will be done at my site placement this summer is very important to the future health of the city. This summer, I’ll be partnering with a local organization to help prevent summer reading loss for young scholars in some of Charlotte’s schools. This work will directly help to combat one of the main challenges facing Charlotte that we were reminded of during our orientation; Out of America’s fifty largest cities, Charlotte ranks last for upward mobility. Hopefully, by increasing the literacy of some of Charlotte’s young people, the work being done at my site placement will help to increase the opportunities available to the scholars at my site.