Minnehaha Academy

Admission Office: 612-728-7722

Cultural Field Experience

In March of each academic year, students in grades 9 through 11 participate in a weeklong on-site learning experience called Cultural Field Experience. During this week, students are exposed to people and communities that are different from their own. The goal of this experience is to promote an understanding of another person’s life experiences and point of view and to provide students opportunities to discover their God-given gifts. Students earn academic credit for this experience.

“All the stories that were shared were nothing that [we were] used to. The communities that we went to opened our eyes to see different perspectives of the world, and different peoples’ way of life.”

- Grade 10 student

Developing Global Leaders

CFE experiences instill wisdom, compassion, respect and understanding that prepare Minnehaha students for an increasingly global society.

The intentions of real-life learning are:

  • To promote an understanding of another’s life and point of view
  • To provide opportunities for students to discover their God-given gifts
  • To develop compassionate and globally-minded citizens
  • To equip students with a willingness to give of themselves in service to God and others

[CFE] made me realize that this world is massive. And [there] is not just one view of the world. I thought God saw the world like I saw it. But I know now that my problems and worries are far too small compared to those of others around the world.”

- Grade 9 student

Upper School students go all over the world, country and city to be immersed in communities and cultures other than their own. They dive into real-life learning opportunities in the hopes that they will gain increased wisdom, compassion, respect and understanding to prepare them to be global citizens.

In the past, our students have traveled to the following communities:

  • Ghana, West Africa – Students and leaders spent two weeks in West Africa. The majority of their time was in the rural village of Okurase, assisting with a soccer program and a recycling program, while learning about the local culture.
  • Roatan, Honduras – Students worked at a Children’s Home and helped with community outreach projects.
  • England and Wales – Minnehaha music and theater students traveled through Europe performing and learning more about the depth of the Christian heritage.
  • City Stay – Students participated in a multicultural homestay in the Twin Cities, living with Somali and Hmong families.
Community Site Partners 2016

More than 270 MA students collaborated with 32 different partner sites during CFE 2016. There were 25 sites located in the Twin Cities metro area and 5 sites (1 national and 4 international) were located out-of-state.

Student Reflections from CFE

Grade 9: Augustana Health Care Center“CFE was very interesting, exciting and fun. I thought before CFE that it was really just a waste of time that could be spent elsewhere. But I learned a lot from the week we spent away from school. I was forced out of my comfort zone. I got away from my view of the world. It was interesting to see people that live in a different area and different circumstances. I’m just stuck in my small world in the suburbs. It made me realize that this world is massive. It’s far too big to see every different culture and community in it. And [there] is not just one view of the world. I thought God saw the world like I saw it. But I know now that my problems and worries are far too small compared to those of others around the world.”

Grade 11: France“I found something in Taizé that I have never realized that I was missing, and it was peace. There was so much silent time that I used to connect with God, and I loved it.”

Grade 10: Academia Cesar Chavez “All the stories that were shared were nothing that our lives at Minnehaha are used to. The communities that we went to opened our eyes to see different perspectives of the world, and different peoples’ way of life.”

Grade 11: Colorado Center for Student Missions – Colorado – “Our first day in Denver ended with a prayer tour. I had never been on one before and in the end, I thought it was a very beneficial experience. There were a couple things that stuck out to me as we drove through the streets of Denver. One of the stops we made was in a parking lot…we were asked to lie down in the middle of the parking lot…the fact that a lot of people spend their nights like that is unbelievable and heartbreaking…as we drove back to Corona, I started to think about all the issues in this world and all the hurt in so many lives that most of us just pass by without a thought…people shouldn’t have to sleep on a sidewalk…nine-year olds shouldn’t be homeless…a parking lot should not become a bed.”

Grade 9: Early Wonders Preschool“Lessons that I can learn from this community are patience, understanding, and helping others – even when you think you are too tired to stand. I have learned that even when you are exhausted, you still have to give your all because these kids need exercise, love and attention more than you need to sit down or nap.”

Grade 11: Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center“Thinking over the week, I’ve realized that I judge too quickly and too much. I didn’t know a lot about MS before this CFE week, so I think I was a little fearful or maybe nervous about the experience. I didn’t know what to expect, but I forced myself to go in open-minded. I’m so thankful I did. Once I started to know the members and get a better understanding, it was really fun and rewarding.”

Grade 9: East Side Neighborhood Services“After lunch I spent time with the elders because I was with the kids in the preschool room in the morning. We talked and played a dice game with the elders. They were so excited and it made me happy that I was able to make them laugh and talk. They made me realize that no matter how old you are, you need fun, friends, laughter, and someone to talk to. Yesterday was a great day, and I really enjoyed my time with the elders and kids.”

Grade 10: LaCreche Early Education Centers North“This week has been an amazing experience. Although I didn’t know what I was getting into, I really enjoyed this adventure. I can’t imagine not going back there every day and playing, reading, drawing, or coloring with the kids. I will be completely honest – I did not like children going into this. By the end I realized how much I enjoyed being with these kids. I felt terrible having to say goodbye. I had such an amazing week!”

Grade 11: Bahamas“This trip has been an eye-opening experience. Not only have I learned more than imaginable about the environment and culture here in Andros, but I have also grown personally, emotionally, spiritually, almost every way. I came on this trip not knowing most of the kids in our group, but I am leaving having an entirely new perspective about all of them. It is truly amazing.”

Grade 10: Good Neighbors – Kentucky“Today I learned so much. Working on the house was in fact a lot of work, but it was surprisingly fun. I started to talk with the young woman whose house we were working on, and learned so much about her life. She lives within a six-foot radius of all her family which I find really interesting. She works hard for her money and has three jobs and doesn’t have a single complaint. It amazed me. I’m excited to see what tomorrow has in store!”