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  • Writer's pictureAnisha Gurung, The University of Akron

Cleveland: A City that Embraces You

The question of why a person would always come back to Cleveland was posed during our NMGZ trip, and the responses from my peers, who hailed from different states and people who had left Cleveland, surprised me. The predominant answers revolved around the city feeling like home, its welcoming environment, affordable cost of living, delightful local restaurants, and ample opportunities.

As we explored Cleveland together, I was taken aback by the difference between my preconceived notions and reality. Many of my companions praised the warm and inclusive nature of the people here, noting the lack of overwhelming traffic and the overall comfort they experienced during their time in the city. Moreover, they emphasized the wealth of opportunities available, which challenged my previous belief that bigger cities were the only path to greater prospects.

Before undertaking this eye-opening trip, I tended to overlook Cleveland, simply dismissing it as an old and uninteresting place with limited potential for personal and professional growth. I was fixated on bigger cities, convinced they held the key to unlocking more significant opportunities. However, visiting places like EDWINS, where the owner provides convicts a chance to work in their restaurants and rebuild their lives, filled me with hope and admiration for our city.

This particular experience profoundly expanded my perspectives and unveiled the genuine value that cities like Cleveland possess. The commitment to social initiatives and the sense of community I witnessed gave me a newfound appreciation for the city. It made me realize that opportunities for growth, compassion, and progress can be found even in seemingly underestimated places like Cleveland. I now recognize the importance of looking beyond preconceived notions and discovering a city's unique and remarkable aspects, which can be truly transformative.


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