Jacqueline Chavez is a University of Florida student studying abroad for the Academic Year 2016-17 in Poitiers, France. To learn more about her program, click here: L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques – Poitiers campus.
- What is your year and academic concentration?
I am a third year-dual major in International Studies(with a concentration in Latin America) and Political science, with a minor in French.
- Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
Yes, I have gone to Mexico around 10 times with my parents during the summer because all of our family lives in Mexico, and my parents wanted to make sure that my younger brother, and I could appreciate our culture and roots. I traveled to Mexico for spring break 2016 with a few friends from UF.
- Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
I traveled to Paris for spring break 2015 for African Americans in Paris- a UF sponsored alternative break trip. It was a short study abroad experience, but it was enough to make me come back!
- Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
For fall 2016 I am studying at the University Sciences Po- Poitiers, France. I chose the Poitiers campus because it is focused on Latin American studies.I believe Sciences Po chose me. Sciences Po is ranked fifth in the world for undergraduate studies in political sciences and international studies. Although there are students here from all over the world, I am the only Mexican, only one of 2 Americans, and only one of 5 exchange students. After applications and interviews, I am finally here to indulge in a rich academia. I also chose the small town of Poitiers, so that I could really indulge in French culture and language. For spring 2015 I will be studying with Semester at Sea. For an entire semester I will live and study on a cruise ship while visiting 11 countries on the cost of Asia and Africa. Since I am studying in Europe this fall, I wanted a trip that would show me another part of the world. I want to see all that I have learned in history books come alive, I want to indulge in different cultures, and I want to discover how people who identify differently are more similar than they think. I hope this discovery will help me better prepare to pursue opportunities in international studies and international efforts towards peace.
- What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
As I start welcome week at Sciences Po, my goals have shifted a little. I am really looking forward to seeing beyond myself. I want to be comfortable with being uncomfortable by pushing myself to indulge in a culture that is different. I am looking forward to not only traveling and seeing new things, but to also pushing the limits my mind creates. I am excited to better my French, and start my fourth language, Portuguese. I want to see how a first-generation Latino on a full scholarship like myself is similar to other students with different identities and how our minds can come together to create a better tomorrow.
- What are some of your interests and hobbies?
Of course one of my greatest interests is traveling! I also love to cook, although I am not the best! Dancing is my escape from all worries, just as is my violin. I els love to spend time with my family and friends, and I love to scrapbook my life adventures to have for years to come as keepsakes.