Elissa Gomez, a Political Science major and History minor, has exchanged the tree-lined sidewalks and brick townhouses of Forest Hills, Queens, for the gabled windows and street cafes of Paris.
Gomez will spend the spring 2013 studying Western European history, with a focus on the Pax Britannica period from 1815-1914, while continuing to develop her French language skills at l'Université Paris 8 – Vincennes-Saint Denis. Already a fluent French speaker and writer, Gomez said full immersion into the language and culture was her greatest motivation for studying abroad in France.
The elder daughter of a computer programmer and an elementary school assistant principal, with family roots in Cuba, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Gomez said the educational value of travel and intercultural exploration were instilled in her from the start. “My entire life, the importance of education has been emphasized,” she said. “I am a third-generation college student. I have traveled since I was young and have always loved to study different cultures and peoples.”
Gomez decided to attend John Jay College with the encouragement of her mother, who is an ardent supporter of the New York City public school system.
“I felt that John Jay was the most appropriate college to attend for my interests, which are political science and law,” said Gomez. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in political science at Columbia University.
In addition to language and European history, Gomez is eager to learn more about the Enlightenment Period and her favorite philosopher, Voltaire, because she admires his passion for freedom of speech, religion and trade.
“I’m excited to learn about Voltaire and many others while in France from a completely different perspective from which I have been learning in the United States. Finally, I have never traveled or lived apart from my family, so I believe this is an opportunity to learn how to be less dependent and gain maturity,” said Gomez.