Alexa Gonzalez

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Arcadia University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Alexa Gonzalez spent four weeks studying abroad at the Institut Catholique de Paris in Paris, France through the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS) during which time her aim was to study the effects of art on the culture of France. However, over the course of her visit, she found her focus shifting to what encompasses being a part of a culture through her interactions with non-citizen residents. Over her stay, Alexa attended classes in French language and French fashion history. During her time in the classroom, Alexa used her French language class not only to deepen her understanding of both spoken and written French but to learn of the differences between not only the French and American cultures but of differences to others.  Her fashion class served a similar purpose as it used fashion as element to discuss the history and culture of France and how it compared to countries such as England and the United States. Over her stay, Alexa visited the regions of Bretagne and Normandy as well as London in the United Kingdom and used her free time to visit centers of history, art, and religion ranging from Mont Saint Michel to the village of Giverny. She also attended spectacles both artistic and national in nature, her favorites of which were the fireworks of the Fête Nationale and a performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth done by Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore. Alexa also enjoyed exploring the variety of local food culture, finding second homes at a boulangerie nearby the Institut and La Rotonde, where the artists and writers of the 1920s spent their nights. Her time in Paris has strengthened not only Alexa’s language skills but her cultural understanding, tools she hopes to put to use through future work for the FBI and other legal divisions in Europe. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: The Nightmare on Your Street: The Trafficker's Way

In January of 2015, the Arcadia cohort held the event The Nightmare on Your Street: The Trafficker’s Way which allowed attendees the opportunity to learn about human sexual trafficking through a variety of experiences. The experience took place throughout the bottom floor of Grey Towers Castle and began with presentations defining sex trafficking both in the United States and abroad and featuring Dr. Jeanne Buckley, professor of the course ‘Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History’, and staff members from the residential rehabilitation program for trafficked women known as Dawn’s Place, one of whom was once a trafficking victim herself. After these presentations, attendees were led through three simulations were student volunteers portrayed the events of sex trafficking in France, Ghana, and Mexico—countries the collaborative team had studied in—during which an interactive simulation was run where attendees were trafficked and asked to traffic others, illustrating the multiple incarnations of a trafficking victims life. Finally, attendees were broken up into groups and were presented with questions to prompt discussions on sex trafficking, their perceptions, and what we can do as a whole to end the practice.