My name is Eliyaim Gonzalez and I graduated May of 2013 with a BA in International Relations and a Certificate in European Studies. I joined the program after noticing that a lot of my coursework involving European culture, economy, and history, would allow me to apply for this great certificate program. Being born in Miami from Colombian parents, my family encouraged me to travel and learn about other cultures and continents. Throughout college, I developed a huge interest in Europe and was able to meet students who shared that same interest and introduced me to what the program offered, which was a cultural, historic, and political view of Europe and how it has developed into what it is today. During my last semester at FIU, I was able to work as an intern at the Consulate of Spain in Miami and apply a lot of the things I learned throughout the program’s coursework to do the job and further understand the function and purpose of having consulates and embassies around the world. I had the privilege of helping the consulate in its task of registering over 20,000 applicants with their pursuit of gaining Spanish citizenship under “La Ley de Memoria Histórica” or “The Historical Memory Law”. This law was enacted in order to allow the descendants of those driven out of the country during the Spanish Civil war, to become nationals of Spain, which I later learned further details about in class.
One of my favorite things about the certificate program was the European Identity Colloquial. We had guest professors come in and lecture on different topics including French Cinema and its impact on French society, separation of church and state in Poland, and human rights agenda of the European Union. Each student was also given the opportunity to write a research paper on a topic of their interest involving European Identity and I had the pleasure of researching LGBT rights within and outside the EU. Because of this experience and the great knowledge the professors involved exposed us to, I feel as though I have a clearer view of what it is I’d like to do with my degree, which is to work for the EU someday, and highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in learning about Europe to apply.