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College of Arts and Sciences

Emily Tavarez: 'I left Europe with a new sense of self'

May 24, 2016

Emily Tavarez

Sociology & Latina/o Studies

Rahway, NJ

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?

Going abroad to Cork, Ireland, was definitely my turning point. I came back senior year with a different perspective on the time and effort I would spend on activities outside of academics. I came back and became a Cornell Abroad Ambassador in order to try to increase the diversity of the students that Cornell sends abroad and even dedicated my first semester to researching some of the reasons why, nationally, diversity abroad is lacking.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

I will treasure my freshman year the most. A lot of my closest friends are from my first year at Cornell, and if it weren't for some of the beginning struggles that I faced as a first-generation college student and Latina at Cornell, I wouldn't have been aware of the activities available for me.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

I value my liberal arts education for putting an emphasis on an international experience. When I was looking for programs abroad as a sophomore, it used to bother me that Arts & Sciences was very gung-ho about me embedding myself in the culture of the host country in which I was visiting. However, if it wasn't for this requirement, my abroad experience in Ireland would have not been the same. I left Europe with a new sense of self and a feeling that I left a part of me in Ireland. It has given me the desire to not just travel after I graduate, but to live in another country if given the opportunity.