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Leslie Sotomayor Zoebisch

Study Abroad and Research in Havana and Santiago de Cuba
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Leslie Sotomayor Zoebisch

Leslie Sotomayor

Major: Women’s Studies, Fine Art (Painting and Drawing)
Minor: African Studies, Latino Studies and Latin American Studies

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Both of these opportunities have been made possible through the academic, artistic and financial support and encouragement of professors and faculty mentors here at Penn State.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My research topic was about the Arab migration into Cuba and their footprints that have marked culture and society. I specifically looked at themes of race, gender, religion, art, and architecture in Cuban society and the overlapping influences of migrant groups primarily from Lebanon, Syria and Palestine since the mid 1800’s. I had the opportunity to learn from scholars in the field from the University of Havana and the Cuban Arab Cultural Center and Historical Society as well as from other artistic organizations. This research topic is an umbrella theme for many layers of understanding the impact of the Arab community in Cuban culture and the influences and diversity of migrant groups in Cuba and abroad.

“This experience has impacted my academic and artistic paths significantly, adding a layer of academic, testimonial, and historical context to my research and creative spaces.”

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has impacted my academic and artistic paths significantly, adding a layer of academic, testimonial, and historical context to my research and creative spaces.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have plans of pursuing graduate studies in Fine Art and a doctorate in research, using this exploratory field work as a basis for further work both academically and artistically.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I recommend fully engaging in your interests and fields of study. I am a firm believer that my motivation for my work is due to the inspiration I find in my studies. My yearning to learn, bridge parts of my history and life, and to see the interconnectedness are all important for understanding larger global contexts.

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