When Jocelyn Ortiz was deciding on where she would study abroad during her 2018 Fall semester, she knew she “really wanted to live somewhere that had the same relaxed mentality that California (where I’m from) has, and I wanted to be close to the beaches and the outdoors.” Ortiz, a History Major in the College with a Minor in Jewish Civilization Arabic, ended up choosing the University of Sydney in Australia. Her initial hope to balance her academic workload with outdoor activities was fulfilled when she learned to surf just off of Sydney’s famous coasts.
While at the University of Sydney, Ortiz participated in a number of on and off campus activities. She worked as a Residential Assistant at Urbanest Student Accommodations, a housing service for visiting students, and participated in the University’s international student society.
As a student of U-Syd, Ortiz pursued her interest in activism and the law. “I learned a lot about indigenous history and culture, and the ongoing fight against inequality within Australia (Aboriginal people often have less access to education, job opportunities, and welfare services). I met a lot of Aboriginal activists and was surprised not only by their persevering attitude but also by the fact that they were very much in tune with their culture and still habitually practiced traditional Aboriginal cultural activities such as dance, art-making, and community building.” Ortiz was able to engage with these local actors through the University of Sydney’s Indigenous Studies Program.
When she wasn’t learning about indigenous social justice, Ortiz made sure to immerse herself in Sydney’s cultural and social life. “Most Thursday nights I was able to make my way down to the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge area and watch the sunset. There’s a great national botanic garden on the other side of the Opera House and my friends and I would take a walk through all of the different flower and tree gardens.” At the Opera House, Ortiz saw the first rap artist to ever perform at the venue. In September, “I saw Skepta, a Britist Grime artist from London who sold out the event.”
Back on the Georgetown campus, Ortiz is an editor for the feminist-literature magazine, Bossier, and a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, an undergraduate foreign service sorority. Ortiz is also a research intern at the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), where she works with PILPG’s founder and president, Dr. Paul Williams. “There, I work on helping Dr. Williams and his pro-bono legal/research team with research pertaining to war crimes prosecution, transitional justice negotiations, and human rights violations.” At the Center for Jewish Civilization, Ortiz is a Teaching Assistant for Professor Jessica Roda’s and Father Patrick Desbois’ class, “The Geopolitics of the Holocaust.”