Beatriz Muelas: My Miami Final Reflection as Text 2022

Betsy Hotel Miami Beach“, Picture taken by Melanie Rodriguez

This Miami in Miami class taught me so much about the history of the city I grew up in. Most people living in Miami don’t realize or notice the statues or famous monuments that explain the history of this remarkable city. After taking a semester with Professor John Bailly, I was shocked to learn that there are many structures and buildings that were architecturally influenced by Europe including Spain, Italy, and France. I have lived in Miami for over ten years and I never once stopped to think about the history here and now I finally learned a small part of the rich history in this wonderful city. 

My two favorite destinations that we travelled to were: South Miami Beach and Chicken Key. The reason these two destinations were my favorite was because I got to learn a lot about Miami’s architecture and Miami’s hurricane effects on society. I was mind-blown when I saw the amount of trash that collected in Chicken Key and I felt an instant need to help the environment in which we are born in. I also learned a lot about Miami’s uniqueness in architecture and structure. I also did not know anything about Miami as a city before I arrived here and I was struck when I found out that the famous Versace was assassinated in this city. As a class, we also visited many areas I never visited before like the Betsy Hotel creating a ball in between both buildings, shown in the image demonstrated above. 

These trips gave me a clear image of what Miami was like before the 21st century. Another field trip that was also very impactful was when we travelled to Overtown. I was very interested to learn about the Lyric Theatre in Overtown and to learn about the different areas that the African-Americans were not seen as equals, in which I found ridiculous that there were specific areas they are allowed in. I was also very interested about the Jewish Museum we visited in Miami Beach that also opened my mind up when I learned about the limitation Jews had and the devastating life conditions they were limited to living in. 

Another thing I can’t believe I didn’t know after living here for more than ten years was the Miami Metromover. I knew there was a Metro in Miami, but I did not know there were mini metros in Brickell that could take you around the area and more north like Bayside very quickly for a reasonable, cheap price. 

The history of Miami is very impactful since there is a reason from the past that explains why things are the way they are today. For example, the Miami River which can be found in Downtown Miami is very polluted and dangerous for people to swim in. The reason for this was because Henry Flagler’s hotel called “Royal Palm Hotel” dumped all of it’s trash in this river which created pollution and damaged one of Miami’s most beautiful areas. I was shocked to learn this and glad that I did because now I know not to swim there. 

I am also grateful for this class and my decision to take it because I finally learned about contemporary art and found out that I really enjoy looking at it and attending art galleries in Miami. I believe art is a way to express one’s opinions and thoughts discreetly where others can interpret it in a different way and I think this is beautiful. 

Author: beamuelas

I am currently a sophomore attending Florida International University. I am studying psychology and I aspire to learn about how different cultures and environments affect people's mindsets and to help them overcome any societal issues they may be experiencing. I was born in Chile but I am originally from Spain. I have lived in Costa Rica for three years of my life and came to Miami with my family as a child. I also enjoy being outdoors and experiencing new things.

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