Camilo Rivera: Miami as Text 2023

Photo by Camila Rivera/ CC by 4.0


Camilo Rivera is a third-year student at Florida International University who is majoring in Political Science and minoring in International Relations. He is a first-generation student attempting to study in the field of law. Camilo is passionate about learning knowledge, such as his favorite philosophers are Plato and Machiavelli. He is ambitious to be a member of the world and as a current student, his task is to learn about different cultures, history, and the order of society. Miami is an extravagant place to begin thy journey, but thy journey has already begun.


Sevilla, Spain. Image by nathan618 from Pixabay

I am extremely excited to go on a trip to España with my other classmates that are also taking the course. I met them all in our first official class and already socialized with some of them, but I am missing to communicate with nearly all of them. Yet there is still enough time and the ones I’ve already talked to seem to be amazing people. Thus, I am eager to go on a whole adventure in Europe with such an awesome group. I believe that a whole trip changes when you go with a group of people that are similar to you. Ambitious students that want to explore. For instance, I already went to Spain with my whole family but not to criticize, it was extremely boring. The weather was too cold, and the only cool things were the architecture of the churches. I also want to say that I went at a young age when I was still immature and had a narrow definition of what’s beautiful in life. Now that I have this second chance to improve my perspective about España and accompanied by an amazing group of students around my age, and the best tour guide in the world Professor Bailly, it’ll be a memorable experience.

            I am in the España Honors Study Abroad to improve my perspective of the world. I want to grow my historical, cultural, and social knowledge. Everyone that I’ve met who knows about the Study Abroad programs had been a motivational push for me to take advantage and join a program. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, just like the prom dance in high school. It is an opportunity to take when it’s ripe because once time goes by, this opportunity will probably never show again. I also want to network with honor students and there is no better way to network with students, than going for a whole month to Europe in a group adventure. This is awesome! The experience of going to Europe and learning a whole different culture can improve my perspective on how a society functions. I believe it is vital for my major career, to learn firsthand, how societies function together in a different culture.

            I believe that my knowledge of España is very general. I am most informed about the Spanish-American war due to my Political Science classes. The most intriguing information that I hold about España is that they colonized Florida and it was gained from them. Also, in the same war, the Philippines was gained from them. España went into a hard decolonization era, from being one of the world’s most prominent superpowers to becoming a crumbling empire. Everyone has different opinions, but I believe that España was similar to the British downfall. Yet they are still significant players in the modern world, but they don’t have the similar influence as they once did. I am aware of the Cristopher Columbus voyage coming from the Spanish monarchal rulers’ decision, and it led to the whole history of America coming into place. I see Cristopher Columbus from a neutral perspective because he was an awful person for the number of things he did to the natives, but thanks to the actions he committed. The timeline in history was able to take place, so Columbus needed to do as he did. Allowing the U.S. to grow into an anti-monarchical power and creating democracy in the world. Therefore, I want to learn more about the important trip of Cristopher Columbus, since it was a critical component of history that led us to where we are now in the world.

            Full-on honesty, when I think about España. The first image that comes into my mind is Don Quixote de la Mancha. I read the book in my high school years, and it is one of the first books that I truly enjoyed, also remember that I considered myself to be immature during those times. So, that is how special the book became in my life. I also had the best Professor for Spanish AP Literature, not to brag but she is the best. The beginning chapters develop his demise, fighting windmills, and concluding with his demise coming back to reality. His heavy armor shows that the physical body is just an excuse, but the strength of one’s soul or willpower is what drives people to their goals. I believe Granada or Sevilla, where the streets are full of antique shops and the roads are made of rocks. It gave me the Don Quixote de la Mancha vibes and I want to re-experience it. The other image that would come to my mind when I think about España is the food because I have the superpower of always being hungry. I’ve tried the Spanish Tapas here in Miami, but I am fully aware that it’ll be way better in España. For example, I am half-Mexican and the Mexican food people try to recreate in Miami, is not the same. Thus, I am eager to try the Spanish food system. How many times do they eat per day? Do they eat a lot in the morning? What is the most common dish?

            In conclusion, I expect to have a wonderful summer. Exploring in depth a whole new culture with student friends, savoring new foods, and learning new history. I want the program of España Study Abroad to teach me valuable information so that I can have an educated discussion in the future with someone from the experience I gained from this program. To become a well-cultivated person and be far away from being an ignorant person. I expect most from the program to network and become close friends with the other honors students going on the trip. I look forward to purchasing some Don Quixote de la Mancha merchandise, from its original creation. I look forward to learning more about the history of Christopher Columbus. I look forward to learning how España maintains its legal or political branches in order. Whereas I want to compare and contrast the U.S.A. and España systems of government.

Deering Estate as Text

 By: Camilo Rivera of FIU at Deering Estate National Park, January 3, 2023

Photo by Camilo Rivera / CC by 4.0

The history of the Deering Estate is important for every Miamian citizen to be cultured about because it goes back to our rich native history roots. The Tequesta are the original Miami Indian natives around the 18th century and their evidence is highly presented in the Deering Estate. One of the major theories about the Tequesta is that the few remaining who survived the plague of diseases that were brought by the colonizers left with the Spanish settlers to Cuba. Yet the Deering Estate is known from other rich historical information about Miami. As I mentioned, without many natives to work for the colonizers there began importing Bohemian slaves. There are art structure marks in the house of Charles Deering from Bohemians workers.

Charles Deering is a fundamental character in the history of Miami because he was one of the very first European settlers to bring his wealth to Miami. The top-left image from the image collage I attached shows his house being on the left side, which highlights the multicultural structure that has been brought to Miami. The roof structure is Spaniard and one of the structures of the window is Islamic (Onion shape). The multicultural influence has begun at such an early stage of our Miami history, which later developed in creating Miami as one of the most multicultural places in the world. I consider the house of Charles Deering to be a mini castle because it has everything, such as a hidden vault, art room, lighthouse posts, wine room, shooting ranger, and beautifully designed pillars. The right house building next to the Charles Deering house has its share of interesting history, as it was the first hotel created between key west and south Florida. But with the creation of the railroad, took the business of the hotel bankrupt and Charles Deering made its first step to developing its history by purchasing the hotel. But such thy rich elite that came from Europe could not live in a hotel; therefore, the main mini castle was created by the Bohemians.

The most spectacular thing that I enjoyed about the Charles Deering house were the hidden vault and the lighthouse, which I also included images of them. The lighthouse directs boats to enter the channel properly into his property and it is a stunning sight for anyone to visit. The faculty responsible for the maintenance of the national park have done a speechless job in sustaining the park. The other memorable part of Charles Deering’s house is the hidden vault, which held an uncountable variety of different wines.

The Deering Estate Park is unique. In the sense of its rich history and its present protection of the environment. Its history of being freshwater still strives with the exceptions of some saltwater contaminations. Yet the mangrove forest and dune system have been a positive impact in preserving and succeeding to maintain the freshwater in the Deering Estate Park. The ecosystem area is one of the natural places that Miami has left to show off, as it has exceptional wetland biodiversity with corals, sponges, algae, and endangered bird species. It is a wonderful experience to go as a student and learn about our Miami-rooted history and to also go as a hiker and experience the amazing wildlife it has to offer.

Author: camilorivera04

I am Political Science Major, with an International Relations Minor and in a pre-law track.

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