Meghan Marrero-Beyra is a junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in marketing at FIU. Currently involved in an internship where she works at an accounting firm as a staff accountant. After graduating, she aspires to earn a job at an accounting firm while obtaining her CPA license and begin studying for the LSAT. She dreams of going to law school to become a tax attorney and earn an LLM in taxation. Meghan was born in Hialeah and comes from a Cuban immigrant family. She finds joy in doing activities such as photography, traveling, working out, and spending time with her dog.
Encounter As Text
“Liberty & Cultural Immersion” By Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU, January 27, 2023
There are so many reasons to travel and study away, but for me, it is invigorating and exciting to go abroad. It is more than just a vacation; it is a taste of living as a local and experiencing other cultures. Becoming fully immersed in their ways of life and the way they compare to how we live. This experience will be one of the first true tastes of freedom for me in many regards. Like a bird-setting flight, but this one is heading to France. Nothing will compare to the relationships and bonds we build when exploring other countries and cultures with people we otherwise would never know. All of these encompass my reasons for going away.
I have always loved photography to me it is a symbol of capturing short glimpses of time and freezing them forever to be able to look back upon them. They are glimpses into the past and what can soon be the future much like this experience will be for me. I will be capturing moments in the present that I will forever carry in my perception of the future. I am excited to go abroad and be able to capture moments that will last a lifetime. There will never really be another time in my life when I will be able to leave for over a month for Europe. Which is both exciting and nerve-racking. It is exciting because I will be traveling around Europe with my best friend making memories that are once in a lifetime. We will be able to have these unique memories that we will never forget. Being able to tell our families and our future kids about our worldly experiences is another aspect that I am excited about. Being able to share experiences that are so unique to us will not just be another trip where we just scratch the surface of the culture and customs of a country, we will live like the locals. The bonds we will make with the other 19 students in our class along with the professor is another aspect that will be like no other.
Though this trip will be fun and exciting some aspects are a bit nerve-racking. For instance, I have never been on a plane without my family so this will be the first time flying without them. I have also never spent so much time away from my family or home. We have always been a small family which is great because we have quality time together, but that also makes leaving them so much harder. Even though it is not that long of a time in retrospect you just never know what can happen. Though I know my family is very excited for me which is all I could ask for it is just that I will miss them so much. Though their love and support make it that much easier.
In many regards, this trip will be the first authentic taste of freedom for me. First, I paid for this trip all by myself with the money I made from working. But even more than that it is the first time I will be away from home for a long period. Coming from an immigrant Cuban family as not only the youngest (the baby) but also the only girl can be difficult sometimes. A lot of things are expected of me, and my family can sometimes be very overprotective of me. So going away for a long period to another country across the Atlantic is not always the easiest for them or me. This trip will be a big transition for me since I am not used to living so away from family and being able to go venture through other countries with my friends. It is a freedom I could never really experience at another time in my life.
France study abroad for me will be like living in another world. The culture and expectations are and will be so different from those I am used to in Miami. It is the one time in my life when I can truly live with no obligations. I can just pick up and leave. There is a sense of relief in that. Being able to live life so differently across the Atlantic will be memories to cherish.
Enlightenment as Text
“A New Awakening” by Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU, February 12, 2023
The Enlightenment period was very revolutionary for many reasons and for many people. The idea of how religious faith and social systems being the main ideas of how life works. The ways in which society used to be run were not the most conventional and led to many being suppressed. The way in which no one could truly speak up or speak against those in high status or high power in society. Led to many never having a voice or being able to speak up about things that were truly important and necessary to be heard.
The Enlightenment was very much necessary to occur and led to our life being how it is now. People speaking up about philosophy, scientific methods, and against oppression from those in power. The Enlightenment was most especially prevalent in France. With the French Revolution there was a very dramatic shift within art and writing. French art was a very important and invigorating symbol for the French people. It was a big part of how art and architecture became how it is today. Before much of the art and architecture were mainly known by the Italians and Romans for their beginnings, but after the Enlightenment the French made many of the main symbols and examples for others to follow. Most especially with revolution, government ideals, and philosophy. Which is why much of America today is gravely impacted by the French and the French Revolution.
The American revolution was influenced and aided by the French. Which is a big part as to why of all countries France is one that America has never gone to war with. Even many of our government ideals are influenced by the French. For instance, in our government ideas of the three branches of government were influenced by French philosopher Montesquieu. The idea of having checks and balances to ensure no one in power has too much. To protect the people. Which is very important for many of the ideals that we live by. For instance, otherwise many of the basic rights that we take advantage of today would be unheard of if it were not for the Enlightenment. The idea of freedom of speech is one that was never heard of under the oppression of a monarchy. Many would be controlled in their everyday lives by the king in power. They had to pay many taxes without the exchange of a say or power in their lives.
However, the ideas of religion and scientific method I believe do not have to be mutually exclusive. They can be used interchangeably many of their ideals are similar and stem from the same root ideas. Though there does have to be a balance I believe if there is too much of one and not of the other there will be issues. Many that believe in the scientific method solely do not have the security in a higher power to believe in or a coherent way of life. Since science is always changing and new things are constantly being discovered. These are reasons as to why the Enlightenment was so influential and influenced the way of life we live now. Without it our current ideas of life would be so different.
Enlightenment Period: Thinkers & Ideas – History. https://www.history.com/topics/european-history/enlightenment.
Historic Miami as Text
“Fruits of our Labor” By Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU at Modesto A. Maidique Campus, March 1, 2023
The history of where we come from plays a large part in who we are and who we become. Many say that history creates and provides a feeling of identity for oneself. History aids in understanding the complexities in the world and gives a sense of possibilities for the future. This is especially true of Miami and its history. It is a melting pot of ideas and cultures. So many have and continue to migrate to Miami. As they come and stay, they learn the stories of others which plan a role in their own stories and the stories of the city. Much like my family who came from Cuba determined to leave the dictatorship and live in a country where we can learn and grow. Being able to create a better future for the next generation of our family. Miami was the pinnacle place for my family to go. It is unlike any other city there is diverse backgrounds and language which make it that much more inclusive to newcomers. A place where accents do not truly exist because everyone has a different accent based on where they are from. Allowing for more inclusivity because we all have something different to bring to the table. These aspects play a large part in the building of Miami’s past and create an even more imprint on the immersive and explosive future of the city.
What one first sees is not the full story. This is especially true of the art piece in the city called “Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels.” While it is true that the artwork is in fact a broken bowl and arranged pieces of oranges it symbolizes more than this. It is symbolic of the public art program the city continues to endorse. Providing many Hispanics, the ability to produce art for an audience and providing them a stage for which their art can shine. The artwork looks simple enough in concept but there is much more thought that went on. The artists, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, focused on using oranges and chaos as their focal point to emphasize on Miami and how it makes order of the constant and apparent disorder of the city. It sounds almost counterintuitive, and it is. But that is a fairly accurate description of Miami. As we continue to have more and more incoming migrants and changing times the city and its people make sense of the normal disorder that is the city. There is never a real normal Miami that is just not the way it was constructed or founded. Miami has always been a safe haven for many immigrants which comes with its natural disorders. Due to there being no one culture to set a sense of standard or way of being. For better or for worse this construct is what makes Miami the colorful and lively city it is. From its scattered origins that come from all across the globe. To its unpredictable future, we continue to have endless possibilities to grow the city.
“Why Study History?” Why Study History, https://www.wpunj.edu/cohss/departments/history/whystudyhistory.html#:~:text=History%20helps%20one%20to%20understand,us%20what%20we%20are%20today.
Vizcaya as Text
“Frozen Beauty” By Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU at Modesto A. Maidique Campus, March 19, 2023
Not only is Vizcaya beautiful, but for me, it has a little of a deeper meaning. The day we visited Vizcaya was the five-year anniversary of the first time I had been to Vizcaya. When I went last it was to take my quinces photos. I initially fell in love with the architectural designs and the way that Vizcaya in my opinion has the perfect blend of nature and human influence. While there is such influence and human manipulation that created Vizcaya there still seems to be a balance in the way it was constructed. From the greenery that blooms throughout all the construction that was made. Within the gardens and the home. To the beautiful view past the boat. Personally, Vizcaya creates almost this sense of tranquility and beauty within the busy and blooming city of Miami.
Coming back now five years later I was able to appreciate its construction that much more and understand it on a deeper level. Learning more about James Deering’s influence on coral gables due to his architectural choices within Vizcaya. He wanted to bring a piece of Italy to this tropical anomaly that we have. When constructing Vizcaya James did not know how Miami would bloom around his home he was consumed with wanting to have a piece of Europe in the United States. What is most fascinating to me are the gardens and the music room. The gardens create this feeling as though you are separated from society, yet it can be no further from the truth since you are in the middle of a large city. But the way in which they are constructed the man-made architecture will allow you to be all consumed and it transports you to feel like you are in another time and place. When Vizcaya although it does have similar looks to most homes in Coral Gables due to its immense influence. Vizcaya still looks so different from anything else. Due to its blend of Italian and tropical natures, nothing compares to its immense beauty. The gardens have focal points to draw all your attention away from everything and consume you. Whether it is the beautiful bridge that the monkeys used to inhabit, to the maze you wind through, or the beautiful fountain that duplicates its beauty by reflection upon the water it captures. It is truly like being in another world at another time. In addition, the music room simply takes your breath away. It is sad that none of the instruments have been played, but it adds to the sense of Vizcaya being frozen in time. To me, the most marvelous thing is the chandelier dangling in the center of the room. It truly takes all your attention making it quite difficult to focus on anything else even though it is surrounded by such beautiful rococo artwork. The chandelier has such complex features, but somehow creates such a simple beauty with its combinations of flowers and gold it is every romantic dream chandelier. Vizcaya itself has so many elements that makeup what it is. It has truly withstood the toll of time and continues to shine in its beauty.
“Vizcaya.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/place/Vizcaya-province-Spain.
Revolution As Text
“Altering Future” by Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU, April 10, 2023
There cannot be tranquility without chaos. No peace without war. These were concepts I felt exemplified why the French Revolution had to be as extreme as it was. While there were instances of situations I do not completely agree with, such as Louis Charles being held captive and tortured, but honestly it is not my place to judge. While some may argue that this was wrong, and they should have killed the prince in the beginning without making him suffer. I can understand why the people did what they did, still personally I cannot condone their actions, but I also am not in a place to judge them. I do not know what it is like to live under a monarchy where you are generationally taken advantage of and never able to move up in class. Many were stuck in the positions they were born into. Always seeing the noble class rich and having a joyful life without consequences for the misery they placed on the poor. Many of the poor were starving and had to watch their children starving and in terrible living conditions while seeing the nobles and monarchs constantly taking from them. With these terrible circumstances I can understand how desperate and enraged the people were to make a change as quickly and as permanently as possible. In many ways the young prince represented all these quarrels that the people had with the monarchy which on a level I can understand with the stories I was told by my family of what it was like in Cuba with Fidel as dictator. For the French, the prince was an outlet for their rage. They tortured him in many ways in which they felt they were tortured. Though he technically was innocent to the grievances the people had because he did not choose his life or position much the same could be said of the poor, neither chose their position in life. Whether the prince chose his life or not he was destined to take his father’s position as King and was likely to repeat the same mistakes as all the other Kings before him. With making no real changes to make the ways of life more equal.
It is also not my place to judge because if the French were not so extreme in their tactics there many have been not real change. Which would be devastating for many different countries and reasons, not only the monarchy in French but the way of life in many countries including our own. If it were not for the French revolution the concepts of universal human rights and feminism would not have been introduced which in combination with its impact on the US Revolution impact me greatly. I would not be able to study to fulfill my aspirations of becoming a lawyer. First, I had fallen in love with learning about our history and the events leading up to the US Revolution. The way our laws about equality (though it is not equal still it is still progress from the past) and our legal system work fascinated me which influenced my passion to pursue law. I say this for context because while reading the Lost King of France I knew that it was about the French revolution which I know from my love of history influenced the US to be much of the country it is today. Which is why I believe I am more understanding of the events which transpired since I knew it was a necessary evil for there to be much change in the world. The prince represented past and future generations of monarchy and entrapment that had to be stopped for a better future for the many.
“French Revolution.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2 Apr. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/event/French-Revolution.
World War II As Text
“Altering Perspectives” by Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU, April 10, 2023
While many wish the past to never happened. It is often very necessary to learn and evolve. Which is predominately true within the context of WWII. The way in which Saving Private Ryan depicted the war was very jarring and real for me. While I know that any war is devastating and I usually do not tend to shy away from blood, the emotions, most especially within Saving Private Ryan truly struck a chord with me. The fact that many soldiers had the idea of who they were fighting to save. The ideas of a collective, Americans and their future families, but within this film it is a singular person. The idea of sacrificing more people to save one person is difficult, I am not sure I would have been able to do it. I understand the importance of all his brothers dying, saving him let his mother have at least one son to hold on to. Though it begs the question of if life is worth it, this cannot be truly evaluated in any instance. The idea of weighing the value of one life over another is almost like killing the other soldier themselves. That guilt they must have carried. The guilt the person who was saved must have felt everyday they lived. Grateful for the opportunity they were given, but always ensuring that the sacrifice was worth it.
Band of brothers was also educational, while it was a little more lighthearted which truly makes a difference in the mood and experience of the watcher. It was still very moving. There were two instances in this show which struck me the most which was the reenactment of D-day and the relationship between the soldiers. The scene of D-day truly struck me, fear the soldiers must have felt and the number of lives that were taken without being able to really fight for their country yet. They were bodies on a plane that went down. The training that they spent so much time on was basically useless, which is so sad to say. Many were just boys trying to do what was right. It reminded me much of how life is, no matter how much we plan things will not always turn out the way we plan them to. The soldiers train to go into combat with one another which is going to build bonds between the men, but I did not predict the way they look out for one another. One scene that struck me is when one of the men was told to run up the hill and all the other men in his unit followed in suit with him. It truly is a brotherhood. The way soldiers are trained and the experiences they go through are very life altering for better or worse they will never be the same person that they walked into basic training as. It was moving and heartwarming to see how the different relationships form and the way the men look out for one another even often times without saying a work.
Maus was very different. I had never read a comic book before, and I truly enjoyed it. The way in which the son encompassed his father’s experience in the time leading up to and during WWII was moving. It was a very different perspective especially in contrast to the others we were assigned. I was able to gain the perspective from someone who was not a soldier or an American, but a Polish Jew. The way that he dealt with all the cards that life had given him. The way he was able to move on (obviously not entirely, I do not believe you could ever be the same). The book not only depicts a survivor’s tale, but also a mans way to move on and cope with all that life dealt him. The combination of Maus, Band of Brothers, and Saving Private Ryan truly put into perspective how insignificant many of the issues we face today are. It reminded me of how divided our country and world currently is even though we have so much in common. It puts into perspective how much worse things could and have been and that we must remember to learn from our past because if not we are doomed to repeat it.
Deering Estate as Text
“Preserving and Preserving” by Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU, April 17, 2023
Personally, I found the Deering Estate enchanting. There are so many different elements of history within the home and the land it inhabits. While at a quick glance the home looks like it is influenced by Spanish architecture there is so much more. The Deering Estate’s historical significance has played a vital role in the immigration stories of the United States. The estate was home to a community of workers, many of whom were immigrants from Cuba and the Caribbean. These workers played a vital role in the development and maintenance of the estate. They worked in the gardens, tended to the animals, and performed other tasks that were essential to the functioning of the estate. It is so interesting to see their influences in the structures and décor of the estate.
The influence of immigrants on the Deering Estate is still visible today. Many of the workers who once lived and worked on the estate have left their mark on the property. The gardens, which are still maintained today, are a testament to the hard work and dedication of these workers. The plants and flowers that grow in the gardens reflect the diversity of the immigrant community that once lived on the estate. Not to mention the Tequesta who lived on the land years before Deering did.
While researching the estate one of the most notable events in my opinion that it held was the Miami International Map Fair. The fair showcased maps from around the world, including many maps that depicted the journeys of immigrants to the United States. These maps served as a reminder of the challenges faced by immigrants, as well as the contributions they have made to American society. I found this very interesting especially coming from an immigrant family it was interesting to learn more about other families’ experiences of their journey to Miami.
What stood out to me the most is when we went to the mud in the estate. We could witness firsthand the different elements of the ecosystem that it inhabits. Seeing the shells from the Tequesta on the land was very surreal and is unlike anything else I have witnessed. There is a diverse range of ecosystems, including mangrove forests, hardwood hammocks, and saltwater marshes. These ecosystems provide a sanctuary for many species of plants and animals, some of which are endangered. Including my favorite animal otters. The preservation of these habitats ensures that future generations of immigrants will have the opportunity to appreciate and learn from the natural world. Which is so interesting to see the way in which many people have worked to combat the damage that previous generations have imposed on the land. Preserving the division between the salt and fresh water was incredibly interesting to me. The way in which Bailly discussed the conservation project made me have a little hope that our society may be able to work to fix at least some of the damage we have imposed on nature.
The estate serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by immigrants, as well as the contributions they have made to American society. The influence of immigrants is visible in the architecture, gardens, and natural habitats of the estate. The Deering Estate is a place of sanctuary and celebration, where the diversity of the immigrant community is celebrated and preserved for future generations.
Departure as Text
“New Horizons” By Meghan Marrero-Beyra of FIU, April 20, 2023
Now that I have completed the spring portion of study abroad and I am preparing to shortly depart for Europe it makes the experience all the more surreal for me. It honestly has just really hit me that I am leaving for 7 weeks in about 8 weeks. It reinforces how excited I am to go on this adventure. I will never have another opportunity to go on a trip like this again. Being able to leave for such a long period of time to another continent does not appear to be something I can do soon, so I am going to enjoy and savor every moment of this experience. To be fully emersed in another country’s culture will be so exciting to be able to live with the French not only just experience the country on a short trip but actually live there for a month.
I am still so excited to expand my photography portfolio with such a different landscape and atmosphere. One thing I have changed my mind about is that I am thinking of doing a vlog and setting up a photography account to start when I am away. The vlog would solely be for personal reasons. But the photography account I have been contemplating for a while and I figured that this trip would be a great excuse to start it and expand my skill set. Experimenting with different elements of photos and mediums. Along with capturing different cultural elements from my surroundings.
I am still very nervous to fly without my family, but I am excited about the freedom that this trip offers. Traveling to different countries with my friends building the best stories and experiences to share. While in the process of finalizing bookings for this trip, I do feel a sense of accomplishment. I only have to think of only my friends and me when booking the itinerary. It is all up to what the three of us want to do on the extra days we plan to say and in our free time. It has shown how much in common we have with our preferences in how we want to plan our day. This trip will be one we will never forget. There is also a sense of pride that I have been able to save to finance this trip for myself. I could not be more grateful. I know the extra hours I have put in will pay off when I enjoy this experience that is like no other.
My perspective in France has changed a bit over the course of this spring course. Previously I did not have much knowledge about France and its culture. Other than what I had learned in art history or from what I have seen in tv shows and movies. I feel that I have gained at least a little deeper understanding of what the country and its people are like. They are passionate and stand for their beliefs. Especially a two-year change in the retirement age. They stand up against oppression and what they believe is wrong in ways that they see as fit.
I cannot wait to embark on this journey and experience Europe in another light. And being able to share these experiences and stories.