Rafael Vasquez: Miami as Text 2023

Live Bait Photo by Vasquez Industries

Deering Hike Photo by Vasquez Industries

Breaking Free

Walking into the well-lit room I excitedly great Professor Bailey and my fellow classmates, feeling this is the beginning of a new chapter in my college experience. Sensing the excitement in the room, everyone is planning their flights, hotels, and travel plans. Whenever the door opens it’s a new possibility of a friend for the long journey up ahead. But this class is distinctly different, where my other courses share similar majors and career paths our group shares different careers all united with to goal of traveling to France. Bringing a total group of strangers closer together and with a feeling of community. 

            I chose France to connect with the history and culture of a place that has seen some of the most important events throughout history. However It’s a combination of all things that drew me in from architecture, art, and nature that makes living there such a unique experience. Being an avid lover of the environment, I look forward to climbing up the alps and experiencing its natural beauty firsthand. A peak of elevation and beauty unknown to me, in Florida’s flat landscape. The long days of adventure and walking exhausted around the city excite me as I’m able to learn about how the seemingly simple buildings or paintings have a profound and interesting backstory. A journey of discovery and deeper thinking is what makes the ordinary into a truly magical experience. I experienced this firsthand with Professor Bailey’s Miami class where I learned about the multi-dimensional layers of history, nature, and art that I never knew existed within my own city. I’m excited to see the parallels between the American and French culture.

            Having previously traveled to France on two occasions, I can confidently say that the time I spent there was not nearly enough to fully appreciate and study the culture. However, every visit left me yearning to explore more. Admittedly when it comes to France, I have mixed feelings being in a country where I’m not a native speaker, its a challenge I must learn to overcome. However, I also believe my time abroad will serve as a great reminder that we always have areas for growth and learning in our lives.

Like a coming-of-age story, this will be an amazing journey that will broaden my world view and help further grow in my journey through life. I fondly remember my 2022 experience travel abroad in the UK, where I was able to connect and grow to love a total group of stranger’s, that I today can call family. However when I first began the journey it wasn’t easy for me to trust in others and be myself, and its was through an extraordinary group of loving people that parts of my soul healed and were made new. This is the transformative power of education and human connection, in seeing ourselves not as what we study of our year in college but as individuals with a unique story and personality. Which I seek to further cultivate during my second opportunity to travel abroad.

Pre Departure UK 22 (Shot by Rafael Vasquez -Vasquez Industries)

            Teacher and students’ side by side, with a common goal of learning and personal connection where the world is our classroom. It’s through interpersonal experiences and physical places that the magic of education fully spreads it wings and soars. In an ever-increasing digital landscape of work, school, and personal life there’s no better way to reset than going outside of that artificial environment and into the real world. I choose to be in the honors college and study abroad to break free from this mold, and experience something more. Very often we go to a class and then go home or to our activities. I noticed that often people in their daily rush forget that it’s the interpersonal connections and friendships formed during this special time in our lives that are often the most nostalgic and important looking back. This is what I sought to cultivate when choosing to study abroad, in building a community that through a program becomes more than just people in a course but almost family. In this I hope to collect many memories and experiences that I will cherish as I’m old and grey. 

“United in Cause”Professor Sutton and Bailey

(Shot By Rafael Vasquez, Vasquez industries)

I know that for some of you this may be the first time abroad and going into a new country. I too felt the fear, jitters, and personal insecurities when I first ventured out to the UK. However I learned to trust my peers, open my heart to the experience, and be willing to try and fail. If there was one thing professor’s Bailey and Suttons class both taught me was to be myself and cultivate human interaction and experiences. Two unique professors, that life put in front of me to learn and grow from i know there is much I can still learn from them and so can you. So as I venture out I take this time to talk to you not as a student completing a reflection, but as a human and pioneer in the field on my own life story to tell you open you heart to this exciting new chapter.

We were total strangers brought together by a united goal to learn and travel. “ISA was on film duty”

UK 22

Shot By Isa. M

Radiator Springs Flow “EXTRAORDINARY” / Art deco district

Miami in Miami 22

Shot By John William Bailey

New Memories Under Construction

France 23

(Shot By Rafael Vasquez Industries)

Author: Rafael Vasquez

Rafael vasquez, I'm a current Senior at Florida International University majoring in Psychology. I seek to explore the cultural, social, and political roots that influence the current city of Miami. Looking beneath the surface I seek to bring to light the stories, of the people and culture that have shaped this modern day metropolis. Being born and raised in Miami there is much history and culture I wasn't aware was an integral part of my city. My aim is for you to follow me along this journey of discovery as I share with you my experience in learning about the authentic and real part of Miami. My stories will cover a range from philosophy, psychology,and history that combines all my fovorite academic disciplines into the art of education and story telling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: