Maria Bracamonte is a junior majoring in Business Administration in Finance with a minor in Business Analytics at the Florida International University. She aspires to develop her expertise in the field to combat the scarcity of financial knowledge and advises others to make smart monetary decisions. However, her long-term career goal is to build a company that allows her to give back to the community and offer growth opportunities to minorities in this country. She values academic excellence, community services, and involvement. She has completed more than two hundred hours of services in her community and has participated in and led multiple organizations. She is an active member of the Phoenician Investment Fund, and she is also part of the Honors College Program at FIU. She is passionate about arts, with more than ten years of experience in performing arts: dance and theater. Likewise, she has great admiration for photography, cinema, music, literature, and painting.
Miami Encounter as Text
“Second Home” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU on January 29, 2023.
When I first moved to Miami three years ago, I was unsure of what to expect, and I was afraid of how much my life was about to change. I visited Miami a couple of times before permanently moving here, but I did not know every single part of Miami. I knew about the beautiful beaches, the warm weather, and the diversity, but I was not sure if it would feel like home. I was not familiar with its history or culture, and in terms of the image that Miami conjures in my mind, it was a vibrant and bustling city with a mix of modern skyscrapers and historic architecture. Some of the parts of Miami that I was most familiar with include South Beach, Little Havana, and the Miami Design District.
However, learning about this city was essential to me for a variety of reasons. First, it will allow me to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the place I will now call home. This understanding can come in the form of knowledge about the history, culture, and current events of the city. By learning about the origins and evolution of the city, I can gain a sense of identity and pride in the community. Furthermore, learning about one’s city can also lead to a greater sense of civic engagement and responsibility. When individuals have a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing their community, they are more likely to take an active role in addressing them. Therefore, being part of the Miami in Miami class was the perfect opportunity to fulfill this goal.
Thanks to my involvement in this class, I discovered that Miami is a city rich in history, dating back to the early thousands of years with indigenous tribes and the 1800s when American and European pioneers first settled it and build the city with the labor of Caribbeans. Miami’s culture is heavily influenced by its large population of immigrants, particularly those from Latin America and the Caribbean. This has led to the development of a unique blend of cultures and traditions, which can be seen in the city’s food, music, and art. The city is also a popular tourist destination, known for its beaches, nightlife, and attractions such as the Everglades and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
From its early days as a small village to its present-day status as a major metropolis, Miami has undergone many changes and played a significant role in shaping the culture and identity of South Florida. As someone interested in exploring the city’s history, and as for my expectations of class this semester, I hope to keep learning more about the people, places, and events that have shaped Miami over the years.
One of the things that I am particularly interested in is discovering the lesser-known places and landmarks that have had a significant impact on the city. While Miami is home to many famous landmarks such as South Beach and Little Havana, many hidden gems are often overlooked. For example, the historic Overtown neighborhood was once a thriving African American community and home to many prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement. I believe that by exploring these lesser-known places and learning about the stories of the people who have lived and worked there, I can gain a deeper understanding of Miami’s history and appreciate the city in a new way.
In conclusion, Miami has become a second home for me, and it has allowed me to grow and find a sense of belonging that I did not have before. I have become a part of the community, and I have developed a deep appreciation for the culture and traditions of Miami. I cannot wait to see what other places are out there to be discovered in this vibrant and exciting city.
Everglades as Text
“Discovering the Everglades: A Transformative Journey” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at The Everglades on January 18, 2023.
Before visiting the Everglades, my understanding of the area was limited to its reputation as a unique and important wetland ecosystem in the United States. I knew that it was a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which meant that it was recognized as an exceptional example of an ecosystem that was worth preserving for future generations. I had a basic understanding of the Everglades as a vast and diverse area that included a mix of freshwater and saltwater habitats, as well as a rich array of plant and animal species.
However, my understanding of the Everglades changed significantly after visiting the area. During the visit, I was struck by the size and complexity of the ecosystem, which extends from Lake Okeechobee in the north to Florida Bay in the south. I was also struck by the diversity of habitats and species that are found in the Everglades, from the lush sawgrass marshes to the mangrove forests and pine rocklands.
One of the most interesting things I learned about the Everglades was the unique hydrology of the area, which is driven by the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee through the region. This flow of water supports a wide range of plant and animal communities, including the wading birds that are so characteristic of the Everglades. I was also impressed by the role that the Everglades plays in supporting the ecology of South Florida, as well as the important role it plays in recharging the Biscayne Aquifer, which provides fresh water to the region.
Despite the importance of the Everglades, I learned that the area has been under threat from a variety of human activities. These activities have disrupted the natural flow of water in the region, causing harm to the ecosystem and threatening the survival of many plant and animal species. However, I was also encouraged by the efforts of local communities and organizations to protect and restore the Everglades. These efforts include the creation of protected areas, such as Everglades National Park, as well as the restoration of critical habitats, such as the mangrove forests and pine rocklands.
My visit to the Everglades provided a transformative experience, one where I was able to disconnect from the bustling chaos of daily life and reconnect with the stillness of nature. The still waters of the slough mirrored the essence of our own being, as I came to understand that like the water, we too can be disturbed by the turbulence of life, but when in a state of calm, we can attain a sense of clarity and peace. This realization emphasized the importance of preserving these precious environments, for they offer not only an escape from the outside world, but also a chance for personal renewal. I left the Everglades with a newfound appreciation for the transformative power of nature and a commitment to preserving its beauty for future generations.
In conclusion, my visit to the Everglades was a transformative experience that helped me to understand the importance of this unique and fragile ecosystem. While there are still many challenges to overcome in protecting and restoring the Everglades, I was inspired by the efforts of those working to protect this exceptional and important area. I believe that by continuing to educate the public and support conservation efforts, we can ensure that the Everglades remains a vital and thriving ecosystem for generations to come.
Coconut Grove as Text
“Exploring the Oldest City” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Coconut Grove on February 12, 2023.
Before my visit to Coconut Grove, my idea of this neighborhood was that it was a rich and upscale area that attracted the wealthy and famous. I imagined it to be a place filled with expensive shops, luxurious homes, and a vibrant nightlife. However, after visiting Coconut Grove, my understanding of the neighborhood changed dramatically. I was surprised to learn that about its rich history that dates back to the 1800s. It was once a separate city and is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhoods of Miami.
The neighborhood was once a small fishing village and was home to working-class Bahamian immigrants that became financially stable and gave back to the community. I was also impressed by the cultural institutions in Coconut Grove, such as the Coconut Grove Playhouse, which has a rich history of hosting performances by local and national artists. The neighborhood is also home to the Plymouth Congregational Church, which was build by one man and it serves as a gathering place for residents.
Likewise, another thing that surprised me during our visit was the diversity of the architecture in the neighborhood, which includes a mix of historic and modern buildings. It is a sorrowful truth that the original community of Coconut Grove has been displaced and that modern buildings are being erected in the neighborhood, erasing its rich history and cultural heritage. As I walked through the streets of Coconut Grove, I was struck by the contrast between the old and the new. The historic homes, schools, and churches that were once the center of the community’s cultural and artistic life were now surrounded by gigantic mansions and modern buildings.
It is unfortunate that the history of Coconut Grove is being erased and that its rich cultural heritage is being lost. The displacement of the original community and the construction of modern buildings reflects the changing times and the pressure of urbanization. The once small fishing village has now become a bustling city, and the original residents have been replaced by a new generation of residents who are more interested in the convenience and comfort of modern living than in preserving the area’s history and cultural heritage.
As I reflect on it, I was moved by the thought that future generations may never know the rich history of Coconut Grove or the contributions of its original residents. The Bahamian Cemetery, where many of the neighborhood’s early Bahamian settlers are buried, was a poignant reminder of the community’s history, but the cemetery is now surrounded by modern buildings and the once peaceful environment has been disrupted by the sounds of traffic and construction.
It is important that we take steps to preserve the history of Coconut Grove and to ensure that future generations will be able to learn about the community’s rich cultural heritage. This can be done by supporting the preservation of historic sites, such as The Barnacle and the Coconut Grove Playhouse, and by promoting the appreciation of the area’s cultural heritage through education and public programs.
In conclusion, my visit to Coconut Grove changed my understanding of the neighborhood in many ways. I came away from my visit to Coconut Grove with a newfound appreciation for the neighborhood. Coconut Grove is a popular tourist destination and attracts visitors from all over the world. The area is known for its natural beauty, charming architecture, and unique cultural experiences, but it is also a neighborhood that is rich in history and cultural diversity. I am saddened by the loss of its rich history and cultural heritage, but I am also hopeful that the community’s legacy will not be forgotten. Overall, my visit to Coconut Grove was a truly enriching experience, Coconut Grove is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Miami.
Coral Gables as Text
“Coral Gables: A Vision of Utopia and its Social Cost” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Coral Gables on February 26, 2023.
Coral Gables, which was meant to be “The City Beautiful,” is a breathtaking city that was built on the ambitious vision of George Merrick. As he shared his vision in his speech, he expresses that “we are not only viewing a big city, but a great city, one truly great! Such a city is balanced. Such a city is of proportion. Such balance, and such proportion as are so satisfying as one looks at some of these old ancient colonial homes of New England, proper balance, proper proportion.” Therefore, Merrick’s vision for Coral Gables was undoubtedly ambitious, as evidenced by the city’s striking architectural features and unique urban planning.
The city’s neighborhoods, built in a park-like setting, reflected Merrick’s desire to create an idealistic atmosphere where residents could enjoy the beauty of nature and their surroundings. Likewise, the Spanish style that was used to build many of the city’s buildings and homes gave it a dreamlike appearance. His vision led to the creation of a stunning city with a unique mix of commercial and residential zoning, striking architectural features, and beautiful parks.
He fulfilled its vision of the city, as its neighborhoods clearly reflect the utopian atmosphere of this city, and its outstanding architectural buildings in the Mediterranean Revival style, make it seem like a dream city. However, there was an excessive cost that is usually overlooked. As we look back at the history of Coral Gables, it is essential to recognize the social cost that was paid for its construction. Many of the workers who built this beautiful city were immigrants from the Bahamas and African Americans who were subjected to unjust and inhumane working conditions. They were forced to endure racism and discrimination, as Merrick also proposed to forcefully displace Black families and individuals from Miami, guided by his racist nature.
George Merrick wanted to create a city that was not only large but also great, one that was balanced and of proportion. A utopia came true. However, he did not hesitate of wanting to get rid of those who built the city once his project was completed, leaving them without a chance to enjoy the beautiful city. The abuse these individuals had to endure during these tough times is inexplicable and unjustifiable, but it is even more outrageous to know that there was still not enough recognition for these individuals.
It is essential to remember the injustices that occurred during the construction of Coral Gables and to honor the memory of those who were mistreated. The history of Coral Gables is incomplete without acknowledging the efforts of the immigrants from the Bahamas and African Americans who worked tirelessly to build the city. The arduous work of these individuals significantly impacted the growth and development of Miami-Dade County, and it is incumbent upon us to recognize their contributions. As we reflect on the past, it is crucial to honor the roles of these individuals and acknowledge the injustices that occurred. It is through recognizing and learning from our past that we can build a more just future for all.
Norton as Text
“The Intersection of Art, History, and Beliefs” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Norton Museum of Art on March 19, 2023.
As humans, we possess an innate desire to connect with something greater than ourselves. It is this yearning that drives us to seek out purpose, and to never lose sight of the extraordinary power that lies within us to connect, to create, and to inspire. Hence, art is a powerful medium that has the ability to capture the essence of life and preserve it for future generations. During my visit to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, I was struck by the incredible power of art to capture life and avoid death, as well as inspire belief and shape our understanding of our own history.
Throughout history, artists have used their talents to create works that immortalize people, places, and events of their time. Likewise, art has been used to reflect the events and experiences of the time in which it was created. The Norton Museum of Art is home to many paintings that offer a glimpse into the historical and cultural context of their creation. Among these works are several paintings of the Virgin Mary, which offer a fascinating insight into the role of religion and belief throughout history and allowed me to reflect on the way in which religion and belief have impacted and shaped our society.
However, as I looked around the museum, I notice that many of the visitors seemed to be more interested in non-religious art. I believe that part of the reason why many people today are turning away from traditional religion is because they are seeking new forms of meaning and purpose in their lives. As science and technology have advanced, we have gained a new understanding of the universe and our place in it. And as we have become more aware of the diversity of human cultures and experiences, we have come to appreciate the rich variety of beliefs and traditions that exist in the world.
For some, this has led to a renewed interest in spirituality and mysticism. For others, it has led to a fascination with science fiction, fantasy, and other forms of imaginative storytelling, as they seek to explore new worlds and possibilities. But no matter what form it takes, I accept as true that beliefs will always be a part of the human experience. Whether we are inspired by the great religious traditions of the past or by new visions of the future, we will always seek to find meaning and purpose in our lives, and to connect with something greater than ourselves.
And so, as I left the museum and returned to the busy streets of Miami, I felt grateful for the opportunity to have witnessed so many works of art that capture the beauty and complexity of human life. And I felt optimistic that, even as our society changes and evolves, we will always find ways to express our deepest beliefs and longings through the power of creativity and imagination. My visit to the Norton Museum of Art was an inspiring reminder of the incredible power of art to shape our understanding of the world and inspire belief. Whether it’s through religious art or modern installations, art has the ability to transport us to new heights of inspiration and creativity.
Key Biscayne as Text
“A Journey Through History and Nature” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Bill Baggs State Park on April 02, 2023.
Have you ever experienced something that left such a profound impact on you that no matter what you will still think about it vividly even years later? That is exactly how I felt when I visited Bill Baggs State Park and climbed to the top of the lighthouse. Bill Baggs State Park is a natural oasis, with stunning beaches and a fascinating history that spans centuries. During our trip to the park, I had the opportunity to explore its many wonders, including its historic lighthouse that has been around for over 160 years.
One of the most memorable moments of my experience at Bill Baggs State Park was reaching the top of the lighthouse and seeing the entire island from a bird’s-eye view. The climb up the stairs was exhilarating as I could feel how each step brought me closer to the sky. When I finally reached the top, I was struck by the vastness of the landscape and the breathtaking views that surrounded me. From the top of the lighthouse, I could see the crystal-clear waters and the lush greenery of the surrounding forests. I felt a sense of awe and wonder at the natural beauty of the island, and I was reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting our environment. It was a moment of realization that nature is not something to be taken for granted, but rather something to be cherished and respected.
At the same time, being at the top of the lighthouse allowed me to connect with the island’s history in a new and profound way. I could imagine the Tequesta, Spanish explorers, and American settlers all looking out at the same view from this very spot, each with their own unique perspectives and experiences. It was an opportunity to step back in time and gain a deeper appreciation for the struggles and triumphs of those who came before us.
As we strolled through the park, I could not help but wonder what this land looked like when the Tequesta first called it home. Many people only remember the Tequesta for their attack on the lighthouse during the Seminole Wars. However, we must understand that this event was not without cause. The Tequesta were being massacred all over the South and pushed further and further down each time. They had no choice but to fight or be eradicated. Therefore, their attack on the lighthouse was a message of resilience, it was not an absolute triumph, but it was a victory that nobody could ever take away from them.
Professor Bailly’s insights also provided a unique perspective, helping me understand the island’s significance and importance from a broader viewpoint. Walking through Key Biscayne was more than just a journey through history; it was a chance to connect with the past and gain a deeper understanding of the present. It was a humbling reminder that history is not just something that happened a long time ago, but rather something that shapes our present and our future.
Reflecting on my experience, I could not help but feel grateful for the opportunity to learn about the island’s rich history. It was a moment of realization that exploring the world around us is not just about discovering new places, but also about discovering ourselves. Every experience we have, every person we meet, and every place we visit shapes who we are and who we become.
But beyond the personal growth and discovery, my experience at Bill Baggs State Park left me with a sense of responsibility to continue learning about the world around me. It highlighted the importance of preserving and protecting our environment and history for future generations. It was one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences of my life. My visit to Bill Baggs State Park and the lighthouse was a transformative experience that reminded me of the incredible beauty and rich history that surrounds us. I also gained a newfound respect for the Tequesta and their culture, which had been largely erased from history. Overall, it allowed me to connect with the past, better understand the present, and feel inspired to continue exploring about the world around me.
Chosen Neighborhood as Text
“Acknowledging the Past, Embracing the Present: Exploring the Complexities of Coral Gables’ History” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Coral Gables on April 02, 2023.
Coral Gables, located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, is a city with an undeniable charm that captures the hearts of visitors from all around the world. Its stunning architecture, historic landmarks, and lush greenery make it a must-see destination. To explore the unique and authentic nature of Coral Gables, it is necessary to learn about its urban design, museums, monuments, transportation, places of worship, eateries, demographics, and the broader lessons that can be reflected upon while exploring forgotten pieces of its history.
Coral Gables is known for its beautiful Mediterranean-style architecture that can be found in many of the city’s buildings and landmarks. One of the most iconic landmarks is the Biltmore Hotel, which was built in 1926 and features stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. The city is also known for its green spaces, with many parks and gardens located throughout the area.
In addition to its architecture and greenery, Coral Gables is home to several museums, including the Coral Gables Museum, which explores the city’s history and culture. The Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami is also located in Coral Gables and features a collection of more than 19,000 objects.
The streets are wide and well-maintained, making it easy to navigate around the city. The best way to explore Coral Gables is by car, as many of the city’s attractions are spread out over a wide area. However, it is a walkable city and there are public transportation options available, including buses and trolleys. There are also bike rental stations located throughout the city for those who prefer to cycle.
When it comes to food, Coral Gables is a true culinary destination, with many restaurants serving a variety of cuisines. Some popular eateries in the area include Caffe Abbracci, a traditional Italian restaurant, and Bulla Gastrobar, a Spanish-inspired restaurant.
The city is also home to several places of worship, including the Coral Gables Congregational Church, which was the first to be built in this neighborhood and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Coral Gables Register of Historic Landmarks. The city is also home to the First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables, which has been a fixture in the community since 1926.
Coral Gables has a population of approximately 50,000 people, and it is known for being an affluent community with a high standard of living. The city is also known for its diversity, with a mix of different ethnic and racial groups, even though it was not originally planned to be that way.
Coral Gables has a tragic history that cannot be overlooked. It was founded in 1925 by George Merrick, a visionary developer who wanted to create a Mediterranean-style city that embodied beauty and balance. His idea was to build a city with wide streets, lush green spaces, and striking architecture, which he called “The City Beautiful.” Though his dream was realized, it came at a great social cost. The construction of this city subjected immigrants from the Bahamas and African American workers to inhumane working conditions and discrimination. Ignoring the contributions and mistreatment of these individuals leaves the history of Coral Gables incomplete. Therefore, we must acknowledge the past and honor their roles in building this city.
As visitors and residents to Coral Gables, it is important to be mindful of the broader lessons that this city teaches us about the challenges that cities face and the importance of working towards a more just and equitable society. By exploring Coral Gables and learning about its history, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the people who helped create this beautiful city, while also recognizing the injustices they faced. It serves as a reminder that every city carries its own story, and Coral Gables emphasizes the importance of understanding it to create a brighter tomorrow for all.
Design District or Wynwood as Text
“One of the greatest Miamians” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Wynwood on April 16, 2023.
Miami in Miami is not merely a conventional class; rather, it has been an experience that has significantly impacted and changed my life. As I reflect on it, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to hear from so many individuals who have transformed their passions into impactful work. Among them, Mr. Martin Z. Margulies stands out as a true inspiration.
During our visit to Wynwood, our knowledgeable professor Bailly introduced us to Mr. Margulies as one of the greatest Miamians, and initially, I was intrigued by this introduction. However, after spending the morning with him and hearing about his story, I came to realize why he deserved such a title. Mr. Margulies’ unique combination of humbleness and passion was evident from the moment we met him. He greeted us with warmth and openness, eager to share his extensive knowledge of art and his incredible journey with us. I particularly admire his decision to follow his passion, as his transition from the real estate industry to the art world was a courageous one, reflecting his determination and resilience. Mr. Margulies’ willingness to take risks and try new things is truly inspiring and serves as a testament to the significance of pursuing one’s dreams and passions.
As he walked us through the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, his passion for art and dedication to supporting others was palpable. What struck me most about Mr. Margulies was his unwavering commitment to his values. Despite his immense success in the art world, he remained grounded and focused on what truly mattered: staying true to ourselves and using our resources to make a difference in the world. The Lotus House Women’s Shelter, an organization he founded to help homeless women and children, is a testament to this commitment. He has been instrumental in the success of the Lotus House, providing not only financial support but also volunteering his time and resources to the organization. He has helped countless women and children, giving them hope and a new lease on life.
Mr. Margulies’s story is an inspiration that wealth should not be the only metric of success. Rather, it is a testament to the fact that with hard work and determination, anyone can make a difference. It takes immense courage to pursue one’s passions and face the hurdles that come with it, but the gains are invaluable. Mr. Margulies’s life is a testament to this, as he has not only achieved incredible success but also used his platform to uplift and empower others.
My meeting with Mr. Margulies was an unforgettable experience that has left a profound impact on me. He is an inspirational individual who has touched the lives of many through his love for art and his commitment to service to others. He has shown that one can be influential, powerful, and still remain humble and committed to helping others. His humility, passion, and commitment to his values are qualities that I will always strive to emulate in my own life. I am inspired by the example he has set and grateful for the opportunity to have learned from him.
Chicken Key as Text
“Rediscovering Balance” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Chicken key on April 26, 2023.
Imagine a place where the worries of the world fade away, and all that remains is the serene beauty of nature. That is how I felt as I kayaked towards Chicken Key, a small island that felt like a hidden oasis just a mile away from the eccentric city of Miami. Despite being unable to make it on the last day of class, the memory of my journey to this remarkable place lingered in my mind. As I approached the island, I was struck by the incredible beauty of the lush greenery and clear waters that surrounded it, making me forget about the bustling city that I had left behind just a few minutes ago. It served as a powerful reminder that regardless of the chaos and complexity that often permeate our lives, nature remains a sanctuary. As we navigate the demands of modern society every day, but we usually forgot to embrace the tranquility that nature provides, allowing us to reconnect with our deepest selves and restore balance to our minds and bodies.
Upon arrival, I was struck by the beauty and serenity of the island. I remember it was as if time was non-existent, and we were the only ones on earth, in full connection with our most natural state. Stepping onto the island, I was immediately hit by the peacefulness of the surroundings, leaving behind the stressful life of the big and loud city. That refreshing peace made me question the concept of development that we hold so dearly in our society. Upon contemplating the displacement of the native people who lived in symbiosis with their surroundings, nurturing the land that nurtured them, I began to question if replacing nature with complex structures and residential areas was worth it and could be considered an improvement.
As I explored the island, it became evident that we had disrupted the delicate equilibrium that once existed in nature. This realization served as a stimulus for introspection, leading me to reflect on the importance of coexist in harmony with the environment. It is imperative that we recognize the impact of our actions and take responsibility for the restoration and preservation of our natural resources and ecosystems.
However, I was glad to notice that efforts were being made to restore the island to its natural state. Thanks to Professor Bailly’s tireless efforts and arduous work, not only were we able to contribute to the cleaning of the island, but I also realized the immense value he brings to the cause. His dedication and commitment serve as an inspiration to all of us. The native plants were being reintroduced to the island, and the animals were being given the space and freedom they needed to thrive. It was a reminder that even though we had made mistakes in the past, it was never too late to make amends.
My visit to Chicken Key was an eye-opening experience. It made me realize the importance of preserving our natural environment and reminded me that progress should not come at the cost of destroying the environment. We have the power to make a difference, to learn from the past, and to restore the natural balance that once existed. While it can be easy to feel small and insignificant in the face of such a vast and complex issue, every individual action can have a significant impact. By making slight changes, we can collectively make a difference.
Miami Final Reflection as Text
“A Journey of Exploration and Growth” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU on April 26, 2023.
As the semester comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the incredible journey that was the “Miami in Miami” class. When I first enrolled in the course, I was unsure of what to expect. Despite having lived in Miami for a few years, I had yet to explore much beyond my immediate neighborhood. As a newcomer to the city, I possessed only a vague understanding of Miami’s culture and history, with much left to learn and explore.
But all of that changed with this life changing class. It completely transformed my perspective of this city and provided me with new outlooks on life. From the very first day, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic professor, Bailly, led us on a journey through Miami that was unlike any other. Whether we were exploring the lush beauty of the Everglades, getting lost in the colorful street art of Wynwood, or learning about the fascinating history of Coconut Grove, I felt like every moment of this class was a new adventure.
One of the highlights of the class was the opportunity to visit several lesser-known places and landmarks that had a significant impact on the city. The Everglades, for example, was a fascinating destination that showcased the natural beauty of South Florida and its delicate ecosystem. Visiting Coconut Grove and Coral Gables gave me a glimpse of Miami’s early days as a small village, while Key Biscayne was an idyllic getaway that allowed me to enjoy Miami’s natural beauty. Finally, visiting Chicken Key was an eye-opening experience that showed me the importance of preserving Miami’s natural habitats.
Through these visits, I gained a newfound appreciation for Miami’s rich history and culture, as well as its natural beauty. I was particularly struck by the diversity of the city’s communities and the importance of preserving the unique cultural heritage that each group contributes to Miami’s identity. I have learned about the contributions of indigenous tribes, African Americans, and Latin American and Caribbean immigrants to Miami’s history and culture. I have also become more aware of the challenges and issues facing the city and its communities, such as gentrification and discrimination, among others.
But it was not just the places we visited that made this class so special; it was the people we met along the way. I will never forget the incredible depth of knowledge and passion that our instructor and guest speakers brought to the table while sharing their stories and insights. They offered life-changing advice and shared their individual experiences, helping us to see Miami in a new light and appreciate it on a deeper level.
Looking back on this class, I realize how much I have learned and grown. My image of Miami has been transformed from a superficial and touristy place to a vibrant and complex city with a rich history and culture. I feel more connected to my surroundings and have a newfound appreciation for the people and places that make Miami so unique.
Overall, the “Miami in Miami” was an incredible enriching experience. It allowed me to develop a greater sense of belonging and gain a newfound appreciation for Miami and all that it has to offer. I have learned that it is a city that is constantly evolving, shaped by the people who call it home. Miami is a city of diversity, of vibrant culture, and of resilience. It is a city that has faced many challenges over the years but has always emerged stronger and more vibrant than ever before. Miami in Miami class has changed the way I see Miami and the world around me. It has shown me the importance of exploring beyond the surface level and truly immersing oneself in a place to understand its essence. I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken this class and for the new perspectives and insights it has given me. As I move forward, I will continue to explore Miami with fresh eyes and an open heart, ready to discover all the beauty and wonder that this incredible city has to offer.