Sophie Correa: Miami as Text 2023

Photograph taken by Daniela Sanchez/ CC by 4.0″


Sophie Correa is a sophomore nursing student at FIU. Daughter to a cuban mother and father, Sophie was born in Miami, Florida. She is a first generation student with an interest to pursue a career in medicine. Sophie strives to go to medical school to become a Dermatologist. She enjoys learning about different cultures, meeting new people, and trying new foods.

Encounter as Text

Photograph taken by Sophie Correa/CC by 4.0

“A Whole New World”

I am in this class because it has been my lifelong dream to study abroad.Since middle school i have always had this dream of living in France, Italy, or Spain. I have always been very interested in their cultures and of their ways of living. I have always wanted to learn about different cultures by actually experiencing living in them for a certain amount of time.

I have always been extremely interested in learning the history of things and places so being in this class will help me achieve this or even just create a stepping stool for possibilities in my future. I am extremely motivated to be in this class and a little nervous as well. I am nervous because I have never been to another country without my parents but the nervousness is blocked by the amount of excitement. I have been motivated and nervous for the class even before I completely applied for it. I was very nervous about not getting picked or even being able to experience this wonderful class this upcoming summer.

I am motivated to do my best in this class and pay attention to every lecture and lesson given. I did not know this semester also included excursions around Miami so I am very excited for those as well. I don’t know much about España, all I know is that it is a beautiful country with many landmarks and millions of years of history and full of architecture and monuments roughly around 1000 years old or even more.I have been interested in coming to this country ever since i found out i have family and descents from EspañaThe image I have of España in my mind is beautiful, breathtaking and a fun country to be in. I have heard it has one of the biggest/best nightlifes in the whole world. I have never been to España so I am really looking forward to this trip. My expectations for this program is to come out of it with new friendships as well as core memories I will never forget.

What I am looking forward to in my time in Spain is to try their cuisine. My family that has been to Spain have always bragged about how delicious every plate is and how I have to try the hams, like serrano and prosciutto from there. I have also been told to try the wines which are wonderful to taste. I am excited to experience the nightlife in Spain. I am really hoping it is truly like the movies and as good as everyone puts it out to be.

I am mostly excited for the culture shock, I am ready to experience the differences of living in the United States rather than living in Europe. I’m ready to create memories with all the new people I will be meeting this semester and actually form a little family for this trip and friends that would probably last a lifetime. I am beyond excited to learn about the culture, history and life of people in Spain.

By Sophie Correa 01/27/2023

photograph taken by Sophie Correa/CC by 4.0

“To be or not to be”

It is undeniable that the Transatlantic exchange has had a major impact in today’s society. In a way I am thankful it occurred because we wouldn’t be where we are because of it but there is some points I do not agree with. Although it was extremely destructive and inhumane, thanks to it, Miami and many countries around the world are better than what they possibly could have been. When the Spanish entered the western hemisphere, it impacted the future in ways Cristopher columbous and his people could have not imagined.

I believe that it was too destructive in my opinion. I believe there could’ve been other ways they could have conquered lands especially Florida without having to destroy religions, cultures and even murder thousands of natives. I believe that as seen in “Tambien la Lluvia” the Spanish could have been a little easier on the natives. At the end of the day the natives did not speak the same language as the conquistadors and did not understand what was being said.

Although the in the movie Apocalypto we saw how the Mayans treated other tribes just to conquer their land and make them part of the ritual to sacrifice to their sun god. When I saw that movie, it made me realize that every civilization was inhumane and even used violence to get what they want, so in a way I understood that if a civilization had the possibility to use violence to exert their power or even conquer land it was necessary.

I don’t believe it was right to try to push the Spanish’s catholic religions or cultures to the natives. I believed that it was very wrong and unnecessary. In the book “Chronicles of the Navarez expedition” we saw how Navarez stated it could be easy to push their religion onto the natives because he knew how to convince them. I thought it was very wrong from other materials I have read, that if the natives didn’t agree with the Spanish, they would eb killed. In today’s day and age, we have evolved a lot from that way of thinking but there is still a lot of religions that force the murder of their people if they don’t believe in the religion because it is considered a sin.

I am Cuban and I know that my ancestors are African and Spaniard meaning that I am a product of the transatlantic exchange. From what I know that my father has told me is that my family used to own slaves that were brought from Spain during the time that Cuba was under the Spanish regimen, and my great-great grandfather married a slave which then had my great grandmother and then so on. Therefor I am a product of this exchange. When I found out where my roots came from, it made me sad, because in reality I would never know what was that happened for that to occur or why it was that my great-great grandmother got with my great-great grandfather, because after seeing these movies and realized the Spaniards sometimes forced relationships with these natives, it makes me a little upset to even think that it could be a possibility.

by Sophie Correa 02/12/2023

Photograph taken by Sophie Correa/ CC by 4.0

“Fruit of My City”

As a first-generation student that has lived in Miami for the past 19 years and lived in several parts of South Florida, this walking lecture made me feel like I was a tourist in my own city. It opened my eyes to a lot of history I did not know. It’s going to sound crazy, but I did not even know where the government center was in my own city. 

            There was not a part of this lecture that shocked me more than another, everything I learned blew my mind all over again. When we went to Lummus park, I was shocked of the history in that home/fortress created by slaves. It shocked me that there was a structure like that still standing in Miami, and the rush of emotions I felt with every story told by professor Bailly, it was something I definitely was not expecting. The thought that I was able to touch and even see such a historical home in which so many things occurred in, was new to me. 

            It was more of a cultural shock for me when I learned that the “first citizens of Miami” were an interracial couple, a black woman and a white man. Hearing the story and looking at the house at the same time, helped me imagine the scenarios being told and imagine what it must have been like for them. Learning that they got a long with the natives of Miami and serve as the peace holders, is something I believe should be talked about more in school. 

            Another lesson that amazed me was the fact the Miami was basically founded by two women, just when I thought Miami couldn’t get more interesting, I learned that instead of founding father we had founding mothers, Julia Tuttle and Mary Brickell.  That was something that I can say that shocked me the most, in all this lecture. I think that it shocked me the most because it was something that is never talked about in Miami, and if it wouldn’t have been this lecture it is something I would not have known. It shocked me so much, I texted everyone I was close with and told them everything I learned after class. I feel that in Miami, women representation isn’t shown, and I feel like I should be spoken more about. If it weren’t for Julia Tuttle, Miami would not have been what it has become today. She was the businesswoman that brought Henry Flagler and the railroad to Miami. 

            I place myself as what I would like to call a product of the history in Miami. If it weren’t for what Miami is today, my family would have probably gone somewhere else in the country. Miami is the center of diversity, one of the biggest cities in the world, and it wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for everything I learned in this walk.  From the first citizens being an interracial couple, it being founded by two women, being home to natives that today own one of the biggest casinos in the world, Miami is the definition of its history. A unified city of many cultures and religions and I’m just a fruit of all its accomplishments. 

By Sophie Correa 02/26/2023

“Stepping Into Different Era”

As I drove into the gates of Vizcaya it was like I stepped into this new world. Like if I stepped into a different era. It’s like I had time traveled into the early twentieth century. I had never gone to Vizcaya in my 19 years living in south Florida, and I had no idea of the beauty and history I was withholding myself from seeing. James Deering knew what he was doing when, he together with Paul Chaffin, built this amazing estate.

Vizcaya holds a lot of history that I felt so amazed to learn about. Walking through the gardens I imagined people dancing around, during his parties. As I passed the secret passage on the East side of the estate, where he would smuggle alcohol during the prohibition era, I imagined his workers bringing in the alcohol or even he himself, James Deering helping carry alcohol through his secret passageway all the way into his house. As we walked through the inside of his house, I imagined his arguments with people, men or women. When I found about his passageways from each room to his room, I imagined him sneaking over to his guest rooms. Something I found really cool was the fact that he had a secret passage leading into the dining room from his study area. It is something that you only see in movies. I had never seen that in person, so I thought it was really cool that James decided to have that in his home. Something I also really liked or found interesting about the estate was the barge in his back yard and the fact that he had the mermaids breast size made smaller because it was too provocative.

Something I realized during this lecture was how much money James Deering had, and how he could literally have anything he wants even if it meant had to have it imported from other countries such as Italy. I thought the architecture of the estate was very cool. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. It made me very excited to go to Spain because I know that over there the structures are similar to the ones here. Something I also found cool, was that the estate was built by Bahamians residing in coconut grove, yet it is not talked about. Although they were probably payed for their labor, they were probably not paid enough as the painters or sculptors he hired from Europe.

 James Deering was for a fact a very interest and bizarre man, quite opposite to that of his brother Charles Deering. He was obsessed with the European culture and all of its architecture which honestly, I understand because I would too. This walking lecture has for sure been one of my favorites so far. It taught me a lot about a historic piece in my city that I had no idea even existed. Its history and culture is one that I will never forget and surely remember throughout my journey in Spain next semester. 

%d bloggers like this: