Study Abroad Info Session October 2019

15 October, 2019 AT 03:30 PM IN SASC 160

Join Professor Bailly and Program Assistant Sofia Guerra for an introduction to the France, Italy, & Spain study abroad programs of the FIU Honors College. Whether you are going to Europe in Summer 2020 or considering 2021 or 2022, this session will be helpful.

Check out #fiuhonorsabroad2019 on Instagram for photos from Espana, France, & Italia. Check our FIU Broadcast Media major Lily Fonte’s video and webpage of the 2019 Italy program.



Espana Study Abroad
France Study Abroad
Italia Study Abroad

John William Bailly  15 October 2019

Art Society Conflict: Fengxin Ma

Hi, my name is Fengxin Ma, but you can also call me Francine. I’m currently a junior at FIU, majoring in Finance. I love to travel and explore new places. Lately, I’ve been quite into photography, I hope to capture different view of Miami through this class.

Art Society Conflict “Norton as Text”

Garden by the villa by Fengxin Ma of FIU in Norton Museum on 9/22/2019

Exploring throughout the Norton Museum, I was greeted by numerous beautiful paintings. From Gothic Paintings to Modern Art, every piece seems to be telling a story.

Professor Bailey walked our class through the museum, introduced us about different art pieces in different eras and different artists. He lectured us about the history of the arts, the styles of the art, and its influence on society. There was one painting specifically that I just could not stop thinking about: Garden of the Villa by Monet.

There is something about that painting that I just could not stop starring at it. It first caught my eyes was the colors in the paintings. It was lively and vibrant. It instantly brought me into the summer haze. Staring into the painting, I could see what my professor was talking about – the flow of the brushes the artist utilizes – it looks like the plants were dancing along with winds, moving gracefully like a ballerina. The painting brought me a sense of ease, a sense of relaxation. It brought me back to a piece of my childhood memories, where I could just wander into the forest, skip through bushes of flowers, and run into squirrels that are looking for their favorite treats. I just could not take my eyes off it. The painting just seems to sparks a little joy into my heart and brought me a sense of peace.

My encounter with this piece made me realize that less is more. This piece might not be the one that tells the most exciting story, but it did bring in something to me that other paintings fail to do.

Garden by the Villa by Monet

Art Society Conflict “ Deering as Text”

History of Miami by Fengxin Ma of FIU at Deering Estate on 10/2/2019

Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site

I’ve lived in Miami for ten years, I thought I knew every side of Miami until this day. Hiking through the woods at Deering Estate, I encountered the other side of Miami. A side that not many people know of, including me, a side that seems to be forgotten by the world.

The hike opened my eyes to a different perspective of Miami. It introduced me to the history of Miami. It shared the artifacts and the remains of the natives that origin in Miami.

One of the sites that I encountered was the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. It was surrounded by an environment that you would think it is from the Amazons. It was so beautiful that I could not stop myself from taking pictures. It feels like you stepped into a jungle, only you and nature. The sacred site was filled with the history of Miami; It lies the Paleo-Indians’ remains, the tools they used, and even animals’ remains. Our tour guide, Vanessa, shared some pieces of the tools that the Paleo-Indians used, she also shared some of the archaeological findings that came out of the site. It was fascinating.

We went on two hikes at Deering Estates. The first hike was to the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound. On this hike, I was greeted by numerous spiders and mosquitos, but most importantly the beautiful scenery. Vanessa introduced us to solution holes and other plants that I’ve never seen before throughout the hike. Seeing all these allow me to have a better understanding of Miami. It allows me to connect with nature once again.

Art Society Conflict ” Wynwood as Text”

The Margulies collection is not something new to me. I’ve visited a year ago. Though I was there a year, the interpretation of each art piece seems to change a bit. A year ago, I walked into this gallery to only take pretty pictures; today, I walked in intending to understand each art piece. Two art displays caught my attention. One is the display of the superheroes in their senior years at the Margulies Collection. I was especially touched by this display because it reminds me of “nothing lasts forever.”  Seeing this display brings me a lot of thoughts. The thought of growing up, the thought of the time, and the thought of reality. Like these superheroes in the display, age is inevitable. We will all reach that point of life where we won’t be the same anymore, even if you are superheroes. Superheroes are human too, they will age too. Nothing lasts forever, but you could always cherish the memories that were made. 

Another art piece that caught my attention was a painting from the De La Cruz Collection. I cannot pinpoint what exactly made me felt so in touch with this painting, but when I saw it, I was like “wow”. Maybe it is something I’ve been desired: peace. The painting might predominately be painted in a very aggressive color- red- but somehow I found peach within. It like a summery night, with stars glazing and the boat rolling. I could almost feel the wind and peacefulness of the ocean in the middle of the night. Sometimes, less is more.

Art Society Conflict “Norton as Text” – Rebeka Josil

The visit to Norton Museum was a memorial one, and was worth drive to West Palm Beach. I got to experience the changes of paintings throughout the centuries and step into the shoes of each painter’s life in each era. I learnt that painters weren’t respected back then, and they weren’t allowed to paint outside the rules of painting. However, as time progress, more printers broke that barrier and developed new type of paintings. I gained knowledge of each painter trails and achievements throughout that era.

Wangechi Mutu’s painting was really interesting and caught my eyes immediately. The name of the painting is called, “Your Story, My Curse” and captured the world of abstract by ‘manipulating paint and collaging images of animals, vegetables, fashion’. -Norton Museum. What made this even more interesting to me is the painting is a depiction of females. One sentence from the description perfectly states -‘Our use of makeup, clothing, and communication through physical appearance boils down to a very primal urge to attract and/or scare those we want around or afar from us’- Norton Museum.  I felt in the painting, you could of barley depict it was humans, but when you know the story behind the painting that made it more beautiful and unique.

Art Society Conflict: Rebeka Josil

My name is Rebeka Josil and I’m currently a Junior, majoring in Biology. I have hopes of attending Medical School in the future. I love learning about different cultures through art and whenever I get the chance, I visit museums. I also love travelling and spending time with family, but one of my favorite hobbies is going camping. I believe the world’s greatest art is nature and it’s better to experience going outdoors.

Art Society Conflict “Norton as Text” – Rebeka Josil

The visit to Norton Museum was a memorial one, and was worth drive to West Palm Beach. I got to experience the changes of paintings throughout the centuries and step into the shoes of each painter’s life in each era. I learnt that painters weren’t respected back then, and they weren’t allowed to paint outside the rules of painting. However, as time progress, more printers broke that barrier and developed new type of paintings. I gained knowledge of each painter trails and achievements throughout that era.

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Wangechi Mutu’s painting was really interesting and caught my eyes immediately. The name of the painting is called, “Your Story, My Curse” and captured the world of abstract by ‘manipulating paint and collaging images of animals, vegetables, fashion’. -Norton Museum. What made this even more interesting to me is the painting is a depiction of females. One sentence from the description perfectly states -‘Our use of makeup, clothing, and communication through physical appearance boils down to a very primal urge to attract and/or scare those we want around or afar from us’- Norton Museum.  I felt in the painting, you could of barley depict it was humans, but when you know the story behind the painting that made whole more beautiful and unique.

Deering Estate as Text by Rebeka Josil

Deering Estate is very special to Miami, as it holds the foundation of what Miami was before it became a city. The vast different I saw exploring the estate was astounding and I couldn’t believe that this was Miami before. I learnt that there was a tribe that lived there, Tequesta, but little is known of them. However, our tour guide Vanessa told us as much as she could and showed us the remaining of the Tequesta. We hiked in two trails. The first hike was to the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound.

The overview of The Paleo-Indian archeological Cutler Fossil Site

The Paleo-Indian archeological Cutler Fossil Site was an adventure itself, walking through the thick, dense forest covered with poison ivy were both a challenge and a workout, that added to my excitement of what lied ahead, deep into the forest. It’s like a mini Amazon Rainforest in the Miami Metropolitan shores, that had a variety of trees that can be poisonous or not.  Vanessa explained and showed some of the tools the Tequesta tribe used for their everyday lives. For example, a conch shell that only had its core to dig holes into the ground and pieces of shells to scrape of tree bark. It was very interesting to know that they diet mostly consisted of fish, as they lived closed to the shores.

The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound. It was easier to walk through, as there was a pathway with less trees in the way, however there were spiders everywhere. I loved how the various plants and trees of the Tequesta time are still present and Vanessa explained what purposes the Tequesta used them for. Our finally stop at a burial mound of the Tequesta. Above their burial ground, a huge and healthy oak tree stands. After learning about the horrible deed that was done to them and they were swiped out completely; seeing this site made me at peace knowing that this scared place was not destroyed.

The oak tree which a burial of the Tequesta members still remains.

This excursion of the estate was really enjoyable for me as I learnt and saw what life would be without technology. Life was more peaceful back then; nature was flourishing tremendously, and the food contained no chemicals. I hope this estate is preserve for a very long time as it hold history.

HistoryMiami as Text

On this week’s excursion, we explored the historical side of Downtown Miami and Vizcaya, and discussed the problematic issues and saddening truths, while also exploring the beautiful culture and creative background of the city we call home.

“Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels”

Starting at the Government Center Metrorail Station, we viewed a fountain by famous pop artist Claes Oldenberg of a broken bowl of oranges. This completely compliments Miami’s style, as it references the famous Orange Bowl football stadium, and Florida being the ‘orange state’. Although the positioning of the sculpture made it hard to see what it actually is, it is symbolic of Miami’s nature as this city and its downtown is not what it appears to be.

Miami River

As we continued down to the Miami River, we encountered Miss Lucia Meneses and she was kind enough to let us into the slave residencies of the last remaining building of Fort Dallas, a former plantation of Miami. Although the structure was altered with new wood beams and a concrete floor, the conditions of this house were unlivable. Even with adaptations over the years of being Miami’s first courthouse, to becoming the meeting area for the Daughters of the American Revolution, to stand where people of history stood before us was amazingly impactful, and extremely depressing.

Flagler’s Impact

Even after all these years, it’s amazing how Flagler’s railroads affected and created the city of Miami today. The search for citrus pushed the building of the railroad all the way down to the Florida Keys, and formed the need for a new city. However, the sad truth is a backstory of the racism occurring at this time as the slaves working we’re allowed to vote in support for a new city, but immediately after we’re segregated to the conditions of the previously mentioned Fort Dallas’s slave residencies.

Viscaya Styles

The mix of different artistic styles in the Vizcaya Villa is described perfectly by Professor John William Bailly; it makes no sense. From the outside of the villa, it has a very European style architecture, but the adventure begins when you enter the house. The statue of Dionysus and The Dancing Faun show that this residency is one of earthly pleasures and escape. The next room to the left then tells a different story of neoclassical art where the expressionless art gives a sense of intelligence, and the subliminal sense of structure give the space a uniformity and sense of harmony. However entering the next room is one of baroque and extremely emotional art, reflecting the Sun King’s palace of Versailles. The topic of cultural appropriation of art was frequent such as the Catholic painting of the Virgin Mary being used to cover up organ pipes, and Islamic art being used to describe the Catholic god. 

The mix of art in Vizcaya making no sense, to the contradictory nature of the creation of the city, are perfect representations of Miami and the mix of cultures that make no sense, but still collaborate and work together to create the historically problematic, yet extremely impactful city of Miami.

Art Society Conflict: Ruth Shmueli

My name is Ruth Shmueli and I am a Junior studying International Business and Management at Florida International University. My goal is to help companies expand and grow in international markets. I love exploring different cultures through food, art and interacting with people. I am passionate about traveling, photography, and culinary arts. Photography is one of the main ways that I express myself creatively and I want to make it possible for other people to view the world from a new perspective through my photography. I believe that the world is not black and white and being able to expose the grey areas in my photography is my mission.

Norton as text:
The link between love, death and sensuality by Ruth Shmueli of FIU in the Norton Museum on 9/22/2019

Out of all the extensive and diverse collections at the Norton Museum I chose Jeff Koons painting “Antiquity” to analyze. What initially captured my attention was its large size and how it spoke to my sensibilities for classical and abstract art. It was interesting to see these both combined in a harmonious way that doesn’t clash with one another. The size gives it an air of grandiose that imposes on the viewer. My initial observations without any context was that Koons is making an overall statement with Ancient, formal and abstract techniques to represent female form and anatomy. He shows how people view the female form throughout different time periods.

After gaining more information about Koons and the painting I developed some different views of the artwork. In the background we see Pablo Picasso’s Le Baiser from 1969 which depicts Picasso’s kiss with his final wife Jacqueline, while Titan’s Venus and Adonis from 1554 shows Venus holding on to her lover before he goes to war and eventually die in battle. Then, the sculpture with an exposed front and back that we see were not a mere rendering of renaissance era sculptures but a sculpture of Aphrodite (the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure) from 100-200 CE. Lastly, the “tribal” sculptures are known as Uli, which are funerary sculptures in Papua New Guinea. After learning that most of the components of the painting were renderings of famous artwork, I think it diminishes the level of originality that I initially thought the painting possessed. However, there is a very clear use of skill and technique throughout the entire work of art as well as a very moving and well thought out message behind the painting. Through the image of Aphrodite there is a representation of love and passion, while in the middle we see the Uli which represents death. Then under the painting we see the patchwork of Le Baiser which depicts a final kiss and Venus and Adonis which depicts a final embrace before death. Koons then paints an abstract rendering of female anatomy to portray sensuality. We realize that there is an overall message that love, death and sensuality are all interconnected. Before death, Koons shows us that there is some force within us- either love or sensuality- that draws us closer into the person for the comfort of a final connection and final touch between two beings. This final interaction before death is seen with tension, love, and passion because of the fear of finality. It is interesting to see how differently we interpret things with and without context.

Deering as Text:

A Journey of Civilization and Nature By Ruth Shmueli of FIU in The Deering Estate on 10/02/19

The Deering estate brings together many different aspects of cultural connections within a civilized society and an untamed ecosystem . Nature comes together with art, history, and architecture in one condensed area, allowing for the perfect environment to take a cultural journey where one can take stops along the way to explore each subject. When you first enter the property of the Deering estate you are welcomed by nature in all its glory. As you walk further you will be in the presence of a beautiful house with Spanish architecture. The house was built for Charles Deering who had a specific taste that was inspired by the Spanish architecture of Maricel, enhanced by Moorish influences throughout the structure of the house. Art comes into play with Charles Deering’s extensive collection of Spanish paintings. In the theme of decadence and luxury, Charles Deering housed paintings of famous artists, El Greco and Goya. Currently the paintings are not present at the house, but we can see other paintings hung on the walls of the estate. The Spanish art blends perfectly with the Spanish architecture, furthering the connection of Charles Deering’s heritage.

After visiting the estate, we ventured out to explore the history of the area surrounding the estate. After a long hike through undisturbed nature, we arrived at a spot were the remains of Paleo-Indians were found. That exact spot is a revered archaeological spot due to the fact that many fossils from the paleolithic era were found there. Standing in the sinkhole, I was able to see history and nature interacting with one another and I felt as if I could now more fully understand our part within the environment.

We then hiked to other sights where we explored the history of the Tequesta’s at the Tequesta burial mound. This was one of the last remaining burial mounds of the Tequesta’s, but we see nature yet again overpowering the historical sight. There were overgrown trees and debris from one of the last hurricanes to hit Miami. We see through these historical sights that no matter how intensely we attempt to preserve history, nature will take its course. As much as we think that we have dominated nature, at the end of the day, nature dominates us.

After taking this journey exploring how art, history, architecture and nature coincide with each other, I was able to then incorporate these concepts into a photograph I took on the trip. The photograph above brings together history and nature by showing that when an animal passes, their remains stay but nature will eventually prevail and assert its dominance. Art and architecture are also tied into this photograph through the distinct structure and “architecture”’ of the leaves and the animal’s body, as something that should be admired and something that is unique. By appreciating these connections, these objects and concepts that we see everyday are transformed to art. My visit to the Deering Estate allowed me to take a cultural journey where the path taken, and the stops made along the way, broadened my perspective of how interconnected civilization and nature really is.

Miami in Miami: Jose Rosales

Photo by Lily Fonte


Hello everyone. My name is Jose Rosales, my family emigrated from Cuba about 10 years ago when I was 14 years of age. I am a FIU undergrad who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in Biology. I plan to graduate next semester and attend Medical School with the goal of becoming a great neurosurgeon.

I basically grew up in Miami, but I have never exploited the fact that I live in such a popular city. If you go to any country (or any other state for that matter) and you say that you are from Miami, the first thought that goes into people’s minds is that you are a wealthy individual who lives a luxurious life and enjoys all the benefits that the magic city has to offer. I for one, have always taken for granted the fact that I live in such a popular city. I have never taken the time to get to know my own city. Hence, I decided to join professor Bailly this semester so that alongside him and my classmates we can truly discover everything that this weird, yet attractive city has to offer.

Metro as Text

Miami: A City Full of Hidden Treasures By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on September 11, 2019

I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and never had it occurred to me to ride the metro. There is this misconception that people have that public transportation is unsafe and just not practical. I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and never had it occurred to me to ride the metro. There is this misconception that people have that public transportation is unsafe and just not practical. As time progresses, our society becomes more and more dependent on technology. We try to connect with people through applications such as Facebook and Instagram when in reality we just end up isolating ourselves from other people. Applications like Uber and Lyft make it easier to get to a desired destination with the click of a button, some of their more affordable options even include carpooling which is great for the environment and helps decrease the number of cars on the streets. However, these benefits are nothing compared to the advantages bestowed upon us by public transportation. The first big difference we can see is price, the metro is a transportation method that is fairly inexpensive. Riding the metro allows you to connect and interact with people, you get to see how they go about their everyday life. Even if you do not approach the passengers and establish a conversation, you still find yourself encountering all kinds of different people and of different social classes. Hence, get to connect with the more humane aspect of your life. Not to mention how much faster you can reach your desired destination, since you are avoiding all the traffic that encompasses living in a city as overpopulated as Miami. One of the downsides of riding the metro (or any form of public transportation for that matter) is what is known as “the last mile”, which basically means that these transport methods can often warrantee to get you within a mile of your objective. However, I like to see it as an opportunity to exercise your body by either walking or riding a bike. Overall, I had a great time learning how to ride the metro and discovering areas of Miami to which I had never been before.

Vizcaya as Text

The Jewel of the shoreline By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on September 25, 2019

Vizcaya Museum & Garden is a place that is often associated with quinceañeras and weddings due to this historic landmark’s astonishing beauty. I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and I had never paid a visit to this monumental village until our first trip with professor Bailly. Turns out Vizcaya is much more than just a magnificent architectural jewel, it is the epitome of cultural appropiation.

What once was an endless shoreline of mangroves and inland native forest, billionaire James Deering turned into an extravagant villa that would later embody Miami’s essence. As you disembark the train at Vizcaya Metrorail Station and you make your way towards the villa, there is a bridge that dances with the flora and moves out of nature’s way in a zig-zag pattern that is both beautiful and respectful. As you reach the west entrance, you are greeted by a sculpture of Ponce de Leon and two flowing fountains that lead the way to the estate’s façade as you walk under a massive arch formed by trees that rise from both side of the walkway. James Deering’s goal was to create an Italian Renaissance style Villa as authentic as possible, and he did, it looks as though a European architectural piece had been magically removed from its rightful place and it had been planted on the coast of Florida. Deering wished for his winter residence to be a representation of his wealth, and he made sure that his guests acknowledged that. A statue of Dionysus can be found at the entrance of the mansion that captures the essence of Miami –as Dionysus is the god of wine and pleasure. He wanted his guests to know that his residence was a paradise, a Garden of Eden. He understood the very nature of Miami, of what it should rise to be, a city that is as weird and extravagant as it is beautiful.

Miami In Miami: Daniel A. Perez

Hey, my name is Daniel Perez, I’m 19 years old and I am currently a sophomore at FIU. I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering with hopes to continue onto the field of law as an IP attorney.

I am a Miamian born and raised. First generation born in the United States from a Cuban background. I was brought up in the land of sexy people, summer fun year round, and everyone owning a Ferrari or something like that. So of course I wanted to see even more of my home.

I decided to take this course because I’m a bit curious and adventurous. I love learning the ins and outs of things and what better thing to learn about than your own home. I’m hoping to learn about things I didn’t even think you could find here in Miami, and I’m looking forward to the adventures we’ll go on together.

Metro In Miami

The first off-campus meeting for the Miami in Miami class began with us gathering at the Dadeland South Metro Station. Here the class would be one of the few in Miami to purchase a day pass to be able to get around the city via the metro. Public transportation is definitely not the most popular means of transport for Miamians.

Professor Bailly pointed out an interesting observation at our first stop. He talked about the size of the sidewalk, and how here in Miami the sidewalks are generally smaller when compared to those of other major cities and other countries. Considering I have had the chance to travel and visit areas with more emphasis on public transportation, this simple and seemingly minuscule detail about our standards here in Miami surprised me. I had not taken the time to notice the size of our sidewalks because of that reason. We simply don’t walk to our destinations on a regular basis. Miami isn’t focused on its public transportation, and the areas that it does are fairly closed off to people like me that live in the Kendall area. It took me about an hour to reach the station by car, which was the closest stop to my home. The thought of using public transportation instead of a personal vehicle is not a bad idea at all, as a student it would make things easier honestly. I would have one less expense to worry about and there are the ecological benefits to think about. Less cars on the road means less emissions which generally mean a greener lifestyle by having a smaller carbon footprint. I feel like Miami could focus on that instead of its expansion on highway

Walk In Miami / Viscaya


On this meeting with the Miami in Miami class our trip around downtown was sidetracked by a small gem found by the professor in the form of Fort Dallas. A military base formed at the mouth of the Miami river to safeguard during times of war against Native Americans. The Fort has its own share of history. Much like Miami it was a place of change and became what it needed to be throughout the years. The small building began as a soldier’s barracks and then became a slave’s quarters. It then went on to become a military barrack once again during the war against Native Americans, followed by a courthouse and then as a meeting place for the Daughters of the Revolution.  

We continued the day by going to Viscaya. This time we had the chance to go through the individual rooms of the villa. To say the least Deering was a very intricate man. He didn’t care about certain social constraints. He cut a painting of the Saint Mary in half to be able to hide the pipes of an organ. He held a mosaic of Islamic art depicting Spaniard noble arms and placed a miniature replica of the Boy with Thorn and placed it next to a landline. Was there a significant purpose to it? Aesthetic most likely considering the type of man he was. Deering truly wanted to paint himself in an eccentric light, he wanted to be at the top, to seem like he was extremely cultured with a lineage. He was able to own the latest in technological advancements from refrigerators to vacuums to telephones. Deering displayed his need to be perceived as cultured from old European Deering portraits depicting people with no relation to him or his family, as well as the cut-out book spines that he held in his library. He painted that illusion in a very believable way, it took the form of his estate, and it is one of grandeur and extravagance the likes of which were very rare in Miami at the time.

Miami As Text (’19-’20) by Jessica Horsham

Jessica Ann Horsham is a currently studying international relations at Florida International University, and is in her senior year as an FIU Honors student. She is heavily interested in pursuing a career in law, with current aims to focus on human rights and injustices within the justice system. Though her career will eventually divulge her in tons of paperwork, Jessica loves to explore the outdoors, exercise, and be near the beach; traveling is one of her favorite things to do as she loves to emerge herself in different cultures and truly learn about what makes each place special. Her current endeavor, the Miami in Miami class taught by John W. Bailly, will take her on this journey of emerging her in her very hometown to discover all of its unknown and secret places. These are her Miami as Texts.

Metro As Text

The Melting Pot: Connected by Jessica Horsham of Florida International University traveling via Miami-Dade Metrorail on September 11, 2019.

When people think about Miami, it is always the typical beaches, late night clubs, and other debauchery that is associated with the memory. When people try to describe Miami, it then focuses on the people who live here, which is always essential, they describe it as a melting pot of different races, religions, walks of life, and ethnicities. However, what people fail to realize is that this very concept is reflected in the city itself, its layout and its neighborhoods; and on September 11, 2019, we were able to fully explore this via the Miami Dade Metrorail, a vein that runs through the heart of Miami and its neighborhoods. In the 1980s, the metrorail was adding more stations and expanding in the post-World War II economic success that the U.S. was experiencing. However, as Miami’s city planning has proven to be inefficient, the city continued to grow and the metrorail simply could not keep up—the citizens needed more, and this has pushed the dependency of most people towards cars and private vehicles. Today, the metrorail, metromover, and the metrobus struggles with ridership as these other means continue beat out the rails despite it being less efficient. Today, we got to experience the true Miami for what it is, beyond its people, through the most efficient means: the metrorail. From the Lowe Art Museum, hosting two of the most incredible El Greco pieces—who was a Greek painting in Spain, how Miami is that—to Vizcaya’s unique blend of Europe, the Americas, and Tequestas to Overtown’s amazing Jackson’s Soul Food, these spots are all representative of the true Miami melting pot. Each neighborhood filled with some history that links all of us “Miamians” to one another and to our land. Too often we feel as though we never have any linkage to the city where we reside and call our hometowns, however, if you ever just take the time to look, as we did, you too will find your roots in Miami. 

Downtown Miami as Text

CC By 4.0
Photos by Maria Cruz of FIU

Justice for None by Jessica Horsham of Florida International University in Downtown Miami on September 25, 2019. 

Despite the cultural infusions that have been present for many years, no piece of land in the United States has served as an exception to racism, prejudice, and inequality that once was rampant. However, it is presumptuous to assume that though things have begun to heal, these scars no longer affect us in the “land of the free.” As a result, people continue to ignore these scars, there is no denying its remnants, even in our “diverse and progressive” city. As you walk through the streets of downtown, it is clear to notice one of the most prominent distinctions between the homeless, most of these disenfranchised people are black—how is this possible where are supposed to be considered equal in a land of opportunity? One of the most appalling stops was the Longhouse and its similarities to our current Miami Dade County Courthouse. Both of these structures that were meant to uphold justice for all were places wherein many injustices occurred to individuals who often times were innocent; they were only guilty because of their genes—a pigment in their skin. From slave houses to courthouses, our justice system in its most basic and tangible meaning has been built upon structures that continue to emphasize the paradoxical meaning of equality for all and innocence. In the front of our current justice building, the Miami Dade Courthouse, there is a plaque wherein our citizens are simply labeled as “negroes.” How do we let this derogatory and degrading plaque still stand? In a place of equality? This specific amnesia and ignorance surrounding our history and our current system is what allows these divisions to continue to divide our nation. This is the exact reason why I have chosen to practice law and dedicate my life to it. Too many times does the system designed to protect the innocence corrupt it and unequally punish its offenders. Our justice systems need those dedicated to fight for our citizens, rather than those motivated to send them to our overflowing prisons and ultimately change their lives and those around them forever. Justice is supposed to mean something more, to protect all people, its current affairs does not reflect that and that is why we must change it. 

Miami in Miami: Maria Cruz

Photo by Alex Gutierrez (CC by 4.0)

Maria Cruz is a senior at the Honors College at Florida International University majoring in International Relations and minoring in Marketing. She is looking forward to graduating in the Spring of 2020 and furthering her education at a graduate school. Fresh from her study abroad trip she completed this past summer in France with Professor Bailly she is in the midst of completing her final year at FIU. Below are her reflections of the Miami in Miami class she is participating in this academic year through the Honors College.

Downtown Miami as Text

Photos and edit by Maria Cruz (CC by 4.0)

“Ground Zero,” by Maria Cruz of FIU in Downtown Miami on September 25, 2019

With just over a century of its existence, Miami is one of the most unique urban areas I have encountered. Being established in 1896, Miami is one of the youngest major cities in the U.S., still in the midst of developing and forming its identity. The history of the city began with Julia Tuttle’s spirit of entrepreneurship, and since then has become a place for individuals from all backgrounds to start their new lives  — a ground zero, if you will. From the start, Miami has reflected the values and cultures of its everchanging population, making all those that seek its solace feel welcomed. It has become the home of countless marginalized communities, and I, a Cuban immigrant who regularly speaks Spanish outside of my house and can go to a local cafeteria to get a cafecito can attest to that fact. But the reputation of the city was elevated by the artists that found inspiration in this tropical paradise, Haitian and Puerto Rican refugees who sought to rebuild their lives, members of the LGBT community who found themselves accepted, and millions of others that have come to call Miami their home.

Despite this progress, the city is not immune to the tragedies the rest of American history is plagued with. From racism to misogyny, Miami is still dealing with its “problematic past”(as our professor refers to it) and its modern-day implications. Tuttle’s efforts are ignored for the economic achievements of Henry Flagler, the city’s involvement in the violent persecution of Native populations is disregarded,  and its involvement in the discriminatory racial policies of the South is largely omitted from its historical narrative. Therefore, it is imperative that the younger generations, who are still living with the consequences of these actions, do not ignore our past. Rather, as a local community, we must come together to confront these issues while we are in the midst of making history and have the time to make a change. 

Miami Metro as Text

Photos and edit by Maria Cruz (CC by 4.0)

“Redefining Miami,” by Maria Cruz of FIU in Miami on September 11, 2019

For many, art is viewed as the height of a society’s culture. Whether it has historical relevance or ties to the modern scene, a city’s association with art has been a defining factor in its cultural value — and consequently, an individual’s appreciation of these locations. Despite Miami being one of the United State’s most popular metropolitan areas, and my home for the past 17 years, it is a place I took for granted for many reasons. For one, it lacked the cultural appeal and charm that other cities, such as Los Angeles and New York City, are renowned for. For example, in terms of the arts, we are seemingly lacking in widespread access and appraisal. As someone who spent the summer throughout Europe studying the origins of some of the most important artistic developments in the world, the opportunities to view the masterpieces of Monet, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio on a regular basis is something I have increasingly mourned. In many parts of the world, art, in all its forms, is something that is greatly appreciated by the public and largely celebrated; however, the same can not be said for Miami. Or well, that is what I used to believe. Throughout our class excursion day, it became even more clear to me that I could not be more wrong.

With art pieces strung throughout metro station stops and university museums, the city of Miami is investing in enhancing its culture, and in turn, redefining its residents’ cultural values. In our modern-day, art is not limited to the banquet halls of châtalets and internationally known museums for the privileged to visit, but it has transformed to become a public act for all to enjoy. Whether it be the domino themed walkways or recreations of sculptures, art has increasingly become accessible in the city, opening many to the importance of it. For many years, I, and millions of others, merely associated Miami with the art deco style that dominated the look of its downtown area. However, I now know that the city’s ties to art have deeper historical connections, going back several centuries to the times of El Greco. Even more recently, artists such as Purvis Yung have contributed to the contemporary art scene in Miami, reforming people’s views on modern art and its association with the city. I was truly astonished at just how much we discovered by spending just one day using the metro. While I cannot help but lament over all the years and experiences I missed, I cannot be more excited to discover the other hidden gems of Miami and form the relationship with my home that I have missed out on these past 17 years.