“I moved to Gainesville in 2017 after a lot of months of protests back home in Venezuela. I decided to study Journalism after seeing all the repression and censorship in my country. Some classes in Santa Fe College, like ENC1102 taught the passion of writing and how through my writing I could educate my community.
During my time at SF I have grown up a lot emotionally and as a person. The culture shock of living in the United States helped me to know different cultures, ideas and points of view. Now I value a lot when people feel confident to share with me their story and experiences in life. Being bilingual is definitely the best thing that has happened to me. I know my English is not perfect, but I had learned it’s not a barrier when people want to know you more and want to know your story.
Santa Fe College, as I always told people, was my home far from home. So many individuals shared their time and knowledge with me to ensure I succeeded. Marina Jordan, International Student Advisor, helped me figure out which classes I needed to graduate. Mike Laffey, Coordinator, International Student Services, always explained the procedures I needed to follow to be legal and continue my education as an international student.
Also, during my time at SF I worked in the office of Student Affairs. Stacey Ledvina, Assistant to Vice President was the best boss, she was always happy and ready to work together, I learned from her. Stacey also helped me apply for a scholarship at the University of Florida in order to continue my journey. SF will be always my second home and I will always be an ambassador to encourage students and people to go there and get an education.
Also, I’m super thankful that during my time at SF I met really good friends and became involved in clubs like the Hispanic Organization of Latino Activities (HOLA). I treasure my continued friendships with fellow students like Mariana Chehad, Luisa Montano, Nacho Morales and Johann Bastardo, who are now my closest friends and had been there for me when I needed it the most.
I have been applying what I’ve learned through my 2 years at SF and then my 2 years at UF, by looking out there to stories or issues that are affecting my Latin community. I believe being the voice for minorities is the best way I can contribute using Journalism.
Thank you to my parents and sisters for providing me with unconditional support throughout my time navigating college as an international student. Building a life in the United States has come with more challenges than I expected, but knowing that no matter the distance, I can always count on them is the one thing that has kept me grounded and motivated to follow my dreams.
I’m ready to graduate from the University of Florida in December and my aspiration is to work as a newscast Producer. As a producer, I will be a leader for my team, write stories, ask my reporters for their ideas and have on air a final product.”
– Maria Victoria Camacho, A.A. in Journalism 2019. Former President, SF HOLA Club and international student from Valencia, Venezuela