SF to UF: Xavier’s Journey

SF to UF: Xavier’s Journey

An individual wearing black stands outside looking contemplatively into the distance.

February 19, 2024 – Community is important to Xavier Heredia. Without one, he might not have accomplished his goal of transferring from Santa Fe College (SF) to the University of Florida (UF).

“Obviously for me college was a place to learn,” Heredia said, “but really for me was the people that I met and what I got involved in that helped me later on.”

From Quito, Ecuador, Heredia joined his sister who had recently moved to the area. He wanted to attend the University of Florida. His sister suggested he begin the academic journey at SF. Citing smaller class sizes, she thought this would be the best chance to connect with others.

Heredia reluctantly enrolled. A new home. A new school. New people. Heredia’s discomfort didn’t stop him from growing.

“I think the first thing that I noticed was the amount of international students that were here,” he said. “And at that point to me, I needed something like that because moving to a different country was pretty challenging.”

In addition to bonding with other international students, Heredia joined the Model United Nations team, remarking, “That was probably one of the most uncomfortable things I had to do. I had to learn how to speak in public. I had to learn how to give speeches in front of hundreds of people.”

Heredia persevered.

With his peers backing him, he stepped out of his comfort zone and into a world filled with possibilities. He earned his degree from SF and transferred to UF.

He’s not the only one.

A majority of SF students who apply to UF each semester are accepted, including an impressive 88 percent of students in the SF honors program. The success of SF students at UF may be attributed to small class sizes, a challenging academic environment, and the personalized attention provided by faculty and academic advisors.

Reflecting on his journey, Heredia acknowledged that without Santa Fe College and the support he found along the way, he wouldn’t have attained his position as an account manager at Amazon Web Services covering fintech startups.

“I wanted to go to the University of Florida and chose to complete my first two years at Santa Fe College,” Heredia said. “This was the best decision for me.”

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