Valencia Global Distinction Student Spotlight: Miguel Bermúdez

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Study Abroad and Global Experiences (SAGE) office is excited to share the journey of Miguel Bermúdez — a Valencia College student who recently earned his Global Citizen Distinction as part of the Valencia Global Distinction (VGD) program. Miguel recently graduated from Valencia and is seeking a bachelor’s degree in international relations and global studies.

Born in Venezuela, Miguel Bermúdez migrated to the U.S. about four years ago due to political persecution. This experience ignited his passion for immigrants and refugee rights, equality, diversity and creating more culturally empathetic spaces for all. He says he is constantly inspired by his peers, who strive for a more compassionate world, and the countless stories of those who have fought injustice worldwide.

“I am motivated by the knowledge that I stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me and have blazed the trail that I follow,” he shared.

Immigrating to the U.S. was not easy for Miguel, and one of the promises he made to his parents and himself was that he would continue his education.

“I was excited to be at a college with real student engagement and participation,” he said. “I love being active on campus; that was a major thing that I looked for, and Valencia was the perfect fit for me. Its international community is so big that I felt at home.”

There are two aspects that Miguel loved most about the VGD program — the Skillshops and its culturally relevant sessions, as well as the final capstone presentation.

“They (Skillshops) were useful, enriching and interesting, and the final capstone presentation was an amazing opportunity to find something I am passionate about to make the world better and not only expand on the topic, but also dive in deeper than ever before to really understand all the different variables within it,” Miguel explained. “Choosing the negative narratives placed upon immigrants was a way for me to investigate the struggles we face, but also demystifying those destructive notions with the truth and accomplishments that immigrants bring to the United States.”

For his VGD capstone project, Miguel volunteered at a non-profit organization called Humanitarian Action and traveled to Arizona to gather information about the refugees and immigrants coming into the U.S. through the Tucson Sector of the Southern Border. East Campus Professor of English Aby Boumarate served as Miguel’s VGD Advisor and assisted him through the capstone process.

“I had the opportunity to see the conditions of the immigrants’ shelters and talk to immigrants about their experiences, legal experts and border patrol,” Miguel said about his capstone project. “That helped my VGD project because it was a realistic and on-the-ground project.”

Besides the VGD program, Miguel completed the Career Action Distinction and the Peace and Justice Institute Distinction program. Additionally, as president of the Valencia Intercultural Student Association, he received the award for Outstanding Registered Student Organization for 2021-2022. He was also awarded the inaugural Puma Spirit Award, along with three other students, for his Outstanding Student Engagement for 2021-2022.

Some of Miguel’s role models in his personal life include his grandparents.

“From fleeing Ukraine during World War II to defying the odds and breaking barriers as a Black man and becoming a prominent doctor in my home country while remaining kind, steady, and altruistic — their stories inspire me to continue that legacy.”

He is also thankful for his student life role models V.I.S.A. Club advisors, Vannia Ruiz, coordinator, study abroad and global experiences, and Kenia Pimentel, international student services specialist.

“They showed me what successful, empathetic and compassionate immigrants can achieve,” Miguel shared. “Their support through my journey in Valencia has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my journey.’

Vannia has enjoyed working with Miguel as well.

“During the short period of time that I have known Miguel, he has truthfully inspired me to continue working on my own journey to become a better version of myself,” Vannia explained. “He is such a wonderful, kind and brave human being, and I believe we need more people like Miguel. He has a bright future ahead of him and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.”

Miguel’s plans include continuing his education and obtaining his bachelor’s degree.

“I want to continue my work as a volunteer for different non-profit organizations that impact the lives of minority communities, immigrants and LGBTQ+ people,” he said. “I would love to stay connected with the alumni community at Valencia College.”

Miguel looks forward to having his own family, traveling around the world and learning the culture and history of others. One of his dreams is to create an organization focusing on cultural preservation.

2 Comments

  • Izabella Vianna said:

    Way to go, Miguel! Thank you, Vannia and Kenya, for all the mentoring and support you have shown Miguel. Stories like this one remind me why our work is so important!

    PMMon, 23 May 2022 18:32:36 +0000Mon, 23 May 2022 18:32:36 +0000pm22,6:32 pm

  • Traci Ash Bjella said:

    Congrats Miguel! It was such a pleasure to work with you on the College Mascot project & implementation. I know you are just beginning to do wonderful things!! All the best – Traci

    PMTue, 24 May 2022 14:55:55 +0000Tue, 24 May 2022 14:55:55 +0000pm22,2:55 pm

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