Degree: Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
College/School: Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs
An immigrant from Colombia and the first in her family to go to college in the U.S., Sara Bedoya, 22, found herself living on her own for the first time when she transferred to FIU from a community college in Orlando.
Within a year, she changed majors – from international business to international relations – because she realized she cared as much about connecting with and understanding people from other cultures as she did about running a successful global enterprise.
Over the past two years, Sara said she is most proud of the work she has done for her family’s business in Colombia – Café Jesús Martín, a maker of specialty coffees named for her father Jesús and her brother Martín. This includes winning two international awards from a prestigious gourmet product competition in Paris; helping local farmers in her hometown of Salento; creating new jobs there and being an example to other businesses in Colombia.
Sara said some of her fondest memories at FIU are from her time with the Association of Latino Professionals in America, which she said both challenged her and prepared her for the working world.
After graduation, she plans to return to Salento to continue working in the family business. She encourages other first-generation students to view their challenges as opportunities – because immersing yourself in another culture is how she believes people can learn to coexist, love and respect each other.
By Amy Ellis, Communications Manager
Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs