Faces on Campus: Meet David at FIU

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By Matt Killorin
Last updated on August 10, 2023

A former international student himself, new FIU Global First Year director David Lecón knows just how to make incoming international students feel welcome and supported on campus.

Florida International University

David Lecon, FIU Global First Year director, smiles for the camera

David Lecón says that all paths led to his new role as managing director of the Florida International University (FIU) Global First Year program in Miami. He first came to the United States as an international student and soccer player from Spain. Lecón then continued his international studies, earning several degrees, including a Juris Doctorate, which led to a business law professorship and other professional positions at universities in Europe and the US.

“I think of everything that I’ve done and I’m able to pull from every single position I’ve had, be it at the law firm, as an adjunct professor teaching international students, and obviously being recruited as an international student myself and coming to the United States to live for the first time,” Lecón said. 

I really have a deep sensibility and an understanding of what students go through when they come to the United States to complete their studies. I can relate.” — David Lecón, managing director, FIU Global First Year

Lecón’s diversified career spans from the classroom, teaching international students, to the boardroom,  working with executives in education and alumni engagement. He plans to use his experience to help put students on a path to success in the FIU Global First Year program. 

“My goal is to reach the right outcomes for our students, such as the completion of their program here at FIU,” said Lecón. “But I think we also need to focus on one step further, which is career progression. I know what companies need when they turn to universities to find students and I really want to share that with the students.”

A Pathway to Success at FIU

When discussing opportunities for incoming international students, Lecón draws upon his own experience as an international student studying in the United States. He says that despite the pandemic, now is a great time to pursue a degree at FIU

“When I was studying in the United States, I would fly back home and see my friends and family. At some point, something clicked in my head and I realized that I was growing at a really fast rate and becoming much more mature, both at the professional and personal levels,” Lecón said. “My friends, in comparison, were perhaps not experiencing that, remaining in their home country. So, I look back at my college years and realize how important it was, how many doors I was able to open because of the fortune and good luck of attending college in the United States. Studying abroad is transformational!”

Looking ahead, he says, “we’ve gotten through the toughest part of the pandemic and things look better in Florida.”

The Global First Year program at Florida International University supports international students academically, culturally, and professionally. Students have access to more than 55 undergraduate degree options and can start earning college credits right away as they improve their English language skills and make lifelong friendships. Students live on campus at FIU, with more than 60,000 of their peers. They can access all the amenities they could imagine, from international food options to lively social activities. 

“Campus life is very rich. You have police, firemen, you can get your hair cut, and you can go to the gym. There’s literally everything you could need here on campus,” said Lecón. “That makes life much easier for students. At the same time, there’s Miami and you have just a million different things to do that are free of cost and available year-round because of the weather.”

Living and Studying in the City of Miami

One of Lecón’s favorite parts of working at FIU is being in Miami, one of the most vibrant cities in the US. From beach life to diverse neighborhoods, Miami has everything a big city can offer, with a cultural identity unlike any other. 

“Miami is a world-class destination, second to none, and the faculty at FIU are also world class, so you’re getting the best,” said Lecón. “Miami invites people to be out. So, when you go to different areas of the city, it’s always very busy. There are different neighborhoods throughout the city that have that big-city feel, but it’s not as daunting.”

In addition to cultural experiences and fun extracurricular opportunities, Miami is a great place to gain professional experience in multiple industries, with more than 1,400 multinational companies in the city

“It’s the gateway to Latin America,” said Lecón. “For students who are interested in international business, who are interested in staying in the United States and finding a great job, or a long-term sponsorship, there’s no better place than Miami.”

FIU: The Right Place to Be

Lecón is excited to be part of the FIU team. As he embarks on his first year as director, it’s easy to see his journey in parallel to the students beginning their international studies program in the United States. But Lecón isn’t the only member of his family embarking on a new role at FIU. His son also started his undergraduate studies this fall as a first-year student. 

“As a parent, I can’t think of a better place for my son to be, and we had plenty of options,” said Lecón. “We decided that FIU was the right place for him, from the school’s handling of the pandemic to the [ratio] of students to faculty, to the program itself. I’m very impressed with the team that’s here and with the service that we provide and I welcome all of our Global First Year students to FIU. We will take good care of them.”

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