Michelle Asuncion

Michelle Asuncion
Mentor: Dr. Laura Sjoberg
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"Since the early years of my secondary education in the Philippines, I found my love in research and doing fieldwork. As I continued my studies in the UK and USA, I got more involved with research. My research experience allowed me to develop and pursue my interests in migration studies, to learn new concepts and theories, to sharpen my problem-solving and analytical skills and to challenge myself in many ways. Moreover, it provided me with a great opportunity to learn and to work closely with distinguished mentor-faculty members and experienced researchers. In general, I was opened to see and experience the significant contribution of research in solving various local and world problems."


Political Science


Anthropology; Spanish and Latin American Studies

Research Interests

  • Politics of Transnational Migration
  • International Relations, International Law and Migration Policy
  • Gender, Labor Rights and Labor Policy Studies

Academic Awards

  • UF University Scholars Program
  • Reitz Scholar
  • Geico Life Scholarship
  • Dean's List
  • Davis United World College Scholarship


  • CLS Ambassador, UF Center for Leadership and Service
  • Resident Assistant, Yulee Hall Global Living Learning Community, UF Housing& Residence Education
  • Golden Key International Honour Society


  • Mentor, Gator Teens Mentoring Program, UF Center for Leadership and Service
  • ISSB Speaker, International Students Speakers Bureau (ISSB), UF International Center
  • English Teacher/Volunteer, Asosación Cultural Norte Joven-Centro de Vallecas, Madrid, Spain

Hobbies and Interests

  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Photography, Painting, & Arts and Crafts
  • Playing Piano

Research Description

The Filipino Culture of Migration: Impacts of State Labor and Migration Policies on the Sense of Belonging and Experiences of Overseas Filipino Migrant Workers in Spain.
"Since the 1970s, the Philippines has provided several kinds of skilled and low-skilled workers to developed countries. From an estimated number of 36,035 Filipinos who left the Philippines in 1975, the number of Filipinos deployed abroad increased to approximately 8.6 million as of December 2009 (POEA). The Philippines is one of the top labor exporter countries. This reputation on labor exportation has invited equal measures of curiosity, commendation and criticism among scholars and the public.This research examines the relationship between the experiences of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Spain and how the state labor and migration policies shape their experiences. Additionally, it aims to understand to what extent the Philippine and Spanish governments have provided services in order to reach out and to help integrate OFWs into Spanish labor markets and society consecutively. Furthermore, it analyzes the evolution of the sense of belonging and the level of assimilation of OFWs and their families in Spain.This paper asserts that the enduring Spanish financial crONE.UF, gendered dimension of globalization and gaps in labor laws caused the creation of more restrictive migration policies, reduced social security benefits for immigrants and hampered migrants’ assimilation in the Spanish labor market and society. Consequently, it posits that OFWs have been ossified and restricted from moving out of their designated “labor space,” specifically reproductive labor. Furthermore, this study discusses the feminized labor space of reproductive labor for Filipinos.To have a better understanding of Filipino transnational migration, this study analyzes the push and pull factors facilitating the increase of Filipino migration flow from 1970s to the present. Additionally, it studies Spanish and Philippines foreign policies and services, primarily focusing on migrant labor rights and regularization, consular services, education and health privileges.The research methodology will take form of an ethnographic study that includes participant observation and in-depth interviews with migrants in Madrid, academic specialists on international migration, and state authorities. These accounts will help to accurately assess the impact of state policies and to measure levels of national identity and assimilation.Existing literature and research about Filipino migration in Spain are still limited. The goal of this study is to fundamentally contribute to a limited yet developing scholarship on Filipino international and domestic migration. Moreover, this study will provide accounts and analysis that will give better understanding and analysis of Filipino migrants’ situation, experiences and integration into the Spanish society. Finally, it aims to encourage affirmative government response to surfacing labor and human rights issues among Filipino migrant workers.