UF Online Student Earns His Business Degree While Serving Overseas

Born and raised in Lima, Peru, 29-year-old Jaime Suarez Berrocal dreamt of becoming a Florida Gator. He later moved to the United States and joined the U.S. Air Force in 2014, where he currently serves as an instructor at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. First beginning his UF Online studies in Summer 2020, Jaime graduated with his UF bachelor’s in business in Summer 2022 and hopes that more military members will earn their UF degree via UF Online.

Jaime is proud to be a lifelong member of the Gator Nation. “It is the highlight of my life and the highlight of my career,” Jaime said. “I wear that on my sleeve. It’s nice to be able to say that you belong to something bigger than yourself, aside from the military of course. It’s nice to know that wherever you go, you have someone rooting for you, rooting for your team, and rooting for your school all at the same time. It’s good to know that your investment in your education and your career will really pay off because you chose a great school.”

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could get into a big school and get a degree that worked for me,” Jaime said.


During a high school project in Peru, Jaime ignited his newfound dream to earn a UF degree. “I chose the team and the school before I chose to finally go to school here,” he said. “UF had been my dream school since I was a junior in high school in Peru over a decade ago. I learned about UF after a research project on Gatorade. I read about this university that saw a need and they met that need. That made me ask ‘Who are the Gators? What is the University of Florida?’” These initial questions ultimately led him to the Gator Nation, where he found an active and supportive community.

“The UF alumni network is really good,” Jaime said. “You can go anywhere in the U.S. and huge cities around the world, and there will always be a Gator wherever you go.”

Many factors played into his decision to choose UF Online over other online programs, but what stood out the most to Jaime is that the University of Florida is a top 5 public university and UF Online is the #1 online bachelor’s degree in the nation. “That came after the fact that UF had already been my favorite for years,” he explained. “That’s a huge selling point for anyone. Getting to say ‘Hey, I’m at a top 5 school.’”


After moving to the United States from Peru, Jaime chose an inspiring path of commitment and service that led him to the armed forces. “I joined the military after I moved to the U.S. because I wanted a jumpstart on my career,” he said. “I saw it as a really good opportunity to join the workforce at a young age, but also to start building on my educational background. Once I got into UF Online, I had to actually delay my entry for a year because I was getting moved.”

After enrolling in UF Online in Summer 2020, Jaime was called to aid with the pandemic efforts overseas while still balancing his online classes. “In fall of 2020, I was deployed to Qatar and Kuwait to assist with the pandemic,” he said. “I had to drop out of one class to balance all my work and school at the same time. My teachers were so good about it and they were always able to accommodate. They were always very understanding and were able to help me come up with a plan to turn in my assignments or homework. My work has always been supportive and I feel like UF Online has been even more supportive of my work. That’s been a really good mutual relationship.”

“I saw we were number one for veterans,” Jaime pointed out. “UF Online is veteran approved.”

The ability to assist with the pandemic overseas while continuing his studies was critical to Jaime’s academic success, which was made possible by UF Online’s flexible online format. “In that assignment or deployment, I was tasked with moving patients from the AOR,” he said. “If they were in Kuwait or Qatar, we had to transport them somewhere else to get care. So at times, I would find myself studying on the plane or having to find time for myself to study or read up on the assignments. I feel like that was always a huge plus at UF Online, you can download your blogs or access Canvas as soon as you get internet. It was a lot of time management on my end, but UF Online did everything within its reach to help me achieve my goals.”


Jaime hopes that more military members will discover and take advantage of the many perks and resources UF Online has to offer. “I want to encourage more active duty and veterans to join as the current tuition is about the same as what the military will pay while you’re still in,” Jaime said. “It is probably the highest-ranked school with the lowest tuition rate. The return on investment is just insane.”

“It’s been nice to see that even though I’ve been doing a completely unrelated job in the Air Force, having this business degree has really opened up a lot of doors for me in the civilian world,” Jaime said.

With graduation now behind him, Jaime looks eagerly toward his future and hopes to join UF’s ranks once again in the future as a Double Gator. “I might be sticking around in the military for another year or two and I might see myself going back into a program management job or a project management job,” Jaime said. “I want to apply again to UF and get back in as a grad. I’m looking at information systems and operational management in particular. That is the one that really caught my eye, especially because they deal with a lot of the trending topics in the business world, along with AI, which is one of the biggest topics right now in this century.”

The University of Florida congratulates Jaime on his recent graduation and thanks him for his service in the U.S. Air Force. UF Online is proud to celebrate such an outstanding and dedicated student and we wish him luck in all his future endeavors as a lifelong member of the Gator Nation.


As the #1 Best Online Bachelor’s in Business, according to U.S. News & World Report 2023, the University of Florida’s business administration degree prepares students for the growing business world. With the option to earn either a Bachelor of Science (BSBA) or Bachelor of Arts (BABA) in Business Administration, UF students can earn a nationally-ranked degree at an affordable cost. Courses taught by faculty from the Warrington College of Business prepare students for career paths in finance, marketing, human resources, and more. UF Online students can also minor in business administration while pursuing other majors. For more information about the business administration major, visit the UF Online degree page or register for one of our upcoming virtual information sessions.