Wanted: Peer Mentors

ISSS is very excited to announce that our brand new iSucceed Mentorship Program will launch this spring! The mentorship program will ease the transition of new international students as they begin their studies at SJSU, helping them navigate cultural and social challenges as well as campus life. In preparation for the launch of the program, we are looking for volunteer Peer Mentors who are enthusiastic and want to make a difference in the lives of new international students. Peer Mentor applications are open September 21-October 28, 2020.

Apply to be a Volunteer Peer Mentor 

Why be a Peer Mentor?

  • Expand your worldview! Learn from others about cultures across the globe.
  • Make a difference! It feels good to help others, and you’d be surprised to see the impact your kindness can make on someone else’s life.
  • Boost your resume! Develop intercultural, interpersonal, and leadership skills–transferable skills employers seek.
  • Work on a multicultural team in a supportive environment.

Who’s eligible to be a Peer Mentor?

  • Undergraduate students (international or U.S.) in good academic standing (2.0 GPA or higher) with at least 1 year at SJSU.
  • Graduate students (international or U.S.) in good academic standing (2.0 GPA or higher) with at least 1 semester at SJSU.

Peer Mentor Responsibilities (Spring 2021)

  • Commit to volunteering for one semester
  • Weekly time commitment varies, but averages 1-2 hours per week
  • Required attendance at Mentor Orientation &  iSucceed Kick Off event 
  • During spring semester, regularly check in with your assigned Mentees via Zoom, email, social media, text, or phone conversation (your choice)
  • Provide support and guidance to Mentees, directing them to appropriate resources as necessary
  • Attend bi-weekly Peer Mentor meetings via Zoom
  • Engage with the iSucceed community
  • Keep in close communication with your Advisory Board liaison, who will help you during your time as a Peer Mentor (the Advisory Board is like a small team of mentors mentoring a mentor).

Learn more on our website: https://www.sjsu.edu/isss/events/isucceed/index.html 

Cultural Conversation: Gender & Identity 

Join us on Friday, September 25, 2020 | 2:00-3:00 PM (PST) via Zoom

Why do some Americans introduce themselves with “they/their/theirs”? What does queer mean? How can I be an ally? If you’ve ever wondered these things, you won’t want to miss out on this Cultural Conversation, where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and share what you feel comfortable sharing in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Facilitators: Dr. Kyoung Mi Choi (she/her) & Dr. Robert Marx (he/him), Lurie College of Education 

Dr. Robert Marx & Dr. Kyoung Mi Choi

 Message from Dr. Kyoung Mi Choi 

“Welcome, new international students! My name is Kyoung Mi Choi and I am an associate professor in the department of counselor education at SJSU.  I was an international student from South Korea when I first came to the United States in 2001. I remember learning and navigating the cultural differences and norms were both exciting and challenging. Compared to U.S. culture, Korean culture is more collective and conservative. It was not easy for me to explore and embrace my own sexual orientation in a new culture. However, I can say that it has been the most inspiring and healing journey. I’d like to share my story with you and would also love to hear yours. I hope you can us” 

Message from Dr. Robert Marx

“Hi, there! I’m so excited to meet with all of you! I’m Robert Marx, and I’m an Assistant Professor in Child and Adolescent Development at SJSU. I grew up in Virginia in the U.S., lived abroad as a student in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and worked abroad in Singapore. I definitely had to adjust to new ways of thinking about gender and sexuality, not only living outside of the U.S. but also moving from the South to the North to the West Coast. I’d love to talk more with you about gender and sexuality, and I’d love to get to know you! I also hope that Kyoung Mi and I can answer any questions you might have!”

What we are planning to share:

  • Diversity in Gender and Sexual Identity
  • What Are Pronouns? Why do they matter?
  • Your Culture vs. US Culture: Are They Different or Similar?

Useful Resources

  • Queer Educators and Counselors Network. To learn more about Drs. Marx and Choi’s work, check out QECN
  • Here is a list of resources for LGBTQIA+ International Students

West Coast Wildfire Resources

Dear Global Spartans,

We hope that you have all been keeping safe and hunkered down during the intense wildfires of the last few weeks. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict when and where these wildfires will strike, and the wildfires are occurring even earlier and with more frequency than anticipated. In order to ensure that you have the best resources at your disposal in the event of a wildfire in your area, we have provided the following guidance from the state and federal government on how to prepare for wildfires and to whom to reach out should you become affected by a wildfire in California or on the West Coast of the U.S.

We strongly recommend that you review the following resource on state and federal guidance for wildfires that have been occurring in California, Oregon, and Washington:

West Coast Wildfires Resource

We wish you a safe and successful Fall 2020 semester! #TalkToUs should you have any queries by contacting us at our international-office@sjsu.edu general inbox or you may choose to schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor for more complex questions.

Warm Regards,

The ISSS Staff


What do I do now that I have purchased health insurance?

How to obtain your insurance ID card?

The Aetna insurance company does not print and mail medical insurance cards. All cards will be electronic.

  • Go to www.aetnastudenthealth.com
  • Select San Jose State University from the drop down menu and click on “view your school”
  • Select the “Print Your ID Card” link
  • Enter your school issued Student ID number and DOB (date of birth: month/day/year) and click “Submit”
  • Take a screenshot to save it to your phone OR print it out and keep in your wallet
  • Show your medical ID card whenever you receive medical treatment

Where do I go when I am sick?

  • Aetna 24 Hour Nurse Line (free nurse advice) 1-800-556-1555
  • Visit the Campus Student Health Center during their office hours. After hours you may call the campus after-hours nurse advice line: (866) 935-6347
  • Locate a Preferred Provider off campus (Aetna Doctor, Urgent Care or ER) and schedule an appointment
  • Show your electronic medical ID card whenever you are treated

What happens after I seek medical services/treatment?

  • Most doctors will send your medical bills directly to Aetna Student Advantage for processing and payment.
  • If you receive a bill directly from the doctor’s office or hospital, please call Aetna to ensure they have received it as well.  You may also want to call the doctor’s office or hospital to check if they have your health insurance information. If not, then they will collect your insurance information and send the bills to Aetna. 
  • You will receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from Aetna within 6-8 weeks of treatment. The EOB will show what was paid to your doctor and if you have any out-of-pocket cost (you are responsible for any paying out-of-pocket expenses). 
  • If you have any out-of-pocket cost, you may receive a bill from the doctor. Make sure to pay your bill AFTER confirming that Aetna has paid their portion.  

Who can I contact if I have questions?

  • Aetna – (877) 480-4168  www.Aetnastudenthealth.com 
    • Check the status of a bill
    • View your electronic medical ID card
    • With questions regarding your benefits or claims
  • JCB Insurance Solutions – (408) 220-9341  www.jcbins.com 
    • Update your contact information 
    • View important plan details 
    • Complete and pay for enrollment
  • Email ISSS office (International-office@sjsu.edu) if you for general questions or not sure whom to contact. 

Cultural Conversations

We are pleased to introduce a new series called Cultural Conversations as part of our Beyond Global Spartan Welcome program. Cultural Conversations introduces timely and pertinent topics related to U.S. culture, and are facilitated by our campus partners who have expertise in the area. These conversations take place in a safe, non-judgmental space where students can ask questions to further their understanding and share their perspectives on how the topic is viewed through their cultural lens. Oftentimes these topics are something international students may be curious about as they have heard about it in the news or perhaps saw it referenced in social media, but haven’t had the opportunity to explore further or discuss with Americans. For example, our first Cultural Conversation was Exploring Social Justice, led by our friends Chris Yang and Sharon Singh from the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center. We learned about the social justice concepts of power, privilege, and oppression, and also reflected upon our own identities and experiences with difference.

Are you an international student who wants to learn more about U.S. culture? Are you an American student who wants to explore these topics from different perspectives? We hope you’ll join us for a future Cultural Conversation. Simply click on the links below to register and save your spot!

Understanding Academic Integrity Personal and professional relationships can differ by culture. How do we appropriately and effectively communicate with our peers? What about with faculty? In this Cultural Conversation, we’ll also talk about social norms and expectations in relationships both abroad and in the U.S.

Facilitators: Gisi Thompson, Student Conduct & Ethical Development & Keri Toma, International Student & Scholar Services

Friday, September 18, 2020 | 2:00-3:00 PM (PST) via Zoom

Gender & Identity Why do some Americans introduce themselves with “they/their/theirs”? What does queer mean? How can I be an ally? If you’ve ever wondered these things, you won’t want to miss out on this Cultural Conversation, where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and share what you feel comfortable sharing in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Facilitators: Dr. Kyoung Mi Choi & Dr. Robert Marx, Lurie College of Education

Friday, September 25, 2020 | 2:00-3:00 PM (PST) via Zoom


Visit our ISSS events page to see our featured events. Learn more about Beyond Global Spartan Welcome, including Global Leader Chats and workshops.