Global Spartan Month 2021

ISSS and our College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) partners are pleased to bring you Global Spartan Month during the month of March. Join us in celebrating international education and cultural exchange through a series of workshops, fun social activities, and our Global Spartan Photo Contest!

View our website for a full calendar of events, and follow us on Instagram (@SJSUinternational) for the latest event updates. 

Here are a few events that might be of particular interest to International Students:

Make Connections (Social Events)

    • Global Connections: Mondays at 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (PT). Topics include Celebrating Women’s History Month (Mar. 1), International Games (Mar. 8), Managing Perfektionism (Mar. 15), and Persian New Year Celebrations (Mar. 22)
    • ISSS x SAA x GSN Social Mixer: March 5 | 3:00-4:00 PM (PT)). Have fun playing games and meeting your peers. Hosted by ISSS, Study Abroad & Away, and the Global Student Network.
    • Thursday Tea Time: Thursdays at 3:00-4:00 PM (PT). Join this casual, peer-led weekly meetup to destress and connect with fellow international students.


    • Sprintax Non-resident Tax Webinar for SJSU Students: March 3 | 1:00-2:00 PM (PT) Presented by Sprintax Tax Experts
    • Writing Workshop: Common Grammar & Punctuation Errors: March 10 | 12:00-1:00 PM (PT) Presented by the writing center
    • Strategies for Job Search Success: International Student & Alumni Panel: March 18 | 4:00-5:00 PM (PT) Panel includes 2 current international students and 2 SJSU international alumni who work for Apple and TikTok.

Food & Culture

    • Global Leader Chat on American Slang & Culture: March 3 | 7:00-8:00 PM (PT). Global Leaders share their experience and insight with American slang and culture.
    • Cultural Conversations: Exploring Social Justice: March 11 | 7:30-8:30 PM (PT) Presented by the MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center, this interactive session is a chance to better understand what social justice means and how it impacts our lives.
    • Eating & Cooking in the U.S.: March 5, 12, 19 | 12:00-12:45 PM (PT) Presented by students in the Nutrition & Food Science program, this 3-part series was designed to help international students navigate food-related challenges such as where to access groceries on a budget, how to eat healthy in the U.S., and tips for cooking in a U.S. kitchen.

We hope you’ll join us for one or many events during Global Spartan Month! Follow us on Instagram for the latest updates.

Free Access to Sprintax Tax Preparation!

Dear International Students,

It’s important to be aware that, as a non-resident student in the US, you’re legally required to file a tax return if you received US income during 2020.  And even if you didn’t work or receive income in the US, you’re still obliged to file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

San Jose State University has arranged free access to Sprintax Tax Preparation for you! Sprintax will guide you through the tax preparation process, arrange the necessary documents and check if you’re due a tax refund.

Sprintax was used by over 324,116 international students and scholars last year, and the average Federal refund received by eligible students was over $1,126.

All you need to do is:

1. Register and follow the simple instructions
2. Complete the online questionnaire
3. Enter your unique code: SpR20SJSU601F in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return

Finally, once you complete the preparation process in the Sprintax software, you must print, sign and mail your documents to the IRS.

If you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat facility. You can also join a Sprintax webinar for SJSU students on March 3, 2021 from 1:00-2:00 pm (PT).



Get Involved!

Whether you’re a new or continuing student, ISSS has many opportunities for you to connect with others, engage in our community, explore culture, and thrive here at SJSU. Even in this virtual environment, we’re here to support you and help you achieve academic success. Learn more about how to stay connected and get involved.

Stay Connected

  • Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @SJSUinternational for the latest event updates
  • Schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor
  • Have a quick question? Drop into our Zoom Q&A
  • Email us at 
  • Chat with peers on the Sammy App (instructions below)

Upcoming Events

Weekly Events

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

    • Global Connections: Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (PT). Join our weekly meetup to connect with people from around the world, explore cultural topics, and learn tips for improving your overall well being. 
    • Thursday Tea Time @ 3:00 p.m. Global Leaders Song and Yuki host a weekly meetup. Come hang out with us, meet new people, relax, and have a good time! 


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

  • Attend an F-1 Employment Workshop
  • Work Visas Made Easy: Practical Answers to work visas in the U.S.
    • February 26, 2021 | 1:00-2:30 p.m. (PT) | Register here | Learn more
    • Presented by David Gluckman, immigration attorney
  • Sprintax Tax Webinar for Non-Residents
  • Strategies for Job Search Success: International Student & Alumni Panel

Beyond Global Spartan Welcome

  • Cultural Conversations: Understanding U.S. Academic Culture
  • Global Leader Chat: Making Friends
  • Global Leader Chat: Study & Job Search Tips for International Students
  • Global Leader Chat: American Slang & Culture
  • Cultural Conversations: Exploring Social Justice

Writing Workshops

Our Writing Workshop Series is a collaboration with the SJSU Writing Center.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Scholar Spotlight: Cassie Hilditch

Cassie Hilditch is a Visiting Scholar from Australia in the Department of Psychology at SJSU. Read on to learn more about Cassie!

What is your role here at SJSU? What do you hope to accomplish during your time here?

I am a Senior Research Associate in the Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory based at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. My research aims are to improve the sleep, alertness, and performance of aviators and astronauts. My goals are to meaningfully contribute to the research missions of my lab and to learn as much as possible from the amazing and diverse scientists at NASA. (And to go to the moon… one day!)

What do you enjoy most about SJSU or your time here in the U.S.?

I love living in the Bay Area and having access to so many awesome outdoor spaces to hike and camp. The only thing keeping me sane during this pandemic are long hikes along the coast, through redwoods, and up mountains – getting as far away from people as possible. 

Before the pandemic I loved having access to all the concerts from bands that rarely tour in Australia. 

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

I’m from Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. Despite having a population of over 1 million people, Adelaide is known as the “big country town” and gets overshadowed by its big brother, Melbourne. But I love the big country town vibe – it means you can always bump into friends at the pub, events are never sold out, you can go swimming at the beach or hiking in the hills within a 15-min drive from the city, and you can get a meal from any cuisine in the whole world thanks to our diverse migrant population.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

I’d been a tourist in the US for several years before moving here, and I’ve lived here for 5 years, so I can’t really remember what it was like to be naive to American culture. That said, I still constantly find out about words or phrases that don’t translate from Australian to American that I’ve been using the whole time (e.g., “I don’t mind”). I’ve known my husband, an American, for 4 years and even today he only understands about one-third of what I say. 

Oh and taxes. I wish I had known a *competent* accountant sooner.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

I hope that everyone is keeping safe and healthy during the pandemic! With everything shut down since March 2020 I’ve had a lot more free time and decided to volunteer at a local wildlife rescue center. What started as 2 hours per week cleaning poop out of cages has become my whole life – raising orphaned squirrels, releasing rehabilitated opossums,  becoming a team coordinator, and -yes- still cleaning poop out of cages. Point being: look into volunteering in your community, it can be a super rewarding experience and it supports the community that is supporting you!

Lunar New Year 2021


Happy Lunar New Year!

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

We’re celebrating the Year of the Ox on Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (PT) with a virtual Lunar New Years Celebration. Register online, and join your Global Leaders for this fun, social mixer. Whether you celebrate the Lunar New Year regularly or just want to learn more about it, we invite you to join us!

Curious about how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various cultures? We asked our Global Leaders to share more about how they celebrate in their home countries. Here’s what they shared…

Harry from Macau

  • How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? “Gong hei fat choy” is the most common Chinese New Year greeting in Cantonese.  It directly translates to “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”
  • What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? Get a lot of money from my relatives, and then my mom will “keep” it for me
  • What special food do you eat at New Years? Chicken
  • What’s your favorite thing about New Years? Holiday from school.

Lunar New Years in Macau. Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Mindy from Vietnam

  • How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? Chuc Mung Nam Moi
  • What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? My family and I usually start to prepare for Lunar New Year, or Tet, about a week prior to the holiday. First of all, we would clean every corner of the house (because, strangely enough, dust brings luck, and so during the first three days of the year, you wouldn’t want to sweep the floor). We would also buy apricot blossoms, a few nice photo frames, and little pretty things to decorate around the house for many guests coming over on the first day. Of course, the adult will prepare red envelopes with lucky money insides, ready to give to the kids during Tet as a gesture of good luck.
  • What special food do you eat at New Years? Before, when I was little and my grandmother was

    Bahn Chung (sticky rice cakes)

    still healthy, she used to cook savory sticky rice cake and caramelized pork and eggs, which are special food for Tet. Both of the dishes take a lot of time (around two days), effort, and love to make. In recent years, since my brother, cousins, and I are all studying abroad during Tet, the adults at home celebrate with smaller and simpler dishes. My absolute favorite side dish is the Vietnamese-style salty vegetable pickles that can be eaten with sticky rice cake or porridge. I can happily enjoy it any single day.

  • What’s your favorite thing about New Years? I like how everyone tends to be nicer around this time of the year since we believe what we do and how we act on the first day of the year will set a standard for the whole year. On top of that, I like seeing my family together cleaning, cooking, and exchanging good wishes. I could only come home once to celebrate Tet in the past seven years of staying in the U.S., yet it left me lovely memories. My mom and cousins spent the whole day driving around Saigon to take Tet photos for me in my Vietnamese traditional dress.

Song from China

  • How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? 新年好 Xin Nian Hao

    Writing spring couplets (

  • What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? We always celebrate the lunar New Year with writing the spring couplet with good wishes and have a family reunion dinner together.
  • What special food do you eat at New Years? The Special food for Lunar New Year includes rice cake which we normally do not eat.
  • What’s your favorite thing about New Years? Able to get red envelope is my favorite.

Thi from Vietnam

  • How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? Chúc mừng năm mới!
  • What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year?

    Visiting family during Tet (

    Lunar New Year usually means family time for me. On the first day of the year, we would dress up and visit our extended family. We also made a point to visit everyone’s house for good luck too! And there was always lucky money given around as we exchange best wishes to each other. 

  • What special food do you eat at New Years? My favorite Lunar New Year food was my mom’s ribs and dried bamboo soup. She would cook it in a huge pot and pair it with glass noodles. We usually end up eating it for the first week of New Year and towards the end everyone is just tired of it. But after a year of not eating the soup, the cravings always come back!
  • What’s your favorite thing about New Years? I live in Hanoi and we have a large portion of the population come here for work and have families living in other parts of the country. During Lunar New Year there will always be an atmosphere of joy when people finally have the chance to go home and visit their family. So my favorite thing about Lunar New Year is that it represents going home and spending time with your loved ones.

Yuyi from China

  • How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? 新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè
  • What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? We usually have a family dinner together, make dumplings together, cut window decorations, and write Spring Festival couplets.
  • What special food do you eat at New Years? Dumplings
  • What’s your favorite thing about New Years? Lucky envelope!

Lucky envelope or red envelope, often filled with money, symbolize good fortune and prosperity. Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Would you like to share about your favorite holiday, festival, or cultural tradition? We’d love to hear your voice in our blog. Please email us at with your ideas.