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.

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

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.

Beyond Global Spartan Welcome

Beyond Global Spartan Welcome is an opportunity to connect with our Global Spartan Community, explore cultural topics, and prepare for academic success. It’s designed to help international students  navigate cultural, social, and academic transitions. Beyond GSW is made up of three components: Cultural Conversations, Global Leader Chats, and ISSS Workshops.

Cultural Conversations

Cultural Conversations are interactive hour-long sessions covering intercultural topics such as Navigating Cultural Transitions and Exploring Social Justice. Explore aspects of American culture, and share your own cultural perspectives while connecting with SJSU students and staff from across campus.

Global Leader Chats

Global Leader Chats are informal conversations facilitated by our Global Leaders and focused on student life topics like Zoom Culture, Canvas Basics, Making Friends, and American Slang & Culture. These chats were developed by Global Leaders, and they’re a great way to get peer advice and make new friends. You can get a head start and meet the Global Leader team in this blog post.


ISSS Workshops cover a variety of topics from F-1 Employment Options to PowerPoint Like a Pro. We partner with the Writing Center and Career Center to bring you a writing workshop series and a career development series each semester. This spring, you can look forward to a Writing Workshop on Personal Statements for Scholarship Applications and a Job Search Success Panel Discussion with current international students and alumni.

We hope you’ll join us and Go Beyond!


2021 Presidential Inauguration

The 59th Presidential Inauguration: Why Is It So Important?

The 59th Presidential Inauguration for the 46th President (President-Elect Joe Biden) will be taking place on Wednesday, January 20th. Per the Constitution, the day of the Inauguration will always take place on January 20th unless January 20th falls on a Sunday, then it will take place the following day on January 21st. The President-Elect is sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the new President of the United States.

However, for many Americans, including the rest of the world, the upcoming American Presidential Inauguration will have much more significance than ever before in light of the recent violence that has taken place at the U.S. Capitol. Historically, the Presidential Inauguration has always represented two extremely important facets of the American Democracy: a peaceful transfer of power and continuity of our system of government as prescribed by the Constitution.

History of the Presidential Inauguration & Swearing-In

The first Inauguration Ceremony took place in New York City in 1789 and began with our first President, George Washington. Washington established many of the traditions that we currently practice today, such as the incoming President placing their left hand on a Bible during the swearing-in as well as the many festivities that occur after the President is sworn in.  Interestingly, not all presidents have been sworn in with a Bible and actually chose different texts to place their left hand on, including a law text and a Roman Catholic Missal (a small book of biblical verses and hymns for a singular church service.) The most important part of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony consists of the swearing-in/Oath of Office of the new President by the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

What is the “Oath of Office”?

The President takes an “Oath of Office,” which is mandated by Article II, Section One of the Constitution, by placing their left hand on a Bible while raising their right hand in the air and then proceeding to recite the following Oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Technically, even before the new President takes their Oath of Office and is sworn in, the Vice-President will have taken the following Oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

This Oath is also recited to swear in other federal employees such as Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Schedule of Events for the Inauguration Ceremony

Since the very first Presidential Inauguration, there has always been a “ceremony” attached to the official swearing-in that features several festivities and a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. At a typical Inauguration Ceremony, excluding 2021 due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions and security concerns, there is usually a crowd of approximately 200,000 attendees to witness the Oath of Office and the ensuing events throughout the day. Below is the official schedule for the 59th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony provided by PBS (KQED):

  • 11 a.m. – Joe Biden arrives at the U.S. Capitol.
  • 11:15 a.m. – The inauguration program begins.
    • Invocation – Father Leo J. O’Donovan
    • Pledge of Allegiance – Andrea Hall
    • National Anthem – Lady Gaga
    • Poetry Reading – Amanda Gorman
    • Musical Performance – Jennifer Lopez
  • 12 p.m. – Biden is sworn in as 46th president.
  • 2:30 to 3p.m. – Biden lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.
  • 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. – Joe and Jill Biden receive a presidential military escort to the White House.
  • TBD – The virtual “Parade Across America” begins once the Bidens enter the White House and will feature communities around the country.
  • 8:30 p.m. – Actor Tom Hanks hosts a 90-minute special featuring remarks by Biden and Harris and performances by Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, and others.

What is Different About This Year’s Inauguration?

  1. As mentioned above, Covid-19 restrictions as well as the recent uprising at the U.S. Capitol have led to a few significant changes to the normally scheduled events during the Presidential Inauguration. Traditionally, the outgoing President and his family invite the incoming President and his family to the White House for a friendly breakfast, which will not take place this year due to multiple reasons.
  2. After breakfast, the families travel together to the Inauguration as a symbolic display of solidarity. However, this year’s Inauguration will be different in that the outgoing President has announced that he will not attend the incoming President’s swearing-in, which would make him the fourth President in U.S. history not to attend their successor’s swearing-in.
  3. The crowd attending the Inauguration will be significantly smaller than ever before. While most Inaugurations are attended by nearly 200,00 spectators, this year’s Inauguration only permits Congressmen to bring one guest to the Inauguration due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions and severe security concerns.
  4. The Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in addition to events taking place later in the evening will be virtual and available online.

Looking Forward

Presidential Inaugurations are one of the many staples of the American Democratic system and will remain to represent a peaceful transfer of power. As a country, this smooth transition from one democratically elected official to another is what differentiated the U.S. from many other countries after its inception over 200 years ago. It is imperative that we remember from where and from whom we come as a nation, and that we have always been a fluid and vast tapestry of cultures and creeds, but ultimately we are all considered to be Americans.