Rahel Adebabay

NAME: Rahel Adebabay
MAJOR: Global Studies
PROGRAM: Ireland, SJSU Exchange – University College Dublin
EMAIL: rachel.adebabay@sjsu.edu

BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

I am a first-generation Ethiopian-American college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies and three minors in Philosophy, Legal, and African American Studies at San Jose State University. I want to utilize my educational background to work towards my vision of building a prosperous, united Africa, emphasizing creating strong educational infrastructures.

Through this program, I came intending to gain a new perspective on the world. Traveling to another country and experiencing a non-American curriculum made me decenter from the American political perspective.

 

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?
Reflect on how your study abroad experience and the skills, knowledge, or networking has enhanced or contributed to your life back on campus or home.

Through decentering from the American perspective, I viewed the world in a much different way. This is especially important as a scholar in the field of International relations because this challenged my political beliefs, worldviews, and personal values. International Affairs cannot be seen from only one perspective, and acquiring added perspective will make me more analytical and critical in nature. In addition, acquiring such attributes and experience will make me an attractive candidate for my future educational pursuits and later professional life.

Because I am just finishing up my term abroad, I have yet to see it being applied to my life on campus. However, I without a doubt believe having an added perspective will make me a much better student in my Global Studies major courses.

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?
Reflect on the personal, academic, and professional goals that you had set out to achieve on your study abroad experience?

Broadly speaking, my goal going into my experience was to be bold and brave. I wanted to try new things and immerse myself in different cultures.However, in retrospect, going into my study abroad experience I had a very uncompromising view of how my life should be during and after my experience. I knew I wanted to graduate within 3 years, take the LSAT in the summer, and do well in all nine classes I was enrolled in during my spring semester. My goals, although achievable, needed to be more flexible and restrictive.

 

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?(REQUIRED)

Although I initially intended to study abroad solely for academic purposes, I did the opposite. This experience made me realize I must slow down and take in life’s pleasures. This semester was the first time since sixteen that I have not worked. Along with the absence of work or pressures to keep me financially afloat, the workload at my school was significantly smaller than my usual course load, even with nine classes. This gave me the time to get to know myself through solo travel and do activities that I loved and previously did not have the time to attend to. Because of this experience, I’ve become more eager to travel in the not-so-distant future, and I know that my future career should have travel embedded into it. In addition, I realized that I perhaps want to live abroad as I feel the way of life in the United States is not sustainable compared to life in Ireland. Living in Ireland has exposed me to what life should be like, as I’ve never felt so safe, healthy, and happy.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?
Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?

My academic experience has been frustrating at UCD. Not so much because the content was challenging but because it was much different from what I was used to in the United States. None of my classes had homework or constant learning checkpoints. In addition, with my major being small at SJSU, with an average of 15 students, I was surprised by the hundreds of classmates I had. Because of this, I noticed a culture of not having strong interpersonal relationships with professors. This was very unusual to me as in nearly every class I’ve taken at SJSU, I’ve been in constant contact with my professors and even have developed those relationships beyond the course I’ve taken with them. However, I am very fond of UCD and all that it has to offer; I’ve never felt helpless because of the endless resources the school provides.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

Apart from my academic life, I did a lot of solo traveling during my time abroad. Since my start, I have been to 7 countries I have never visited. Some I did not know much about prior to traveling there. Not only did I learn and immerse myself in the cultures that I encountered, but I pushed myself to engage with the community at every opportunity I had. I tried new foods, learned about different cultures and customs, made friends with locals, etc. Most importantly, I learned the values of self-sufficiency and independence while also getting to know myself better. Six of the seven countries I’ve visited are not English-speaking countries, and through that experience, I became a more effective communicator and navigator.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

The most prominent lessons I’ve learned from in my study abroad experience have been through my solo travels. I exclusively did solo travel as I felt this was fundamental to getting to know myself, and I did precisely that. Solo traveling throughout Europe has made me an effective communicator and navigator. For example, I spent three weeks in Central and Eastern Europe, where people did not know fluent English, and I had to navigate that, whether that was by using context clues, reading facial expressions, or pulling out google translate! In addition, solo traveling in non-English speaking countries has made me comfortable with being uncomfortable. I surrendered expectations and the constant need to stay within what was familiar to me.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?
  1. Apply to every scholarship available, no matter how impossible it seems. This was my experience applying to the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship. Because I decided to study abroad last minute, there was only one scholarship available to me which happened to be the most prestigious study abroad scholarship. I won the scholarship, although I applied just two hours before its deadline.
  2. Try to make a friend in every country you visit! Understand the local way of life.
  3. Take advantage of your school’s resources.
  4. If you are attending a European university, use a planner/tracker as the curriculum is primarily autonomous learning. Constantly new ways to engage yourself in your academics.
  5. Research the country that you are studying in. Understand lingo/language, customs, and political system. Three months before moving to Ireland and even before I went to a new country, I watched youtube videos that described social do’s/don’ts.
  6. Get to know and use public transportation. Across almost all European countries, transportation is reliable and safe.

Diana Vazquez

Diana Vazquez
NAME: Diana Vazquez
MAJOR: Anthropology
PROGRAM: Germany CSU IP – University of Tubingen
EMAIL: diana.vazquez@sjsu.edu
BIO: 
Prior to attending SJSU, I was a student at Sonoma State University where I studied Computer Science. During my time there I studied abroad in Germany with CSU IP. It was this program and my time abroad that gave me that push to switch majors to something I actually loved doing. Due to the Pandemic, I sadly didn’t get to finish my year program, and was sent home four months early. When I returned home, I transferred to SJSU and switched my major Anthropology, with a concentration in Archaeology. Studying Abroad showed me that I want a career where I can be out in the world exploring and learning about different cultures. I hope to get into a Master’s and PhD program in Europe, where I will hopefully be able to relocate to live there. My time studying abroad definitely gave me a new perspective for the world, and a desire to explore every inch of our planet.
1) GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?
When I left for my study abroad program, I had a long list of goals I wanted to achieve along with a broader rule of “exploring and trying new things.” My largest goal was of course to learn German and feel comfortable speaking the language to locals. Most of my goals centered around experiences and locations that I had been looking forward to for years. Such as going to see as many museums and historical sites as possible or finding a TARDIS in London.

2) PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

Despite having already lived independently the three years prior to going abroad, the experience of being in a whole new country and environment pushed me even further to achieving my goals for my own happiness. At the time of my program, I was a Computer Science major, but I was unhappy being so. I remained in that major because so much of my family supported me doing so, but my time abroad gave me the proper push I needed. I realized that despite nearly completing my major, I wouldn’t live a fulfilling life if I didn’t pursue my true passions. Traveling to new countries and visiting so many world-renowned museums reawakened my love of archaeology, so when I came home I decided to aim for a career I would actually love.
3) ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

While I didn’t leave Germany fluent in the language, I definitely was comfortable enough speaking it that I could hold a conversation with a local. By the time I left the country, I could easily remember the more difficult of grammar rules. Had my program not been canceled early because of the Pandemic, I would have taken classes at the Uni my second semester there. A typically German class does not assign homework, and is instead based completely on lectures, personal studying, and either a final exam or paper.

 

4) CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

Prior to going abroad, I had been learning German for about two years, so my main goal for studying abroad was to increase my language proficiency. Being immersed in the language so completely definitely helped me nearly complete that goal. In about three months my language level increased so much!

 

5) COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

There are so many stereotypes of Germans that tend to lean towards them being rude and strong tempered. However, my time in Germany showed me that is not the case. Every German I interacted with was very welcoming and considerate. I went into my program with no expectations for Germany other than a beautiful landscape and cold weather. But I left the program realizing that no matter how much I researched the country, I can’t truly know a culture and its people until I actually experience it and immerse myself in said culture.

6) FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

When I initially began learning German, it was initially to be able to feel comfortable speaking the language when I studied abroad. I began university with the goal to study abroad, but not necessarily to learn a new language. However, since learning it I have now found out it will actually be very helpful in the field of archaeology. I unintentionally gave myself a very handy skill by studying abroad! Along the same lines, my time traveling to new cultural landscapes and interacting with people from different countries, has also prepared me for my future career in archaeology.

7) TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

Research! Any possible little question you could have about the location you will be going to, research it. Whether you are going to a whole new country or simply another State, having some knowledge of the location you will be going to will aid you so much. You could assume that your cultures and customs will be similar, but the truth is you won’t really know until you’re there. Research will be your best friend, both before you leave and when there. Another tip I can give is to make the most of your time abroad. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself and allow yourself to grow. Lastly, know your limits, don’t feel pressured to take part in experiences you won’t feel comfortable in. This time is for you to explore the world, do so at your own level. Agreeing to plans you dislike and subsequently missing out on experiences you were looking forward to can end up being stains on an otherwise happy time.

Jeremy Gaviola Quero

Jeremy Quero

Name: Jeremy Quero
Email: jeremy.quero@sjsu.edu
Major: Engineering Technology
Program: Business and Society – Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences – Rotterdam Netherlands
Email: jeremy.quero@sjsu.edu

My name is Jeremy Quero, I am an Engineering Technology focus on Manufacturing Systems and my minor is Business. I’m just another student from SJSU that likes to play video games, listen to music of any genre that is catchy, watch movies and shows specifically anime, and go on adventures. I studied at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) for the spring 2023 semester. Going on the program was definitely an experience that any student should do. I did something out of my comfort zone, I got to understand the culture of the dutch and the many other cultures that were present, and most importantly I got to travel across Europe with the friends I made in Rotterdam. To any student who reads this, Shoot your shot and take a risk because this is something that is bigger than you are and helps you evolve individually as a person.

1) GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?
To understand how the culture of Netherlands operate and how to succeed in another country. I wanted to challenge myself by living somewhere whereas I have no prior experience living. To live and to survive on my own. Professionally on taking on the challenges that the Host University gave me and taking it head on and succeeding.
2) PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?
I would say the biggest impact it had on my was rediscovering my own culture of not just being an American citizen, but remembering my roots of my people of being a Filipino man. Also living alone and adjusting to the environment to overcome and to succeed. Having an overall different view of how other students from different countries work and apply the positives to my own ethics.
3) ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?
research and presentations, To ensure success I would take initiative and take action by making the first move and going out in the field to make observations. applying this will give me confidence.
4) CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?
The skills I learned and sharpen would be focusness, resiliency, and perseverence. Focusness: since being out here with independency, I would like to have fun and do fun activities with the friends I made out in Rotterdam. That being said when you want to have fun , you have to put in the work. I would make sure I finish every assignment before heading out. Reseliency: with a new environment, theres new school culture and sometime you have to make gold to what’s given to you. There would be times during the program where the students would often feel confused as the professors would not communicate with each other and tend to give us information on the assignments that wouldn’t align. I would ask questions and try to give out the best execution of assignment as I possibly can. Perseverence: With being alone and starting over again in a new society. This made me have to step out my confort zone. I made new friends and it made me take more initiative in and outside of the school. I was able to connect to students all over the world from coming from countries like Germany all the way to Indonesia. This allowed me to explore more cultures other than Dutch culture.
5) COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?
People and universities from different cultures work way different. There is no one way of learning things as different countries have their own way of teaching and living.
6) FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?
This prepared me not just in school but in life. How I see things now is different than how I saw things 6 months earlier. Going foward into the future, this tought me to be more independent and gave me more confidence in my school methods. Meeting new people helped me understand that everyone works differently have their own journeys. I personally will challenge myself by taking more risks to become more successful.
7) TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?
Advice I would give to future global spartans would be take initiative and challenge yourself to be not just a better student but a better person overall in their journey of wherever country they go. Don’t be scared of taking risks and to always stay committed to the things they do. These type of opportunities come and go so make the best out of it and have fun!

Yesenia Guzman

Yesenia Guzman

NAME: Yesenia Guzman
MAJOR: Business Marketing
PROGRAM: France – SJSU Exchange – University of Strasbourg Business School
EMAIL: yesenia.guzman@sjsu.edu

BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

My name is Yesenia Guzman (she/her). I was born and raised in San Francisco, California and moved to San Jose when I began my undergrad journey at SJSU. I recently graduated in Decemeber 2022 as a Business Marketing major with a Chicana/o Studies minor. I am a first generation, Mexican American and college graduate. My family immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in the 70’s, and settled in the Mission District of San Francisco. My first language was Spanish, and was fortunate enough to take bilingual classes during my first years of elementary school. I grew up closely to my culture and community in Jalisco, Mexico, which allowed me to explore many different cities and states in Mexico. This further strengthened my navigational skills and inspired my interest in global traveling!

One of my greatest goals when thinking about college was to study abroad. I didn’t know when or how I would go abroad, but I knew I would find out. As a first generation collge student, the opportunity to study abroad seemed almost unreachable – personally, financially, and academically. I didn’t limit myself, though, and continued to explore my study abroad options. I attended information sessions, met with advisors (academic and from SAA), considered various programs for my major degree requirements, and finally – after a three year contemplation and pandemic – I fiinalized my decision for the Spring 2022 semester. I knew this experience would grealty enhance my overall personal, academic, and professional life.  I was intentional about chosing a program in a city and country that was outside of my comfort zone, but I had a special connection to – France. I also wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to learn in a different country, culture, and language. I chose to study abroad because I knewo this experience would not only support my own personal and academic growth, but it would also open up the doors of possibilities for myself and my family. Studying abroaf was defintely one of the best choices I made during my undergraduate journey.

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

Reflect on how your study abroad experience and the skills, knowledge, or networking has enhanced or contributed to your life back on campus or home.

Some of the skills I learned/sharpened during my study abroad experience were…

  • Navigational skills – using various modes of transportation – bus, train, metro, and plane! I grew up traveling on public transportation (MUNI in San Francisco), which helped me feel comfortable and confident in navigating various cities on public transportation in not only my host city, but also various other major cities in Europe (which was ideal). This helped me feel more confident in traveling and asking for help visiting new places, back home.
  • Time management : One of the greatest skills I strengthened when abroad was my time management skills. I had to adjust my morning routine to ensure I accounted for the time it took me to commute and arrive to school every morning. I never had to commute to class in college because I always lived a walking distance away. When I was abroad, I had to account for a 20-30 minute commute in the mornings. At first, it was making sure I made it to the tram stop in time to make it to my 8 am class. Then, it was making sure I arrived to the bus stop on time to make it to my 8 am class. I was almost 20-40 minutes late to class for the first month of the semester. It was a challenge to adjust. I then decided to rent a bike and THIS made a hige difference. After learning from my experienced with the tram and bus, I succesfully adjusted my time to leave my house with enough time to bike to school, park my bike, and make it to class 5 minutes before session. This was a skill I defintinitely appreciate developing abroad. This really helped me manage my time better and always mentally prepare to arrive to events/classes/responsibilites with atleast 20-30 minutes in advance.
  • Networking and collaborating with students from various part of the world! – My program offered courses for all exchange students to take and learn in together. This meant that I was taking classes with other exchange students who were also studying abroad, from diverse countries and cultures. I met students from Finland, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Germany, France, India, and was able to learn, work, and socialize with them in and outside of school. I learned so much about their cultures, lifestyles, and native languages. Now that I am back home, I feel like I have friends across the world that I continue to learn from and connect with (virtually, through social media). This is truly fascinating to me. It has enhanced my life in a unqiue way. I now feel more inclined to learn about exchange students at SJSU! I felt personally welcomed by many French students at my host university, and realized the importance of connecting with students who are visiting San Jose/California/USA for the first time. It can make a positive difference in offering support on how to navigate the school and city.
  • French language: My daily life activities required me to strengthen my overall French language knowledge. I made an effort to speak in French for any experience – buying groceries, ordering at restaurants, shoping at malls – to help me improve. This has helped me in communicating with French speaking people in the States! Although I am still at a beginner level, I am better able to recognize and understand French words, which therefore has allowed me to connect with others uniquely. When working at my part-time coffeeshop, which I encounter many French tourists and am able to hold a short and sweet conversation with them. This leads me to sharing about my experience in France, while also learning about their own life in France. ​​​​​​​
  • My Cultural Knowledge and Awareness: I did not know much about Europe before studying abroad. Everything was a new experience for me. When abroad, I traveled to 10 different countries. I experienced various cities, communities, cultures, and gastronomies. My cultural awareness grew so much. I made so many historical connections and finally visited many of the monunents and landmarks that I learned about in school ( i.e the Eiffel Tower, the leaning tower of Pisa, Big Ben). I am now able to share these experiences with my family, peers, and colleagues and understand references made about different European countriesa and cities.

 

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?

Reflect on the personal, academic, and professional goals that you had set out to achieve on your study abroad experience?

My goals for studying abroad were –

  • Professionally:
    • As a Business Major attending a Business School in France, I was excited to learn from, and collaborate with, Business students from other countries. My goal was to create informative and detailed Business presentations with my teams, that represented each of our ideas, cultural knowledge, and own personal insight.
  • Academically:
    • One of my main academic goals was to be intentional about my presence in class – take detailed notes, be proactive with my assignments and projects, ask questions in class, and connect with as many peers as I could in each class. Essentially, succeed as a student.
    • Beyond my academic goal of passing all of my classes with high scores, I set the goal of meaningfully engaging with the content I was learning by researching additional information about the readings and making connections between the lessons being taught about in Europe to the ones in the USA.
    • One of my greatest goals was to dedicate an adequate amount of time on research and group projects to ensure I presented my best work at my host university, and even be able to share it back in my home university.
  • Personally:
    • Truly immerse myself in the life, culture, and community abroad – I aimed to truly explore the city I was in, engage in community events and activities (i.e farmers markets and biking), speak as much French as I could (significant effort), and try as many local restaurants I was interested in.
    • I aimed to slow down and truly cherish the experience of studying abroad. Growing up in major urban cities like San Francisco and San Jose, I am used to the rapid and busy lifestyle of moving from one place to the other, thinking about multiple things at once, and living/planning a lot in the future. When I was abroad, I aimed to shift into a more calm mindset and lifestyle – take more time for rest, leisure, social hangouts, and travel! I saw how people sat near the river and spent their time eating, reading, listening to music, or talking with a friend. I soon started to do the same.
    • Grow mentally: Develop healthier ways of thinking, living life, approaching situations according to what I was seeing in my host city.
    • Reflect: Reflect on daily experiences and lessons from life with friends, in school, and when traveling.
    • Travel: Expand my horizons and meaningfully experience various European countries, cultures, and communities.
    • Create meaningful friendships and memories with new people I was going to meet abroad –​​​​​​ Meet new people, genuinely get to know their story, share my own story with others, and create meaningful memories with others abroad!

 

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

It is very difficult to chose one single impact out of the many that this experience had on me, yet if I had to identify one as the biggest, it would be the significance of travel experiences with friends. I was fortunate enough to travel to various cities during my time abroad, and live each journey with different groups of people. The traveling not only expanded my mindset and horizons, but it also made me realize the importance of sharing these travel experiences with others. It taught me something new about the friend I was traveling with and strengthened many of the frienships I had. I learned how different people travel in different ways, and how important it is to plan, communicate, and make it EARLY to your train station. I learned SO much from each journey, specifically and especially to enjoy the simple act of sightseeing, packing light, and chosing the important things to pack.

I now have these stories to remember with each of these friends, as well as share with future ones.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?

I took 7 different courses abroad:

  • Retail Marketing and Logistics
  • Strategic Brand Management
  • Luxury Brands Management
  • Storytelling & Time Management
  • Introduction to French Language II
  • International Consumer Behavior
  • (One asynchronous SJSU course): CCS160: Gender and Sexuality)

I made sure to schedule all of my courses and important deadlines on my Google Calendar. One of my strongest strategies is to sit at the front of the class and take detailed notes. I also work on the homework assigned for the class right after the lecture, or that same day – when it is recent in my memory. Reviewing my notes and saving class presentations really helped in ensuring my full comprehension of the weekly lectures.

When I came back to SJSU, I had to readjust to classes being twice per week, 1.5 hours becasue my courses abroad were once per week, for 3-4 hours.I also had to readjust to working on homework more frequently, becasue it was rare to receive homework abroad. Studying abroad definitely strengthened my time management skills and helped me prioritize my assignments/projects.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

Although this was mentally understood, I was further affirmed about the power and magic of cultural diversity. Living in Europe made me realize that everyone is living in completely different realities, depending on you region, environment, and time zone. My life in Europe was so unique and so different than my life in the states. I was riding my bike everywhere abroad, experiencing life outdoors more, being more eco-conscious and friendly, traveling ebery weekend, as well as cherishing leisure time more in Europe. Life was different everyday. In the states, life is different, more routine-like, more indoors, and busier.

I also realized how much Europe works around the seasons – not everything is available all year round. For example, I was trying to order iced coffee in February but no coffee shop offered it because they had no ice and it was Winter, which meant iced coffee was only available in the Summer. Restaurants also change their menu items every season.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

After studying abroad, I am not interested and ready to travel the rest of the world. I am now a wiser and more conscious traveler and visitor. I am more mindful of the pre-departure process – looking into Visas, preparing important documents, accomodations, foreign exchange/payment methods, essential equipment and cultural awarenes.

I am prepared to communicate with people from diverse cultures, outside of the US. I am prepared to bike more frequently, recycle and repurpose my glassware, and plan out travel inquiries on a budget! I am prepared to invite my family to future travel experiences and lead/coordiante a group abroad! I feel more comfortable and confident with taking various methods of public transportation.

Most importantly, I am now prepared to share my own experience with future study abroad student and support them with in their own study abroad journey! I am now prepared to inspire and inform students about study abroad opportunities in college and how to approach them, apply to them, and prepare for their own.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

Some of the most important tips I would offer a future Global Spartan are:

I. Before applying to a program:

  • Attend a SA&A information session
  • Seek a peer or staff mentor, who have experience studying abroad, when chosing a program! This can offer a sense of direction and understanding when it comes to the process of navigating the SAA portal, meeting with advisors, and chosing a program
  • Choose a program/country that is new and outside of your comfort zone – this is an opportunity to expand your horizons!

II. After applying to a program:

  • Contact a previous Global Spartan that attended your host university or country: This will also offer valuable insight on how to best prepare for your unique program!
  • Create a timeline and plan in advance! : Consistently check on updates and ensure to note down importance deadlines for your study abroad program – Application deadlines, Visa requirements, Passport updates, Travel dates, + all other important documentations for pre-departure
  • Ask your SA&A advisor questions: Stay connected to your SA&A advisor and do not hesitate to ask them your pending questions/curiosities.
  • Meet with an Academic Advisor: Your academic advisor is a part of your dream team. Make sure to meet with an academic advisor who will be guiding and supporting your course equivalencies & approvals for your host university!
  • Watch Youtube Videos on your host university/city & country – If this is your first time traveling to this city/country – watch youtube videos of other people who have studied abroad there and can offer specific tips on what to pack and prepare for before going abroad!
  • Check in with your bank – Ask for foreign currency and check in with your credit/debit cards – make sure you can use it abroad with no international fees!
  • Calls and WiFi: Purchase a sim card abroad and make sure to check in with your current network/service provider; let them know you are going to study and live abroad!
  • Definitely pack light and pack comfortable walking shoes – ​​​​​​​you will be walking a lot
  • Take a journal – reflect on your experiences abroad – what realizations are you having? write out the emotions you are experiencing, the course content you are learning,  the people you are meeting, and the meaningful moments you are having,
  • Travel! Depending on your region, attempt to travel and get to know cities outside of your host city.
  • Take many pictures and videos!  These memories will last a lifetime <3

Yassine Cherif

NAME: Yassine Cherif
MAJOR: Business Admin/Management Information Systems
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Thailand – Chulalongkorn University
EMAIL: yassine.cherif@sjsu.edu

 

BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

I am a graduating senior majoring in Management Information Systems. I chose to study abroad in my last year to experience a new culture and create lifelong memories with people all over the world. I knew I wanted to live abroad for a period of my life, and by studying abroad I had the opportunity to try doing so on my own.

 

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

Reflect on how your study abroad experience and the skills, knowledge, or networking has enhanced or contributed to your life back on campus or home.

Some skills I’ve developed are empathy, patience, bravery, and critical thinking. These are skills I had to develop during my time abroad through daily interactions with people of different cultures. I learned empathy by seeing how other cultures lived, socialized, ate, and much more which has given me a broader view of the world. Now, I can recognize the uniqueness of people on my home campus which is even more diverse than I had recognized before.

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?

Reflect on the personal, academic, and professional goals that you had set out to achieve on your study abroad experience?

My goals for studying abroad were to create global relationships, and life-long memories, and expand my educational opportunities. I achieved all of my goals far beyond what I had originally intended, which I am thrilled about. The opportunities I encountered in my educational environment, social settings, and regional travels made me extremely satisfied with my time there.

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

The biggest impact my study abroad program had on me was eliminating my fear of the unknown, and rather embracing the challenge of learning new things. I booked flights on my own, created my own itineraries, visited places where I didn’t speak a lick of the language, and overall navigated through these new environments with great curiosity and determination. I am glad to have completed my time abroad and look forward to visiting more unknown places!

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?

My academic experience abroad was superb, as I attended the top Business institution in the country. This led to me being surrounded by bright students and professors who appreciated my presence and made me feel welcome. The coursework was engaging and several projects I completed were unlike any I have done on my home campus. Overall, I was satisfied with my academic experience.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

Immersion has led me to realize that the world isn’t so big anymore and that you can find community and culture wherever you may go. The only thing there is to it is putting yourself out there and challenging your biases and fears. Living in the same place your entire life is great, but until you live in a completely foreign environment, you may be afraid or judgemental of the outside.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

Studying abroad has made me realize that I want to continue living outside of the U.S. in some capacity, whether that’s full-time or a couple of months out of the year. It has also helped me create connections with people from countries I had never visited before, which now gives me a reason to visit said places.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

I would advise a future Global Spartan to dive head first into the experience; Go somewhere that you have never even thought of visiting before, and do so with a sense of optimism. Don’t be afraid of not understanding the language or have little information on the people, immerse yourself into their culture and you will experience the beauty of humanity and social connection.

Valentina Millenia Ramsay

NAME: Valentina Ramsay
MAJOR: Advertising
PROGRAM: Spain – SJSU Exchange – Toulouse Business School – Barcelona Campus
Email: valentina.ramsay@sjsu.edu
BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

I chose to study abroad because it has always been a dream of mine to live in another country, especially during my younger years-an opportunity not many get. I also have traveled many times before so I felt comfortable going alone- and was very excited to.

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

Reflect on how your study abroad experience and the skills, knowledge, or networking has enhanced or contributed to your life back on campus or home.

I opened my mind to new cultures in many different ways. I learned cooking, dancing, and even just a difference in communicating, with many different cultures. I also learned many customs of different cultures, which have broadened my perspective on what I knew my previous world to be.

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?

Reflect on the personal, academic, and professional goals that you had set out to achieve on your study abroad experience?

Personal: Become more independent and open my mind to new things- see what I prefer and don’t prefer as much. Academic: Be able to experience learning in a new environment to see if I learned better or not as well as in the States. Professional: Learn more about different manners, expectations, and worth ethics of people around the world. Also network. I achieved all of them!

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

I formed many meaningful friendships- some even deeper within the short amount of time I had formed them in comparison to some relationships I’ve had in the States. I learned that most European and some Latin American people seem to show lots of genuine care and appreciation to everyone, even if they had just met you. Conversations are deeper, they are more heartfelt and meaningful.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?

I took courses on Marketing and Ethics. A lot of assignments were group-project based, so I did my best to do my part while also making sure that the group- most of them with English as a second language- were on the same page. I must admit though: going to a school with primarily French-speaking students- there was a  lot of pressure I put on myself to not look like the “dumb American”. Blunt, but that was my experience as one of the two Americans in the entire school. At the end of the day, I am so proud of myself for never letting that pressure stop me from being the charismatic person I am and making so many friends-even with the initially reserved French students (One who I soon ended up dating actually). Although the different teaching styles made it hard at times- I had to keep an open mind and persevere. Returning home, I have used some new skills and perspectives I had collected abroad to do things differently than before.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

My immersion has completely changed the view I have of the world and even my day-today life. All of a sudden I can bring a second perspective into the picture for almost every single situation in my life, as I have experienced the world in a completely different way than I was used to before. It has made me become an even more accepting and simultaneously curious person.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

Study abroad has prepared me for my future by teaching me to be open and accepting of new things, even some which may push me out of my comfort zone, and most importantly; made me more independent and fearless.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

Be open to anything. Meet new people. Eat funny things. Try to learn the language but even if you struggle – don’t be afraid to talk to those around you. Step out of your comfort zone. You traveled to this country knowing nobody- so don’t be afraid to go on solo dates with yourself when you haven’t made friends yet- even just as simple as a walk around your new neighborhood. You’re still young- go out more during the day and or night. Once you do this you will find even more to do, and establish even more connections. You will realize how quickly a 24-hour day passes, and some days there’s so much to do- it’s almost hard to choose. Give yourself mental rest when needed, of course, but don’t allow yourself to come back wishing you could’ve done more.

 

Sean Su

NAME: Sean Su
MAJOR: Business Marketing
PROGRAM: CSU IP – Taiwan National University
EMAIL: sean.su@sjsu.edu

 BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

Hello my name is Sean Su and I am a 4th year Business Marketing major at San Jose State University! Last semester I had the opportunity to experience a study abroad program hosted by CSUIP at National Taiwan University. A lot of factors contributed to this decision but it dwindled down to these 2 reasons. As a Taiwanese-American growing up in a Mandarin/Englsih spoken household, I was constantly surrounded by Taiwanese culture through the foods we ate, the holidays/events such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn festival, and most importantly, the language, which was used to communicate with family/relatives. The 2nd reason was “cause why not?” Many students would pounce on the opportunity to live in a foreign country, free from the shackles of their parents while simultaneously contributing to their undergraduate education. And now that the party has ended, I have met many like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds from different parts of the world, also wanting to learn more about the country, culture, and experience.

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

Reflect on how your study abroad experience and the skills, knowledge, or networking has enhanced or contributed to your life back on campus or home.

Being born in America, you speak english everywhere. That being said, my mandarin was falling behind as the chances to speak the language only resided amongst family. Ever since going to Taiwan, my Mandarin speaking has improved as I had no other option when it came to everyday activities such as ordering food, meeting new people, and literally anywhere you go. On top of that, I learned to read and write traditional chinese characters as before I never needed to know how to read or write in America. Lastly, my extraverted side came loose as I had to be social in order to make friends, create plans, and make fond memories with one another. I was able to make a ton of friends from different parts of the world and if I ever need a place to crash at in their respective country, i’ll have a place to stay.

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?

Reflect on the personal, academic, and professional goals that you had set out to achieve on your study abroad experience?

My personal goals for studying abroad was to enhance my knowledge on my chinese speaking ability and to learn how to read and write in chinese. On top of that I wanted to learn how to be independent. Whether I starve to death is up to me, no one can help me but myself. Additionally I was responsible for keeping my room tidy, my bathroom clean and toiletries stocked. I was able to live by myself and for myself.

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

The biggest impact that study abroad had on me was definitely the friends I made along my journey. I now have my best and closest friends all around the world. Down the line, if I ever need help I know I have a wide range of people to call on if it ever comes down to it.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?

My academic experience at National Taiwan University (NTU) was amazing as I was taught how to read and write mandarin and on top of that able to learn business the way Taiwan teaches it. NTU is known as the Harvard of Taiwan so the experience of going to a prestigious foreign school was also another thing I was able to have under my belt. Now that I returned to SJSU, I am able to adjust to the rigor that the classes entail as NTU and its classes were not easy.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

My program which was based in Taiwan, a second world country in Asia has a completely different way of life compared to America. First and foremost, the biggest difference I saw was the amount of priviledge we have in America where the standard of living is alot higher than most countries in the world, Taiwan included. The things we take for granted such as $10-20 worth of food is normal but in Taiwan a normal meal costs around $3-5 and theres no obligation to tip. The people of Taiwan go through trial and fire to make a living while a normal person in the America has a minimum wage 3x more than those in Taiwan.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

Study abroad has prepared me for the networking/communicating abilities that I have learned as I will meet more diverse and culturally different people in my life. This is experience is one to look back on in the future and give me alot of nostalgia as it was the best decision i’ve ever made in my life that I have experienced.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

One advice that I would give to a future Global Spartan is to be extraverted to meet new people in the beginning of the semester and be open-minded to the difference and culture compared to America and embrace it as your own.

Rikki Erielle Navos

NAME: Rikki Erielle Navos
MAJOR: Economics
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Sungkyungkwan University (SKKU)
EMAIL: rikkierielle@gmail.com

BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

Studying abroad has been a constant goal of mine ever since I started college. I constantly glance at SJSU’s student exchange website to look at my options. One day, I saw the new program SJSU created with a university in South Korea, one of the countries I’ve dreamt of going to. I thought this was the opportunity I was looking for! I decided to apply right after!

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

Studying abroad allowed me to interact with people all around the world. It gave me connections to countries I’ve never even thought about visiting before! Studying in a foreign country has definitely allowed me to have better cultural awareness and improved my communication abilities with people from other backgrounds.

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?

My main goal for studying abroad was to see more of myself by seeing more of the world. South Korea was a place outside of the bubble I’ve lived in, and being able to study in such an unfamiliar country allowed me to experience phenomenons I would never have been able to as a student in my home country. I was exposed to another country’s way of studying and its youth’s culture. It introduced me to a lot of hobbies I never knew I would enjoy and gave me memories to carry for a lifetime.

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

The biggest impact my study abroad experience had on my was the ability to live independently in a foreign country. This is important to me because it brings a different type of growth one would get by living independently in our own country.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

My academic experience abroad was very different from our home university. I took three classes: Money and Banking, Economics in Global Environment, and Beginning Korean. It was very interesting seeing the process of how Korean students study and the different structures that the courses had compared to what I’ve experienced before. With these courses, I was able to be more comfortable doing group work and interacting more with other students

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

My immersion made me realize how big the world truly was. Since I’ve only been to the Philippines and the U.S. prior to Study abroad, I’ve only experienced very limited cultures.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

Study abroad prepared me for my future by enabling me to be independent and allow me to have the ability to be happy  with my own company. I am much more comfortable to live by myself now.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

I would tell a future Global Spartan to not limit themselves even though they’re in a foreign country. Put yourself out there. Make many connections and see the most out of the country you’re going to. You’ll remember it for the rest of your life.

Michelle Duong

NAME: Michelle Duong
MAJOR: Computer Science
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Sungkyunkwan University – South Korea
EMAIL: michelleduong@yahoo.com

BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad. 

A bit about myself is that I have always been interested in languages and different cultures due to my multicultural family. I chose to study abroad because I have always been interested in the program, and my current college plans lined up to give me the perfect opportunity to apply.

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience? 

Academically, studying abroad gave me a glimpse of how Korean universities operate, and how students learn. Apart from academics, I met people from all around the world, enhancing my knowledge of different cultures and how their mindsets may differ. Traveling abroad taught me how to be a safe traveler, as well as develop the skills to be more independent and adaptive.

 GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad? 

My goals were simple, to learn to be more independent and to put myself out there. I would say that I was pretty successful as I met many people, and learned to spend my time alone more productively. Being a commuter, I miss out on a lot of college life experiences, and I felt that study abroad brought that part to me.

 PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you? 

The biggest impact study abroad had on me was learning to be independent and be okay with being independent. Everyone has their own schedules and priorities, and sometimes, being alone and learning to enjoy that time alone is also a skill. 

 ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

In Korea, I took a Basic Korean, Comparative Politics, Data Science, and Media UX Design. All of these classes were geared to allow me to meet my graduation requirements, but I think that there is another charm about taking all of these classes abroad. The Korean class was much more immersive and useful as it allowed us to use what we’ve learned immediately in real conversation. The politics class brought together people from all over the world, allowing us to share our opinions on different events that shaped our present day. Data science abroad consisted of many labs, which made learning practical. Media UX Design is a class that isn’t commonly offered in American universities.

 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

I have learned that people from different parts of the world have different ideas in terms of what they consider success. One may feel fulfillment in more family-oriented aspects, whereas others dream of a stable income. As always, I think the key to interacting with others, is keeping an open mind and trying to understand why they may think a way about certain topics.

 FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? 

Studying abroad has prepared me in the way that I know there will be times when I feel lonely, displaced, or behind my peers. However, everyone goes about their life at a different pace, and I should focus on making what I want to do a priority. It has also taught me the skills of living on my own, dealing with renting things out, finances, and other things about adulting.

 TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan? 

To just do it. With studying abroad comes many challenges and worries, but if you just take it one step at a time, the experience will all be worth it in the end.

MiguelAngel Gonzalez

NAME: MiguelAngel Gonzalez
MAJOR: Continuing Education
PROGRAM: Scotland – SJSU Exchange – Edinburgh Napier University
EMAIL: miguelangel.gonzalez@sjsu.edu

BIO: Please tell us about you and why you chose to study abroad.

I chose to study abroad because I had several motivations driving my decision. Firstly, from an academic perspective, I was eager to learn about engineering from a different perspective, and Scotland’s engineering programs offered a unique opportunity to do so. I believed that gaining insights from a different educational system would broaden my knowledge and provide me with a fresh outlook.

Secondly, I have always been fascinated by different cultures, and studying abroad presented the perfect chance to immerse myself in a foreign country’s way of life. Scotland’s rich history, vibrant traditions, and welcoming people piqued my curiosity. I wanted to experience daily life, customs, and traditions firsthand and develop a deeper understanding of a culture different from mine.

Lastly, I saw studying abroad as a remarkable chance for personal growth. Living independently in a foreign country would push me out of my comfort zone and foster adaptability, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills. I knew navigating a new environment, making new friends, and overcoming challenges would contribute to my personal development, boosting my self-confidence and resilience.

In summary, my decision to study abroad was driven by a combination of academic curiosity, cultural exploration, and personal growth aspirations. I believe that this experience will not only enhance my academic knowledge but also broaden my horizons and shapte me into a more well-rounded individual.

CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?

During my study abroad experience, I had the opportunity to learn and sharpen a wide range of skills that have greatly contributed to my personal and professional growth. In a practical engineering course, I acquired hands-on skills such as sheet-metal bending, lathe usage, and metal filing. These technical skills not only expanded my understanding of engineering principles but also equipped me with practical abilities essential in real-world engineering scenarios.

Furthermore, I took a product management course that provided me with valuable business and management skills. This course taught me how to effectively market a product, analyze its potential profitability, and collaborate with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds to create comprehensive reports. These experiences have honed my ability to apply business strategies, think critically, and work seamlessly in multicultural teams.

Apart from the technical and business skills, my study abroad experience has also helped me develop essential personal and intercultural competencies. Navigating a city on foots and being self sufficient in a foreign environment has taught me independence, adaptability, and problem-solving. Additionally, the exposure to different cultures and the diverse community I interacted with have enhanced my open-mindedness, cross-cultural communication skills, and ability to collaborate effectively in multicultural settings.

GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?

Personal, academic, and professional aspirations drove my goals for studying abroad. On a personal level, I was motivated to live independently in a foreign country, embracing the opportunity to challenge myself and expand my horizons. By navigating a city on foot, being self-sufficient, and immersing myself in a different culture, I aimed to develop a sense of independence and open-mindedness toward diverse perspectives.

Academically, I had specific goals centered around my engineering studies. I wanted to learn about engineering from Scotland’s perspective, as its renowned engineering programs offered unique insights and approaches. By studying in a different educational system, I sought to broaden my knowledge, gain exposure to innovative techniques, and develop a comprehensive understanding of the subject. This academic enrichment would give me a fresh outlook and enhance my engineering and problem-solving skills.

Professionally, my study abroad experience was instrumental in my career development. I recognized the importance of acquiring global competencies in today’s interconnected world. By living in a foreign country, collaborating with individuals from different cultures, and adapting to new environments, I aimed to sharpen my cross-cultural communication skills, expand my professional network, and cultivate a global mindset. These skills would be invaluable in my future professional endeavors, enabling me to navigate diverse work environments and contribute to multinational teams effectively.

PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?

The biggest impact my study abroad experience had on me was profound personal growth and the development of a sense of independence. I broadened my perspectives by living independently in a foreign country, navigating a city on foot, and immersing myself in a different culture. I discovered the joy of being comfortable in my own company.

Throughout my study abroad journey, I learned to embrace solitude and enjoy my company. It was a transformative experience that allowed me to reflect, introspect, and appreciate the value of self-reliance. By stepping out of my comfort zone and immersing myself in unfamiliar surroundings, I became more confident in navigating challenges and exploring new experiences independently.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?

Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?

My academic experience abroad was enriching and provided valuable opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills in various domains. The practical engineering course gave me hands-on training. I learned essential techniques such as sheet-metal bending, lathe usage, and metal filing, which equipped me with practical engineering skills crucial in real-world applications. The course deepened my understanding of engineering principles and allowed me to gain valuable experience in working with different materials and shaping them into desired forms.

In addition to the engineering course, I also had the opportunity to study product management, which was a valuable addition to my academic journey. This course focused on teaching me important aspects of marketing a product, analyzing its potential profitability, and collaborating with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds to create comprehensive reports. The knowledge and skills I gained in product management expanded my understanding of the business side of engineering. We gave me a more well-rounded perspective on product development and market viability.

Beyond the specific courses, my academic experience abroad was shaped by the overall environment and cultural immersion. Being in a foreign country allowed me to develop a global mindset and broaden my perspectives. I learned to be self-sufficient and navigate a city on foot, which fostered independence and adaptability. Moreover, being open-minded to other cultures became integral to my academic journey as I interacted with classmates and faculty members from diverse backgrounds. This exposure to different cultures and ways of thinking enhanced my ability to collaborate effectively and appreciate the richness of diversity in an academic setting.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?

Through various activities such as guided tours, engagement in school clubs, and support of local businesses, I had the opportunity to deeply engage with the local community and gain a deeper understanding of the region’s culture, history, and social dynamics.

One significant way my immersion impacted my perspectives on the world was by fostering a greater appreciation for cultural diversity and intercultural understanding. By actively participating in guided tours, I witnessed firsthand the local community’s unique traditions, landmarks, and customs. This exposure allowed me to develop a more nuanced understanding and respect for different cultural practices and perspectives. It helped me realize that there are countless ways to approach life and that diversity should be celebrated rather than feared.

Engaging in school clubs allowed me to interact with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. Collaborating on projects, sharing experiences, and exchanging ideas allowed me to challenge my assumptions and broaden my worldview. It taught me the importance of inclusivity, empathy, and effective communication in fostering meaningful connections and promoting mutual understanding.

Supporting local businesses also played a crucial role in shaping my perspectives on the world. By actively seeking out local establishments and supporting their endeavors, I gained a deeper appreciation for the economic, social, and cultural impact of small businesses within a community. I witnessed firsthand the passion and dedication of local entrepreneurs, and this experience highlighted the significance of community support and the value of sustainable, locally-focused economies.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?

Studying abroad has significantly prepared me for my future in numerous ways. The combination of personal growth, academic enrichment, and cultural immersion has equipped me with diverse skills and perspectives that will positively impact my path.

First and foremost, the experience of living independently in a foreign country has fostered my self-sufficiency and adaptability. Navigating a city on foot, embracing solitude, and being comfortable in my company have instilled a sense of resilience and confidence. These qualities will undoubtedly serve me well in future endeavors, as I have learned to navigate unfamiliar situations, adapt to new environments, and tackle challenges proactively.

Academically, my study abroad experience has expanded my knowledge and skills in engineering and product management. The practical engineering course provided me with hands-on training in essential techniques, while the product management course deepened my understanding of marketing, profitability analysis, and cross-cultural collaboration. These academic achievements have enhanced my technical expertise, critical thinking abilities, and business acumen, which are highly valuable in a professional setting.

Moreover, my immersion in a foreign culture has broadened my perspectives and intercultural competence. By actively engaging in guided tours, participating in school clubs, and supporting local businesses, I have gained a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity and a greater understanding of global dynamics. These experiences have honed my communication skills, nurtured empathy, and strengthened my ability to collaborate effectively with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

The combination of these experiences and skills acquired during my study abroad journey has prepared me for the future in multiple ways. Whether pursuing further academic studies, embarking on a professional career, or engaging in cross-cultural collaborations, I am equipped with the tools to thrive in a globalized and interconnected world. The self-sufficiency, adaptability, academic knowledge, and cultural awareness gained through studying abroad have shaped me into a more well-rounded individual, ready to tackle challenges and make meaningful contributions in any endeavor I pursue.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?

As a previous Global Spartan and prospective Global Ambassador, I am honored to share my advice for future students considering studying abroad. Here are some key insights and recommendations:

1. Be open-minded and embrace the unknown. Studying abroad is an opportunity for personal growth and cultural exploration. Step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and immerse yourself in the local culture. Embracing new experiences will enrich your journey and broaden your perspectives.

2. Before embarking on your study abroad adventure, take the time to plan and prepare. Research the destination, familiarize yourself with local customs, and learn some basic phrases of the local language. This groundwork will help you navigate the initial challenges and move smoothly to your new environment.

3. One of the most rewarding aspects of studying abroad is interacting with the local community. Engage in cultural activities, attend local events, and seek opportunities to volunteer or intern with local organizations. This will deepen your cultural understanding and create lasting connections and memorable experiences.

4. Embrace cultural differences and respect local customs and traditions. Approach each interaction with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Understanding and appreciating different perspectives will enrich your study abroad experience and foster meaningful connections with people from diverse backgrounds.

5. Take advantage of your academic opportunities during your study abroad program. Immerse yourself in the coursework, engage with professors and classmates, and participate actively in class discussions. Additionally, be proactive in pursuing personal growth. Reflect on your experiences, challenge your assumptions, and continuously seek new ways to expand your knowledge and skills.

6. Keep a journal or blog to document your study abroad journey. Capture your thoughts, experiences, and reflections throughout the program. This will serve as a cherished memento of your time abroad and help you process and integrate the lessons learned during your experience.

7. As a Global Ambassador, you can represent your university and share your study abroad experience with others. Embrace this role with enthusiasm and authenticity. Be a source of support and guidance for future Global Spartans, sharing your insights, answering their questions, and inspiring them to embark on their transformative study abroad journeys.