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.

Bridgette Chang

Bridgette Chang

Bridgette ChangBridgette Chang
Country Location: England
Program / University Abroad: SJSU Exchange/Nottingham Trent Univ
Term Abroad: Spring 2022 Semester
Major: Business Administration
Year: 3rd

1. Why did you want to study abroad? 

Studying abroad has been my goal since the start of university career; since I was young, I’ve felt that I’ve missed out on childhood/teenage experiences as I was extremely busy with academics, sports, responsibilities, and extracurricular activities, and once I’ve started my time at SJSU, I thought that would be my chance to make up for the lost experience of freedom to do anything I wanted. However, my small taste of this independent journey was taken away immediately once the pandemic hit; I realized that this time I had living at home and having more time to work, allowed me to save up and research my way to study abroad. Though I’ve traveled quite a bit, this opportunity was important to me as this is my time to explore my independence as well as combine the college experience with cultural exploration..

2. What has been your most surprising, positive, or challenging experience abroad?

The positive about studying abroad in the UK is that though there are many similarities that keep me comfortable, there are many aspects of cultural differences that keep my experience interesting and eye opening. Aside from the accents and the cold weather, I’ve found differences in social interactions, academic preparations, food choices, and even clothing style.

3. Any advice to potential study abroad students? 

My advice to potential study abroad students is to not be intimidated by any doubts or difficulties you may think lie ahead. Many students around the world are participating in study abroad programs which shows that you won’t be the only one who’s new to the area. There have been many doubts in my mind when deciding to study abroad, but I found that all of those worries work out with all of the resources provided, and the experience you gain at the end of it is much more worth it.

6. How are you managing your academic success abroad during the pandemic? 

Studying abroad during the pandemic was one of my biggest worries, however I’ve felt the pandemic hasn’t put any affect into my studies here so far; luckily the UK has had the pandemic under control for the most part and has nearly ended the need for masks. The school provides cleaning wipes and small seminar groups for classes that help reduce the spread of germs, as well as providing free test kits, which eases my worries and allows me to focus more on my studies knowing that the school is providing resources for us. However, I still use extra precautions wearing masks and using hand sanitizer/washing my hands often as there are still health risks.

7. What are some ways that you are interacting with the local community?

The city I’m studying in holds 2 big universities and several high schools, which makes the surrounding shops and establishments student friendly and interactive. Many clubs and establishments are affiliated/work with the university(s) to create safe and fun events for students to enjoy, which I’ve found to be well into the trends and entertaining.

8. What are some tips for managing your health and safety while traveling during the pandemic? Some tips for staying safe and healthy while studying abroad is:

  • *health* prepare for the weather (our bodies are used to the weather of home, so any drastic changes are going to make an impact on our health)
  • *health* bring medicines from home (there are possibilities that medicines are either expensive or inaccessible in the country you’re going to, so it’s best to just bring some from home if possible)
  • *safety* purchase a sim card or figure out a data plan (going to a foreign country you’ll need to find a way around/research something/contact someone, having access to data at all times can prevent hassles and mishaps *buy sim cards outside of the airport; it’s cheaper)
  • *safety* have an emergency contact buddy (whether it’s a friend or roommate, have someone’s contact number in case of an emergency; having someone from the area available to call is safer and efficient than calling someone from your home country during an unlikely event of an emergency.

Diego Lefebre

Diego Lefebre

Diego Lefebre

Diego Lefebre
Country Location: England
Program / University Abroad: SJSU Exchange/Liverpool John Moores University
Term Abroad: 2022 Calendar Year (Spring-Fall 2022)
Major: Business Administration
Year: 3rd

Why did you want to study abroad? 
The reason I wanted to study abroad was that I wanted to have a multicultural experience.

What has been your most surprising, positive, or challenging experience abroad?
The most interesting aspect of my study abroad experience is the amount of Erasmus and international students  I have met that make the Study abroad experience more eye-opening as I get exposed to various languages and cultures..

Any advice to potential study abroad students? 
One piece of advice I would give to potential study abroad students is to do research on the university they are applying to and more importantly the city as some cities are more student-friendly making your experience more exciting and enjoyable.

How are you managing your academic success abroad during the pandemic? 
While being abroad it can sometimes be hard to balance school and your personal life as going out with friends, meeting new people, and exploring new cities take time away from studying, something that has worked for me is keeping a small journal with projects and assignments deadlines and a daily to-do list to finish all of my work and have the weekend free to explore.

What are some ways that you are interacting with the local community?
The way I have been interacting and getting to know the local culture in Liverpool is by making friends with local students from my classes and going out with them to pubs and museums. Another way I have been getting to know locals and British culture is through football or soccer. In Liverpool, the passion and pride they have are emblematic of how important soccer is in British culture. I have also joined some clubs from my university and it has been a great way to get to know local students and demystify stereotypical ideologies about England by having a broader understanding of the people and their culture.

What are some tips for managing your health and safety while traveling during the pandemic? 
Traveling abroad during the pandemic was a challenge in itself as the entry requirements to enter some countries required a negative PCR test within 72hrs, a passenger locator form, and proof of vaccination. Although it may get overwhelming, having a list of the required documents and preparing in advance makes traveling much easier. One thing that helped me a lot while traveling was having a cellular data plan before going abroad because as soon as I landed in the UK I could use my phone to get around making me feel safer and have an overall better experience while traveling.