NAME: Yassine Cherif
MAJOR: Business Admin/Management Information Systems
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Thailand – Chulalongkorn University
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.