Janette Albor Hernandez

MAJOR: Business Administration/Finance
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
EMAIL: janette.alborhernandez@sjsu.edu

BIO: Hello my name is Janette. I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. I transferred to SJSU in the Fall of 2022 from Santa Rosa Community College. I am a fourth year Finance major graduating in the Fall of 2024. I always wanted to study abroad since high school but due to unforeseen circumstances and then recently Covid-19, my trip was always canceled. After transferring to SJSU I attended an information session and knew I had to apply. I decided to study abroad to immerse myself in a new culture, learn a new language, travel, gain new opportunities and also make lifelong friends.

GOALS: Personal- I wanted to become more independent, not be afraid to try new things and gain confidence for personal development. I also wanted to develop an understanding of diverse cultures and make friends. Academic – I wanted to gain new knowledge, explore new perspectives and methodologies when learning about how business works in a different country. Professional – I wanted to build international friendships by networking which can lead to future career opportunities. I also wanted to gain new skills such as working effectively in diverse teams which are essential for success in globalized industries and professions.

PERSONAL GROWTH: I think the biggest impact that my study abroad experience had on me was definitely gaining independence and self discovery. Being away from home going to a country where English is not spoken as much challenged me in many ways. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone by trying new things. I even went solo traveling to other countries which is something I never would have done before. I became more free spirited and my confidence grew.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? I ended up taking three courses abroad. Quantitative Business Analysis Financial Intermediaries International Financial Management Some strategies that I used were to manage my time wisely by having a planner. Classes were once a week for three hours so I took one class a day. I had more time to study and do my assignments while still having time to explore and engage in cultural activities. I also formed a study group for each class and we would go over notes/homework and study together. Coming back to SJSU, I did have to readjust my schedule to going to class twice a week for each class instead of once a week. I also had to go back to my old study routine to focus on turning in assignments more frequently.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? The skills that I learned/sharpened during my study abroad experience are: Intercultural communication and Thai language: I was exposed to diverse cultures and different languages that helped me enhance my ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds. I did make an effort to learn Thai during my exchange program by watching and listening to Thai dramas and songs. I also practiced a lot with Thai students. While I am still a beginner I still tried my best to speak Thai when ordering food, asking for directions and when trying to make small talk. Cultural awareness: At first I did not know a lot about Thailand. My cultural awareness increased immensely. It was a learning experience. I learned how to cook a few traditional Thai recipes in Chiang Mai, I participated while learning about important holidays and I visited famous landmarks such as a few sacred temples to learn more about the history of Thailand. I also had the opportunity to travel to other countries in Asia as well to experience the differences in cultures. Adaptability: After arriving I was very home sick and overwhelmed at the same time. It was all so new and different, but after some time I was able to adapt to the change, navigate in this unfamiliar environment, to their customs and lifestyle. Adapting to living in a new and different country helped me overcome challenges that I faced. Now I feel prepared to adapt to changes when going to different countries. Independence/Responsibility: Going abroad really made me more independent and take on more responsibility. At home in some situations when I had a problem I would rely on my family but I learned to work through my problems and create solutions independently. It helped build my confidence and made me take responsibility over my own decisions. Networking: While my classes had mostly Thai students there were a few other exchange students from different countries. I had the pleasure of meeting students from France, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands and many more. During our exchange program we were part of Chulalongkorn’s International Department (aka Int Dept) where they offered many events to get to know each other and it was amazing to learn more about their cultures and lifestyles. It was truly an awesome experience to have friends all around the world that I still continue to keep in touch with.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? My immersion has definitely changed the way I view the world. I now have different perspectives for new ways of living, thinking and solving problems. Also I had never realized before just how huge the world actually is. I have only been to Mexico and a few other states but prior to studying abroad I had never traveled anywhere else before. There are many cultures to learn about and I hope I get the chance to explore more.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? Studying abroad has prepared me for my future by providing me with new valuable skills, experiences and new perspectives. I now have the confidence to navigate in a new diverse world. I believe I can do more on my own and am more open to trying new things. I also found out that I can also be happy with my own company and not depend on others to have fun.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? Start planning early. Attend an information session and don’t be afraid to ask all your questions. Be prepared by doing some research to know more about where you are going to be studying and living. Learn about the different options for accommodations and transportation. Learn more about the foreign currency and the different payment methods that are accepted. Pack accordingly depending on the climate. Be open minded and not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Don’t be afraid to go exploring by yourself. If you want to do something do it because you might regret it if you don’t. Create a budget to help organize your expenses. Document everything by taking pictures, making vlogs or even journaling your experiences. If you have the chance to travel to other cities or countries, do it! Have fun but also give your body and mind time to rest. ­čÖé

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.