Summer 2024 Faculty-Led Programs (FLP)

Thinking about joining one of our summer Faculty-Led Programs? Now is the time to start planning. Applications are due January 31! Many programs are open to all majors and several fulfill graduation requirements (check the Academics tab of a program for details on the course, prerequisites and requirements it will fulfill).

Asia & Oceania




More Info:

Check out all summer 2024 faculty-led programs here.

Lisette Vasquez Perez

NAME: Lisette Vasquez Perez
MAJOR: Forensic Science – Biology
PROGRAM: Scotland – FLP – Comparative Forensic Science US & UK


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

There aren’t many opportunities that provide hands on experience for forensic science students so a faculty led program that centers forensic science was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss. Additionally, the UK is ahead of the U.S. in terms of the development of forensic science which allows me to learn about current standards and policies that influence how other countries choose to apply forensic science in their countries. I have never been to the UK which added to the intrigue of experiencing a culture that is unfamiliar to me by living and learning in that space.

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.

During my time there I was able to interact with other forensic science students that I had never met before which allowed me to network with students I could meet with throughout future semesters. Additionally, I was able to talk with the professors, lawyers, and doctors who are involved in forensic science in Scotland to better understand the different career paths that are available after I finish my bachelors degree. Since we had labs in addition to lecture I was able to get a preview into the different forensic techniques implemented when analyzing the various types of evidence taught in upper division 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?

A personal goal that I had was to meet and connect with one new person during the duration of the program, which I was able to accomplish on my first day by stepping out of my comfort zone. Something that aided this was that we were all nervous about being in a new country and having no family to guide us through out time there. An academic goal that I had was to identify if the graduate program offered at the Univerity of Strathclyde was something I wanted to apply to and based on my experience it has become one of the schools I will definitely be applying to when the time comes. A professional goal that I had was to have a basic understanding of the standards for forensic scientist in the field or lab which is something that I need regardless of what career I end up in. I was able to accomplish this by participating in the labs the professors had planned for us.

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

The biggest impact that the program had on me was making me more comfortable reaching out and connecting with people that I find myself in the same space with. For example I noticed that I initiated conversations with other students in my new courses as well as reaching out to the students that were a part of the same summer program. Before, I was too intimated to talk to students due to not having enough confidence to do so, but after this program I have noticed a difference. Similarly I am more confident in my choice of major and my place within the school as a result of my experience during the program because it made me more aware of the noticeable passion that is displayed by all the professionals I was able to interact with.

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?

The course that I took was FS 160 which is called Special Topics in Forensic Science gave me the opportunity to introduce and connect with my major advisor which made me more comfortable in reaching out whenever I have concerns academically. In order to stay successful abroad we were required to take copious notes as well as write a daily reflection in our notebooks which allowed for tracking any progress I made within any of my goals. Similarly the time spent in labs gave me further motivation to continue in my undergraduate research with Dr.Muller.

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

I didn’t know much of Scottish culture or history but as a result of this course I was able to learn about both in addition to how their judicial system works. From this there was also a lecture that focused on the difference in the practice and application of forensic science globally which opened my eyes to the various standards currently. More importantly the professors discussed how collaboration between universities not only helps students but it also helps further the information available to research groups so that progress is done more effectively.

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

This program demonstrated how despite the professors working at the same university they all have different backgrounds which reflected how vast forensic science is. Because of this, my want to go to graduate school has solidified however I’m still not certain about what specifically I want to study. Also, I was able to have experience being a student abroad and practicing my navigation and budgeting skills that will be useful if I were to be accepted in a graduate school that is far from home.

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

I would advise to not be afraid to ask questions and to connect with people. I would not have had the experience that I did if I didn’t open myself up to everyone I interacted with. Additionally it was comforting to know that my fellow classmates were struggling with the same problems as me during our time abroad. These tips are applicable to being a student anywhere even if it isn’t abroad since you aren’t losing anything from trying.

Viridiana Galvez Garcia

Viridiana Galvez Garcia

Major: Business Accounting
Term Abroad: Winter 2023
Year: Junior
Program / Location: Barcelona, Spain: FLP – A Taste of Spain

Why did you want to study abroad? 

I wanted to study abroad because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone . I love learning about different cultures and exposing myself to new experiences.

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

My most positive experience abroad includes meeting amazing students in my program and getting to know more about local people and their traditions.

How did you manage your academic success abroad during the pandemic?

I scheduled certain times during the day to focus only on my school responsibilities, making sure I was completing all my assignments.

What are some ways that you interacted with the local community?

I am a very curious person. I tried to ask as many questions as possible whenever we were taking a tour.

What are some tips for managing your health and safety while abroad?

I would say making sure to always having a face mask around, also washing your hands as often as possible and making sure you follow the host county guidelines.

Any advice to potential study abroad students?

Always listen to the professor and the study abroad and away staff advice. Follow their instructions and make the best out of this unforgettable experience.

Mariana Rojas-Montoya

Mariana Rojas-Montoya
Major: Physics
Term Abroad: Winter 2023
Program / Location: Spain FLP

Why did you want to study abroad? 
I wanted to explore something completely different from my major, and it was a good reset for myself before starting a new semester. When I first started college, I didn’t think that studying abroad was even in the cards for me since my major did not require a study abroad experience. When I found out that there were programs that covered a student’s area V, I got excited. It was an impulsive decision since I applied right after I read about it, but such spontaneity led to academic growth. On top of that, I’ve been wanting to practice my Spanish more, so a program for Spain was my immediate first choice.

What has been your most surprising, positive, or challenging experience abroad?
The thing that I enjoyed the most was how much time I was able to spend with my classmates. My favorite moments include touring historical spots, cooking together, shoe making, learning about the production of certain foods, and being introduced to new dishes during our group meals. I especially cherished the activities that my classmates and I did during our free time. It was during those moments that we were able to bond through laughter, curiosity, sharing stories from our own lives, and expressing our gratitude for having this experience abroad together. I am incredibly lucky to have traveled with this cohort. They really did make the program even more worthwhile.

How are you managing your academic success abroad during the pandemic?
I was able to manage my academic success abroad by being mindful of my assignments and their due dates. I also view my experience in the program as a form of management for my overall academic success in San Jose State. I wanted time to think about how I’ve been feeling with my studies back at home, and the trip provided me the chance to disconnect from anything related to my major, which felt refreshing. Regardless of what major a student has, it is always healthy to just step back from it for a little while and rest. By being in a setting that allowed me to learn and unwind at the same time, I was able to make choices upon returning home that will help me achieve my academic goals.

What are some ways that you are interacting with the local community ?
A memorable interaction that I had was with a store owner who ran a stationery store in Barcelona. My roommate and I were looking for a gift while exploring small alleyways during our free time, which is how we ended up in the store. I started chatting with the store owner, and that is when she told me that the notebooks were special since they were all handmade in house. She shared a story about her upbringing and how she developed her interest in making notebooks. I then learned about how people in that town would have a vision of things that they like, so they would open a small business to share it with the public. It felt special hearing these stories through her, and she even told me about other antique stores that she recommended I visit during my trip. Barcelona is filled with nooks and crannies of people’s art, and making those discoveries is the best part of interacting with the locals.

What are some tips for managing your health and safety while abroad?
Coordinate with your classmates regarding communication. Always let them know where you or someone is going, which is crucial if anything were to happen. Always observe your surroundings, keep your purses/bags in front of you to protect your belongings, and stay in areas where there are plenty of people and enough lighting. As for health, do bring masks, sanitizing wipes, and medication.

Any advice to potential study abroad students?

  • Research the weather for all of the programs offered. This might be a no-brainer for those who travel a lot, but it could be something that doesn’t cross someone’s mind if they don’t travel much or at all.
  • Even if your major does not require a study abroad experience, Spartans Abroad does offer programs that can cover an upper division general education area such as area V. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the office and/or professors with questions about those details, I really encourage speaking with them if you have any doubts about anything!
  • If you are considering doing a program, then go for it! As mentioned before, sometimes you just need to step back from your current major studies and take time to explore new things. It is beneficial since you are able to realize/reflect on what is truly making you happy in life. Just go out and live!

Janet Garcia Borbon

Janet Garcia Borbon


Congratulations to Janet Garcia Borbon who graduated in December with more than just a degree in kinesiology.  She is a first-generation college graduate, a DACA recipient, the #1 ranked Muay Thai fighter in the United States, and a study abroad alumnae of the business-focused faculty-led program in Germany in summer 2022. Prior to leaving for Germany for her study abroad experience, Janet represented the United States at the World Games in Alabama earning a bronze medal.

What’s your story?

Hi, my name is Janet Garcia Borbon. As a first-generation graduate and DACA recipient, I am proud to have achieved so much in my life. I am proud to have achieved so much in my life. Born in Mexico, I have called San Jose, California my home since I was nine years old. In addition to my academic pursuits, I am also a skilled Muay Thai fighter and currently hold the #1 rank in the 48 kg weight class in the USA. Recently, I had the privilege of representing the USA at the World Games and brought home a bronze medal. I am grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way and am excited to see what the future holds.

Why did you want to study abroad? 

I have always been fascinated by the idea of studying abroad and experiencing life in a different part of the world. Growing up, I never had the opportunity to travel outside of my home continent and this seemed like the perfect chance for me to step out of my comfort zone and explore a new culture. I am eager to see how people in other parts of the world live and experience life, and I believe that studying abroad will be a valuable and enriching opportunity for me.

What was your experience abroad in Germany?

My experience in Germany has been wonderful. I have had the opportunity to learn about a new culture and meet a diverse group of people. I have gained valuable insights into how business is conducted in Germany and how people view the world. I have also had the chance to try new and delicious foods and engage in meaningful conversations with locals. While the Germans may not be as outwardly friendly as Americans, they are extremely helpful and willing to assist whenever needed. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Germany and would love the chance to return in the future.

What is The World Games? 

The World Games are an international multi-sport event comprising sports and sporting disciplines that are not contested in the Olympic Games. They are usually held every four years, one year after a Summer Olympic Games, over the course of 11 days.

About 3,600 elite athletes from over 100 countries compete for gold in more than 30 of the fastest growing sports in the world. The first ever World Games took place in 1981 in Santa Clara, CA.

Tell us about your journey and experience at The World Games?  

My journey to the World Games began five years ago when I learned that my sport, Muay Thai, would be included in the games. I made the decision then and there that I would do whatever it took to represent the United States in the World Games. It was fortuitous that the next World Games would be held in Birmingham, Alabama. I spoke with my coach and told him that I wanted to be the best in the country. We worked hard for the next five years, competing against fighters from all over the country and climbing the ranks. Eventually, I won the USA qualifiers, securing my spot on the team and my #1 rank in the USA.

When I arrived at the Games, it was like a dream come true. I had worked so hard for this moment and it was finally here. I took in every moment, making sure to be present and savor the experience. The highlight of the tournament for me was when they called out “Representing the United States of America” and my name. That was when it all hit me: an immigrant child representing the USA. I never thought I would get the opportunity to hear those words and I was overwhelmed with joy. I wanted to cry, smile, and hug my mom to tell her that we had done it. But I had to put on a good poker face and get to work. As I entered the ring, I put all my feelings aside and fought with all my heart. After winning my first match, the crowd started cheering again, “USA! USA!” and all those emotions came rushing back. I hugged my coach and tears rolled down my cheeks.

Although I didn’t win the gold, earning a bronze medal was still a huge accomplishment for me. It was one of the best times of my life and I will always hold that moment dear to my heart.

What does it mean for you as a Spartan to be selected to represent the US in The World Games?

This experience has shown me that anything is possible if I set my mind to it. Being both a student and a top athlete can be challenging, but I have had great professors and counselors who have helped me along the way. Whenever I needed help from my teachers, they were always willing to provide it. They recognized the demands of my athletic career and did their best to help me balance my schoolwork. This has taught me that with determination and support, I can achieve anything.”

Any advice to Spartans?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are many resources available to make your college experience easier. I wish I had known this when I first started college, but now you do. Talk to your professors or counselors for guidance and they will point you in the right direction. Remember, you don’t have to go through this journey alone.

NOTE from the Study Abroad & Away office:

If you wish to support future DACA students to take advantage of our global experiences at SJSU, please consider donating to the Dr. Ruth Huard Study Abroad Scholarship which aims to help fund DACA students with their Advance Parole process.

Seung Ho Chang

Dr. Seung Ho Chang

Dr. Seung Ho ChangSeung Ho Chang

College: CHHS
Department: Kinesiology
Program: South Korea (KIN): Land of the Morning Calm (PE)
Location: South Korea

Dr. Seung Ho Chang has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Kinesiology since 2016. He received a B.S. and master’s degree in Physical Education (emphasis in Motor Development and Control) from Seoul National University, South Korea. He earned his Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a specialization in Motor Development and Physical Education Teacher Education from The Ohio State University.  Dr. Chang was a head of the Martial Arts Major in the department of physical education at Korea Naval academy and a chief officer of Taekwondo Demonstration Team for Cruise Training Force (visiting 13 countries). He holds the rank of 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo and has taught Taekwondo at many universities in both South Korea and the United States.