San Vu

MAJOR: Computer Science, Interaction Design Minor
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

BIO: Hi! My name is San and I am a Computer Science major with a minor in Interaction Design. Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine – to immerse myself in a new country, culture, pick up a new language, and meet people from all over the world. I chose to study in Seoul, South Korea for its blend of innovation, tradition, and cultural exchange.

GOALS: My goals were to make new friends, order at a restaurant (in Korean), and be more comfortable in my own company. I would say I was pretty successful. I was able to connect with the owners of my favorite restaurant, enjoy many solo dates, and I now have friends from all over the world. South Korea, Denmark, Netherlands, South Africa, and Australia to name a few :’)

PERSONAL GROWTH: Prior to studying abroad, I had so many fears. How will I get around? How will I make friends? How will I communicate with people? How will I get help if there’s an emergency? Studying abroad allowed me to conquer all of these fears and shaped me into a more confident, independent, and adaptable person.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? I chose to take four elective courses: Basic Korean, Political and Economic Development in Korea, Popular Culture and Digital Media, and Comparative Thought and Culture: Horizons East and West. These were all IEC (International Exchange Courses), designed specifically for exchange students. In these classrooms, you feel so much more excitement to mingle with one another, get to know the professor, learn the content, and be intentional with your time. The intentionality and excitement I felt during my academics abroad is what I’ve aspired to bring back and recreate here.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? I walked into this study abroad journey solo and had to navigate life in a foreign country completely on my own. Dealing with delayed luggage, planning my day-to-day schedule, getting a phone number, making friends at school, setting up hospital visits, navigating the foreign streets… But I survived and had so much fun along the way! I learned how to be independent, adapt to a new environment, talk to strangers, and stay positive in the unknown.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? Although we may come from different parts of the world, we are still the same. It didn’t matter what age, gender, ethnicity – even language barriers did not stand in the way of human connection. Experiencing meaningful connections with so many different people has given me more hope and confidence that we can all get along and that I truly am never alone. Wherever I go.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? The unknowns of post-grad are frightening. But having experienced the independence of living abroad and figuring out new ways of life, I feel more prepared for whatevers to come. In whatever situation, I know I can adapt and that I will always figure it out.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? Go with an open mind, talk to everyone you meet, and give everything a try! You will regret not taking the chance while you have it.