Hratch Momjian

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Kyushu University – Fukuoka, Japan
EMAIL: hratch.momjian@sjsu.edu

BIO: My name is Hratch Momjian and I am currently a 3rd year mechanical engineering major at SJSU. I’m a first generation Armenian-American, who always liked sharing my cultural differences with others. Furthermore, I also really enjoy talking to people with all kinds of different backgrounds and cultural experiences. If I speak to someone with an English accent I typically ask where they’re from because I enjoy hearing their stories and how they got to their current situation. Because of this, I really wanted to go and study abroad as I would be in a place where I am surrounded by people who have lived completely different lives from me.

GOALS: My goals when studying abroad were to make friends, study in a different environment and, most importantly, step outside of my comfort zone. Throughout my life I have stayed within my comfort zone where I feel best in and would always feel uneasy if I had to do something outside of it. Studying abroad would definitely throw me way outside of my comfort zone and force me to become a much more adaptable person. Being adaptable in any situation helps in networking and general problem solving. Being able to stay calm and collected during a rough time, whether that be in school, work or personal life, allows me to execute what I would like to do most effectively.

PERSONAL GROWTH: I think there are two ways that I grew as a person: self-sufficiency and sociability. Before going abroad I felt as if I was never a sociable person. I never was really able to connect with people who I was not already friends with. Most of my friends at home were also people who were similar to me and talking with them would be much easier. However, after going abroad I think my sociability has improved greatly. I feel much more confident to go out and actually speak with people who are not like me. My self-sufficiency has also improved as I no longer feel that I always need to be surrounded by people to be happy. Before coming to Japan, going outside and doing things alone was never an option. I would always ask friends if they wanted to go with me and if they didn’t say yes, I would simply not go out. However, I now feel much better about doing things I want to do even if I don’t have anyone accompanying me.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? I took seven upper division engineering courses which made my academic experience quite difficult. However, I don’t believe that it was because the courses themselves were difficult but the method of studying was different to ours at SJSU. In Japan, the professor did a lot more of lecturing than actually giving out and reviewing homework assignments. Furthermore, they had an expectation that the students would not only study the given material but also do self studying on their own. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just a different way of doing it. The students are on their own much more. When coming back to SJSU I feel much better about studying on my own now as before I would just rely on the professor to give out the assignment and teach. I am more self-reliant than before thus making me more confident to do well in a class where the professor might not be the best.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? I think I definitely sharpened my ability to connect with people that I had never met before and are completely different from me. When you go out and try to get jobs, you are inevitably going to be talking with people who are nothing like you. Having the ability to connect and positively impact each other has proven to be a great skill to have as other people will enjoy being around you. Going abroad sharpened this skill for me and made me feel much more confident going into job interviews and making a better first impression which will lead to a higher success rate of landing jobs.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? After going abroad I think I am much more appreciative of what my parents have done to get my family and I to comfortably live in America. Hearing the stories of other exchange students and international students, I understand how lucky I am that I grew up in America without needing to move back and forth between different places. A lot of the other students ended up studying in multiple different international schools in different countries, moving two or three times in their lives. I don’t think I ever really understood how difficult that makes life for them: making lifelong friends is harder, opening up to others is harder and simply getting comfortable is harder.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? Studying abroad has prepared me for the future by enhancing my social skills. I believe that I am much more comfortable with speaking to new people who have immensely different backgrounds compared to me. When I am going to be in job interviews, the interviewers are going to be people who are not my age nor have any of the life experiences that I would be able to relate to. However, after going abroad I feel like I will be able to relate and connect with these people much more easily thus helping me land more jobs. Everyone I speak to in my life is not going to be friends that have done the same things I’ve done, eaten the same things I’ve eaten, played the same games I have and after going abroad, conversing with these people will no longer be a problem for me.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? I would say: “Don’t hole up in your room. You don’t get this opportunity often so I don’t think it would be smart to hole up and not do anything when you have all these options and chances to do so many different things. Try and make new friends there, and try not to rely on your friends at home for social communication. If you are staying for a semester or two, having friends abroad will make your life more interesting and fun while you’re away, all while keeping you from feeling any sense of loneliness. Having people to hang out with makes you forget about home and helps get you through those days where you miss home and want to go back, which I assure happens to everyone. Furthermore these friends that you make abroad will be awesome people to know especially if you decide to come back and visit again. Lastly, making friends builds your communication and social skills that will help you in the future with job applications and career events. Go out there and have some fun! Don’t hold back!”

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. 🙂

Sadia Bates

MAJOR: Business Administration/Management
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Winterthur, Switzerland
EMAIL: sadia.bates@sjsu.edu

BIO: Hey! My name is Sadia Bates. I am from San Jose and I am a third year business management student at SJSU. I recently got to fulfill a dream of mine; traveling abroad for school. I spent six months in Switzerland living my best life making friends, traveling, and of course going to school. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and helping out fellow students who want to go abroad.

GOALS: I accomplished many goals having left from my time abroad. I was able to make many friends who I am still in contact with today. I experienced a different application of academic learning, I gained a wealth of professional knowledge from professors.

PERSONAL GROWTH: During my time abroad I pushed myself to make friends and learn from them. I was able to travel to different countries with many of the friends that I had made and that was the most exciting part of my time. The people I met had the biggest impact on me, growing my intercultural communication while having the time of my life.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? In Switzerland I took only business courses and the format of the courses threw me for a loop. I was not used to of the gravity of the finals in addition to the lack of homework. At ZHAW, they do not evaluate your progress throughout the course. An adjustment compared to SJSU, which I now have more of an appreciation for our academics.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? Many of the courses I took abroad have developed my business skills. I participated in several projects that focused on different areas of business like marketing, negotiation, supply chain, ethics, and management. Not only have these projects developed my interest and skill level but also my experience. I now have the option to add these projects to my resume to enhance my opportunities in career goals. In addition I have gained experience in working in an international setting with people from many cultures, this experience will prove helpful in my future career exemplifying my understanding of intercultural communication.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? Arriving home there was an adjustment that I went through and still go through today. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how different Swiss life is compared to life in the Bay Area. I notice people are always on their phones, there is not the same level of respect for others and their surroundings, and it’s not as safe. I take life lessons I learned from Switzerland to heart, moving effectively, being more forgiving and helpful to those in my community, among other things.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? Like I mentioned earlier, my time abroad has definitely enhanced my resume and my business toolbox. I gained many skills on a global level that I wouldn’t have otherwise. For instance, intercultural communication, adaptability, international experience, and self-awareness.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? I would tell future Global Spartans to go for it. The application process and booking/accommodation hunting will be challenging but it will all be worth it in the end. I would also advise them not to set expectations and to stay open, they will have fun no matter what so I suggest they go in with a clear mind and go with the flow. Take advantage of opportunities that are laid before you even if it’s a decision made in a short time.

Landon Krivanec

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – RMIT University, Australia
EMAIL: landon.krivanec@sjsu.edu

BIO: My name is Landon Krivanec and I am a third-year mechanical engineering major and an engineering management minor. During my time at San Jose State University, I have become involved in many organizations of all types including but not limited to Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, BAJA Racing Club, and the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honors Society. However, despite these quality experiences, I knew I would not be satisfied with my college experience if I did not study abroad. Being born in Sacramento, California, and then choosing to go to University in San Jose, California gave me a very limited view of what the world has to offer. While I do love California, I knew there was much more to experience in other parts of the world. I chose to study abroad in Australia because of many reasons, but if I had to limit it to two, I wanted to go to Australia because of the amazing surf and wild nature. Australia exceeded my expectations in both categories and gave me moments I will remember for the rest of my life. I studied abroad in hopes of an adventure and to grow as a person, and I was able to achieve both and more in only 5 months.

GOALS: My goals for studying abroad were to see as much of Australia’s nature as possible and to have friends from all over the world. Australia’s nature is breathtaking and unique to the rest of the world. Any spare time I had I was either on a trip or planning my next trip. Meeting people from different parts of the world was one of the most exciting parts of living abroad. Each person had a lot to share about their experiences and what life was like for them back home. Each person I met gave me a new opportunity to learn more about the world.

PERSONAL GROWTH: The biggest impact studying abroad had on me was the understanding that there are many different ways to live a successful life. In my opinion, the U.S. is very career-oriented in terms of what we do and focus on in our day-to-day lives. However, it was very refreshing to see that life in different parts of Australia is more community and interest-based. My Australian friends described the difference as: “Americans live to work, but we work to live.” This idea has stuck with me since I was in Australia and has become something I want to implement into my life. I enjoy what I am studying, and I spend the majority of my time creating opportunities for my career. However, I have a lot of other hobbies and interests that often get overlooked because of this. Since coming back from Australia, I have continued to live a more balanced life that fulfills my need to work but also invest more time into my community and my other interests.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? I took a lighter coursework load while I was abroad to ensure I had time to enjoy living in Australia. To be able to do this, I increased my workload the semester before and after my study abroad semester. After my study abroad semester, I feel refreshed and have a new desire to learn that has made me look forward to class time.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? The most valuable skill I learned while studying abroad is how to collaborate and work with others from different backgrounds. I continued my mechanical engineering studies at RMIT University and the majority of my assignments were project oriented. Working with international students from Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia all at the same time is where I truly learned the value of communication. This is a skill I continue to use in my academics at San Jose State University and will use in the industry. Another valuable experience that came from studying abroad is being exposed to different ways of doing everyday tasks. I saw this in both my schoolwork and daily life. One of the biggest differences between the U.S. and Australia is Australia’s use and integration of public transportation. A large majority of workers used the trams and trains for their daily commute into the city, saving time and money. This showed me the value of public transportation and inspired me to utilize our public transportation system in the Bay Area,

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? Living on another continent significantly changed my perspective on the world. Before I left for a semester abroad, I felt immersed in California. However, I was unaware of the ecosystem that is our world and how events in one area can create a chain reaction globally. Living outside of the United States gave me a better understanding of the different geopolitical environments in the world and how each has different effects.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? Studying abroad has exposed me to many different opportunities in life. These opportunities help me understand the different paths I can take and what the possible outcomes could be. This helps give my life a better sense of direction. Understanding the different opportunities in life helps me find what I want to do and how I can get there.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? For a future Global Spartan, I would recommend studying abroad more than once! There are so many study abroad programs to choose from which makes it easy to find one that is right for you. You should take advantage of the chance to live in a different country as often as possible while studying.

Katera Perry

MAJOR: Psychology
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea
EMAIL: katera.perry@sjsu.edu

BIO: I am a 4th-year psychology major looking to get a justice studies minor. I am also a first-generation college student. I am the type of person who loves to help others and go after my goals in life.The reason I chose to study abroad was because I wanted to to turn my dreams into reality. I wanted to travel so I could experience the world through different lenses and become more educated about the various cultures worldwide. When you step out of your comfort zone and embrace different experiences you open up a lot of new things about yourself. Studying abroad not only fulfilled a childhood dream but it tested my comfort zone. Before studying abroad I had never been out of the country, let alone by myself. I was able to prove to myself I could do whatever I set my mind to and have a good time doing it. All it takes is some support and trust!

GOALS: I kept myself open to any experience Korea had in store for me while also planning goals to achieve. My most important goal while studying abroad was expanding my knowledge of cultural awareness beyond my American experience. As a psychology major, I find it extremely important to be open-minded when it comes to helping those who are from a different culture than mine, so I took classes like Understanding Asian Culture and Cultural Psychology. I took these classes so I could develop a better understanding of the differences between Asian and Western societies whether it was through their education system, word origins, traditions, etc. Another goal of mine was to look into job opportunities in psychology abroad. While abroad I got connected with a church and learned of their therapy clinic for foreigners, and I was also able to look into other therapy clinics for foreigners in Korea. I have been interested in finding jobs outside of the US so it was a relief when I found these opportunities. With that being said I reached my goals and even found new ones along the way like narrowing down what career path I want to take. For example, I decided I wanted to help other foreigners who are stepping out of their home countries and into unfamiliar territory. I experienced various emotions while abroad whether they were good or bad, and I want to help others through these experiences. Thus, my experience abroad widened my perspectives on my goals and gave me new motivations in my education and career.

PERSONAL GROWTH: The biggest impact studying abroad had on me was growth in my self-assurance in my interactions with others and with my decisions. As stated before, I overcame my limits like fear of getting lost, being alone in a foreign country, and making the wrong decisions. However, by making new connections and everlasting experiences I actively saw myself becoming a better person, proved to myself that I could overcome my limits, and go on life-changing journeys. I also grew in how I managed my free time, which in the long run is extremely important for career building and self-growth. For example, because I learned how to manage my time I was able to focus on self-care more like journaling and getting connected to my religious side again. When reflecting on my time abroad I have seen how much my habits have changed and how I fill my day with more purposeful activity, which is the best growth seen in myself.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? The education system in Korea is not too different from studying in the US, but some things that stood out to me were that their education system is hugely based on tests rather than homework and the emphasis on attendance. I took three courses at Sungkyunkwan University: Culture Psychology, Understanding Asian Culture, and Elementary Korean. These courses were taught in English and met twice a week for a lecture. Because there was little to no homework I had to keep myself focused on studying weekly for future exams. My strategies to stay focused were attending study groups and keeping myself accountable when I did not meet my weekly studying quota. The most important factor in success in academics in Korea is attendance especially since most lecture slides will not have all the information needed for exams. I also took one asynchronous course at SJSU which was Imagery of Psychology. As mentioned before keeping myself accountable was important especially since this class did have many writing and homework assignments due every week. Moving forward, since I was taking Understanding Asian Culture; I learned about the school system in Korea on a deeper level not just concerning their academics but also the community within the school system. It was great to be fully immersed in how students in Korea interact with one another and participate in after-school activities. Going to school abroad taught me better discipline and accountability which is something I have carried with me into my studies at SJSU.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? While studying abroad I learned many about my capabilities and limitations. For example, while abroad I was able to better my understanding of how communication differs between the United States and South Korea. Since I had to learn a new language I was also able to see the importance of eyes, mouth, and head movement and how much of a difference it makes while communicating with those around me. While abroad I also grew in learning how to trust myself. For example, while in Korea I had to take public transportation a few times on my own and I was fearful I’d get lost. But luckily over time, I grew to trust myself and my navigation skills grew as I stayed longer and pushed past my limits. Other skills that I gained include intercultural skills, adaptability, and problem-solving. Going abroad put me through unique experiences that I am grateful to have experienced have helped me become a well-rounded person, and has offered me the skills to navigate through my future career endeavors.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? As mentioned before I have always had a passion for travel and connecting with those around me. To be fully immersed in another country and learn about their culture was truly an impactful experience. I met various people of different backgrounds and cultures and listened to their stories. Their stories were filled with familiar experiences and new ones that I’m glad to have heard. I was only in Korea for four months but I have made lifelong friends I am grateful for. Who would have thought girls from various regions would have so much in common and yet so much more to learn from one another? I always believed the world was filled with beautiful places, people, and stories but actively living in the beauty is a whole other experience on its own. It is also important to note that not all of my experiences were good, but as I experienced some loneliness and uncertainty it was helpful to know I wasn’t alone. My new friends reminded me that it is ok to go through the bad and at the end of the day we are all human and our bad days make us stronger. My journey deepened my understanding of the interconnectedness of the world. I will carry my newfound knowledge and perspectives of the world and let it motivate my purposes in life.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? Studying abroad taught me various life lessons such as money management, time management, discipline, and self-confidence just to name a few. All these skills are the key to success when entering any professional environment and planning for one’s future. I believe without my abroad experience I would not have learned these lessons as fast as I did. When reflecting on my experience I have seen areas where I have matured and where my skills shine the most. This experience has also taught me how to take charge and navigate through various situations. I am more prepared to problem solve in the real world and take on challenges. Like I said before I have seen how the lessons abroad positively impacted my day-to-day life. I am more aware of where I want my future to go and intend to use every opportunity I have ahead of me to better my future.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? My advice is clique but is true nonetheless: You only live once. This is the time to take chances and make mistakes, because what other time than now? If you are scared to go abroad that does not mean it is a sign not to go, it is a sign that you care. When you step over the hurdle of applying take that excitement and run with it. Whether you get accepted into your desired program or not; do not give up. Eventually, when you board that plane and live out your dreams you will realize all the anxiousness and uncertainty were worth it. As someone who questioned if going abroad my last year was a good decision and even contemplated dropping the program listen to me when I say have trust in the process and yourself. It is ok to be cautious and anxious but do not let it stop you from experiencing a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I hope whatever path you take abroad you carry the lessons learned and find growth within yourself.

Luis Torres

MAJOR: Kinesiology
PROGRAM: SJSU Exchange – University of Birmingham
EMAIL: luis.f.torres@sjsu.edu

BIO: My name is Luis Torres and I am a third year majoring in Kinesiology with a specialization in exercise and fitness. I am a first generation college student that has lived in Mexico and the US. Studying abroad was something that I was interested in even before entering SJSU. My sister had studied abroad in Spain when she was a student and I remember her telling me how it made a positive impact on her life. When I was in my second year at SJSU I met a Japanese exchange student and she told me the same; studying abroad was something that everyone should get the chance to undertake. So I decided to take a dive into the unknown and immerse myself in a new culture. I chose the UK because I wanted to go to the hub of all things related to soccer. Being a Kinesiology major, I want to work with a professional soccer team in the future. I also wanted to experience independence while abroad. Finally, studying abroad allowed me to travel outside of my host country and experience a myriad of other cultures. It was very interesting to see different cultures and their perspectives on life.

GOALS: One of my personal goals was to become more independent and I also wanted to find myself while I was surrounded by a new culture. I was able to achieve this as I had much more on my plate than I would if I was at SJSU. I had to balance cooking, cleaning, studying, commuting, traveling and hanging out with friends. I believe I was able to effectively manage my tasks. I also feel that I was able to reflect on myself and who I want to become in the future. My academic goals included passing all my classes with good grades. I put a lot of time and effort into my studies and I feel that I was able to adapt to the teaching styles in the UK. My professional goals included securing an internship with a professional soccer team. Unfortunately I was not able to participate in an internship, however I did make a lot of connections with people in the field of athletic development and recovery. I was able to chat and connect with professors that had coached professional sports before they became lecturers. I also had the opportunity to participate in a research study in which I learned methods in data collection and interpretation.

PERSONAL GROWTH: The friends I made during my exchange made the biggest impact on my life. We only got to know each other for a few months but now it feels like I have known them for a lifetime. The dynamic between people from different countries made it easier for me to open up to others as well as reflect on what kind of person I wanted to be. I was able to make friends from all around the globe and I know we will keep in touch for many years to come. Since most of my friends were also exchange students, we navigated through similar obstacles. At the end of the day, it was comforting to know I had friends I could count on with whatever problems I had going on. I will never forget the countless nights we spent chatting and unwinding after a long day of lectures.

ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad? I had heard that curriculum in the UK was centered around the learner going beyond lecture content. I experienced first hand how important it was to constantly read articles, papers and other sources in order to further develop what was being taught in the lectures. For example, I took a module called Control of Human Movement which was very content heavy. It expanded upon classes I had taken at SJSU so some of the content was familiar. However, since it was content heavy, I had to spend a large amount of time outside of class studying and researching the topics we covered in the lectures. I spent a lot of time reading after lectures and going to office hours in order to make sure I was ready for assessments. I took 2 other courses called Introduction to Teaching and Coaching and another called Movement and Learning. These 2 courses relied heavily on practical applications and group work. Whatever was taught in the lecture was expected to be expanded upon by the students during practical and seminar sessions. These sessions revolved around taking theory and putting it into a real situation. We were often expected to come up with coaching plans for a large variety of age ranges. I would need to read extra material before these sessions in order to be prepared to defend my stance and techniques I applied within the coaching plans. We learned how to incorporate teaching and leadership styles in order to create a streamlined, inclusive, and fun environment in which learners were holistically introduced to activities. The point of these sessions were not only to develop physical literacy but also reflect on social, emotional, and personal skill development. One thing that took some time getting used to were the expectations for students. UK education relies heavily on students to prepare themselves for exams and essays. There is little to no homework so it is of utmost importance to keep up with lectures and study a lot. Typically, grades are based on only a midterm and final exam which was different from what I was used to at SJSU.

CAREER: What skills did you learn / sharpen during your study abroad experience? One of the most important skills I had to develop was time management. The curriculum in the UK is centered around the learner taking initiative and expanding on the content taught in school. This means that I had to manage my time effectively to balance schoolwork, researching, and studying. It is necessary to go the extra mile and research content that facilitates the understanding of lectures, seminars, and practicals. It is also important to keep up with the material that is being taught and study it consistently. I was also able to network with professors, researchers, and students. The professors and researchers I talked with were all in the field of athletic development. To me, they were highly useful in the sense that I was able to get a new perspective as to how sport is viewed in a different country. I was also able to network with classmates that had connections to professional sport organizations in England. Ultimately, studying abroad has opened a new door for my professional goals.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world? In the UK, I noticed there are a lot of similarities with US culture. However the main difference is that people are more open to conversations. I could easily strike a conversation with a stranger on the train, grocery store, or cafe. It has helped me to become more open to talking and meeting new people. When I visited Denmark and Germany, I noticed how everyone was courteous in following rules and etiquette. Thanks to my exchange I have gained a more positive aspect of humanity. Most people are honest and are just trying to live a good life. I also realized that discrimination based on race was not really prevalent. Within the university, there is an extremely strong bond between professors and students. Both parties see each other as equals rather than the professors having power over everyone else. One thing that shocked me was that all professors preferred to be on a first name basis with the students. Even professors that had doctorates preferred to be addressed with their first name, which to me helped facilitate a deeper relationship with them.

FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future? As globalization continues, all of us need to make the effort to understand people who come from different backgrounds. We need to appreciate other cultures and learn what we can from them. Study abroad has helped me access opportunities I would not have if I had stayed in the US. I feel as if I am more prepared to enter the workforce due to my experiences shaping my professional, academic, and personal development. I understand what it means to play your own part but also be able to rise to any occasion and take initiative.

TIPS: What advice would you give to future Global Spartans? To anyone considering studying abroad I would say just do it. Of course, one can feel anxious stepping outside of their comfort zone and entering a new environment. Making the choice to study abroad is the hardest part, everything else will come naturally and flow easily. You will get more positives than negatives and it will change your life forever. It is okay to feel nervous, but you have to understand that many more people are in the same boat as you and you are never alone. There are counselors available to answer any questions. The people you meet abroad will be people you will never stop thinking about. All the memories you make will be vivid, you will also be able to set yourself apart from others when you come back. The development I went through during these last few months would not be possible without my exchange.

Rahel Adebabay

NAME: Rahel Adebabay
MAJOR: Global Studies
PROGRAM: Ireland, SJSU Exchange – University College Dublin
EMAIL: rachel.adebabay@sjsu.edu

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

I am a first-generation Ethiopian-American college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies and three minors in Philosophy, Legal, and African American Studies at San Jose State University. I want to utilize my educational background to work towards my vision of building a prosperous, united Africa, emphasizing creating strong educational infrastructures.

Through this program, I came intending to gain a new perspective on the world. Traveling to another country and experiencing a non-American curriculum made me decenter from the American political perspective.

 

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.

Through decentering from the American perspective, I viewed the world in a much different way. This is especially important as a scholar in the field of International relations because this challenged my political beliefs, worldviews, and personal values. International Affairs cannot be seen from only one perspective, and acquiring added perspective will make me more analytical and critical in nature. In addition, acquiring such attributes and experience will make me an attractive candidate for my future educational pursuits and later professional life.

Because I am just finishing up my term abroad, I have yet to see it being applied to my life on campus. However, I without a doubt believe having an added perspective will make me a much better student in my Global Studies major 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?

Broadly speaking, my goal going into my experience was to be bold and brave. I wanted to try new things and immerse myself in different cultures.However, in retrospect, going into my study abroad experience I had a very uncompromising view of how my life should be during and after my experience. I knew I wanted to graduate within 3 years, take the LSAT in the summer, and do well in all nine classes I was enrolled in during my spring semester. My goals, although achievable, needed to be more flexible and restrictive.

 

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

Although I initially intended to study abroad solely for academic purposes, I did the opposite. This experience made me realize I must slow down and take in life’s pleasures. This semester was the first time since sixteen that I have not worked. Along with the absence of work or pressures to keep me financially afloat, the workload at my school was significantly smaller than my usual course load, even with nine classes. This gave me the time to get to know myself through solo travel and do activities that I loved and previously did not have the time to attend to. Because of this experience, I’ve become more eager to travel in the not-so-distant future, and I know that my future career should have travel embedded into it. In addition, I realized that I perhaps want to live abroad as I feel the way of life in the United States is not sustainable compared to life in Ireland. Living in Ireland has exposed me to what life should be like, as I’ve never felt so safe, healthy, and happy.

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 has been frustrating at UCD. Not so much because the content was challenging but because it was much different from what I was used to in the United States. None of my classes had homework or constant learning checkpoints. In addition, with my major being small at SJSU, with an average of 15 students, I was surprised by the hundreds of classmates I had. Because of this, I noticed a culture of not having strong interpersonal relationships with professors. This was very unusual to me as in nearly every class I’ve taken at SJSU, I’ve been in constant contact with my professors and even have developed those relationships beyond the course I’ve taken with them. However, I am very fond of UCD and all that it has to offer; I’ve never felt helpless because of the endless resources the school provides.

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

Apart from my academic life, I did a lot of solo traveling during my time abroad. Since my start, I have been to 7 countries I have never visited. Some I did not know much about prior to traveling there. Not only did I learn and immerse myself in the cultures that I encountered, but I pushed myself to engage with the community at every opportunity I had. I tried new foods, learned about different cultures and customs, made friends with locals, etc. Most importantly, I learned the values of self-sufficiency and independence while also getting to know myself better. Six of the seven countries I’ve visited are not English-speaking countries, and through that experience, I became a more effective communicator and navigator.

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

The most prominent lessons I’ve learned from in my study abroad experience have been through my solo travels. I exclusively did solo travel as I felt this was fundamental to getting to know myself, and I did precisely that. Solo traveling throughout Europe has made me an effective communicator and navigator. For example, I spent three weeks in Central and Eastern Europe, where people did not know fluent English, and I had to navigate that, whether that was by using context clues, reading facial expressions, or pulling out google translate! In addition, solo traveling in non-English speaking countries has made me comfortable with being uncomfortable. I surrendered expectations and the constant need to stay within what was familiar to me.

TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?
  1. Apply to every scholarship available, no matter how impossible it seems. This was my experience applying to the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship. Because I decided to study abroad last minute, there was only one scholarship available to me which happened to be the most prestigious study abroad scholarship. I won the scholarship, although I applied just two hours before its deadline.
  2. Try to make a friend in every country you visit! Understand the local way of life.
  3. Take advantage of your school’s resources.
  4. If you are attending a European university, use a planner/tracker as the curriculum is primarily autonomous learning. Constantly new ways to engage yourself in your academics.
  5. Research the country that you are studying in. Understand lingo/language, customs, and political system. Three months before moving to Ireland and even before I went to a new country, I watched youtube videos that described social do’s/don’ts.
  6. Get to know and use public transportation. Across almost all European countries, transportation is reliable and safe.

Jeremy Gaviola Quero

Jeremy Quero

Name: Jeremy Quero
Email: jeremy.quero@sjsu.edu
Major: Engineering Technology
Program: Business and Society – Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences – Rotterdam Netherlands
Email: jeremy.quero@sjsu.edu

My name is Jeremy Quero, I am an Engineering Technology focus on Manufacturing Systems and my minor is Business. I’m just another student from SJSU that likes to play video games, listen to music of any genre that is catchy, watch movies and shows specifically anime, and go on adventures. I studied at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) for the spring 2023 semester. Going on the program was definitely an experience that any student should do. I did something out of my comfort zone, I got to understand the culture of the dutch and the many other cultures that were present, and most importantly I got to travel across Europe with the friends I made in Rotterdam. To any student who reads this, Shoot your shot and take a risk because this is something that is bigger than you are and helps you evolve individually as a person.

1) GOALS: What were your goals for studying abroad?
To understand how the culture of Netherlands operate and how to succeed in another country. I wanted to challenge myself by living somewhere whereas I have no prior experience living. To live and to survive on my own. Professionally on taking on the challenges that the Host University gave me and taking it head on and succeeding.
2) PERSONAL GROWTH: What was the biggest impact that your study abroad experience had on you?
I would say the biggest impact it had on my was rediscovering my own culture of not just being an American citizen, but remembering my roots of my people of being a Filipino man. Also living alone and adjusting to the environment to overcome and to succeed. Having an overall different view of how other students from different countries work and apply the positives to my own ethics.
3) ACADEMICS: How would you describe your academic experience abroad?
research and presentations, To ensure success I would take initiative and take action by making the first move and going out in the field to make observations. applying this will give me confidence.
4) CAREER: What skills did you learn/sharpen during your study abroad experience?
The skills I learned and sharpen would be focusness, resiliency, and perseverence. Focusness: since being out here with independency, I would like to have fun and do fun activities with the friends I made out in Rotterdam. That being said when you want to have fun , you have to put in the work. I would make sure I finish every assignment before heading out. Reseliency: with a new environment, theres new school culture and sometime you have to make gold to what’s given to you. There would be times during the program where the students would often feel confused as the professors would not communicate with each other and tend to give us information on the assignments that wouldn’t align. I would ask questions and try to give out the best execution of assignment as I possibly can. Perseverence: With being alone and starting over again in a new society. This made me have to step out my confort zone. I made new friends and it made me take more initiative in and outside of the school. I was able to connect to students all over the world from coming from countries like Germany all the way to Indonesia. This allowed me to explore more cultures other than Dutch culture.
5) COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How has your immersion impacted your perspectives on the world?
People and universities from different cultures work way different. There is no one way of learning things as different countries have their own way of teaching and living.
6) FUTURE: How has study abroad prepared you for your future?
This prepared me not just in school but in life. How I see things now is different than how I saw things 6 months earlier. Going foward into the future, this tought me to be more independent and gave me more confidence in my school methods. Meeting new people helped me understand that everyone works differently have their own journeys. I personally will challenge myself by taking more risks to become more successful.
7) TIPS: What advice would you give to a future Global Spartan?
Advice I would give to future global spartans would be take initiative and challenge yourself to be not just a better student but a better person overall in their journey of wherever country they go. Don’t be scared of taking risks and to always stay committed to the things they do. These type of opportunities come and go so make the best out of it and have fun!

Spring 2024 Deadlines Extended

We are extending the Spring 2024 & Calendar Year 2024-2025 study abroad application deadlines for the following SJSU Exchange, CSU IP, and ISEP opportunities in many parts of the world. Please click on the links below to review the program brochures and apply by the respective new deadlines.

SJSU Exchange

CSU IP

ISEP

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) is still accepting applications until October 1st, 15th, and November 1st for many of their direct enrolled universities in Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Scotland, South Korea, U.A.E, and many more.

Need to talk?

Book an appointment with Julie Lucas or Vidalino Raatior to discuss your options.

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.