5 Ways to Maximize Your International SDSU Experience

For seniors graduating in May, our path to graduation is converging into a new road of uncertainty.

Fear. Reminiscence. Excitement. These are all emotions many of us are experiencing as we write the final words within the college chapter of our lives.

For international students, the four years we spend in the U.S. and San Diego can bring an abundance of opportunities. The key however, is whether or not we take advantage of the opportunities. To gain work experience, there’s fear and uncertainty as to how we navigate the work authorization process. To make new friends, there’s alarm in stepping out of our cultural bubble. To participate in class, there’s discouragement in wondering how people will interpret our accents or any element of our foreignness.

While I harbor some regrets about college, I feel that I am now both culturally and academically very different from the star-struck, nervous and eager freshman I was.

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Easing Friction: Three Ways American Universities and International Students Benefit From Each Other

Pictured: SDSU students at the International Student Center’s 2018 graduation ceremony.

Two years ago, there was a question that continuously derailed my hopes and confidence during job applications and interviews:

“Does the U.S. see me as a foreign national attempting to take up university spots and jobs that should be reserved for locals?”

I admit, I went through a stretch in which I grew sad, lonesome and even developed an inferiority complex. Fortunately, I grew out of that phase as I developed myself as a legitimate, contributing professional in San Diego. Occasionally though, such grey thoughts would hover like a dark cloud over my mind, especially after 2016 — with the new wave of political news cycles, immigration debates and the lack of honest, cross-cultural dialogue between students and professionals of differing perspectives and backgrounds.

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How to Get the Internship You Want as an International Student

“Why doesn’t anyone want to hire me?”

This is a question that crosses the minds of many international and non-international students alike throughout college.

While college is a unique time to explore different interests, meet diverse groups of people and prepare ourselves for the ever-evolving workforce, we live in a society that continuously demands for more. Better grades, better test scores, better extracurricular activities and better work experience.

Better and more of everything.

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Four Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming an International Student

Making your first step onto campus during your freshman year in a different country can bring a mixed big of emotions.

One moment you could be feeling the rush of adrenaline as you meet new people at the dorms, feeling the warmth of a firm handshake or a welcoming smile from professors and peers. Next moment, you could be feeling a gush of loneliness filling your stomach in despair, unsure of how to cope in an environment so alien to each of your senses — thousands of miles away from familiarity.

It’s not easy.

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A Cultural Illumination in Justice

The recipe of a successful study abroad experience typically carries a checklist of core requirements: enthrallment in culture and society, academic captivation and meeting the right people.

You can have two out of the three and still call it a wonderful experience — but my personal list can go on, filled with checks that have made my study abroad experience one of the most memorable trips in my short but fruitful college career.

As a result, I am coming home with an extra beat and note to add to the incessant rhythm and melody of my life.

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