Be International blog hosts photo contest

by Jocelyn Moran, Staff Writer

San Diego State students studying abroad are giving other students an inside look into their experiences in other countries as they share their adventures and insights on the SDSU Be International Blog.

The SDSU Be International Blog launched in the spring semester of 2015. Since then, students have been sharing tips and stories to inspire other students to study abroad.

Journalism junior Kelsey Deguia is studying at Erasmus University in the Netherlands for a year and has been sharing her experience on the blog. She said the website is a great resource for students who are unsure whether to go abroad.

“Through the blog, you are able to find more about different countries, specific schools or simply about your fellow Aztecs’ experiences in a new environment,” she said. “This would hopefully help students get a feel for what they may face.”

In her first blog post “My Study Abroad Action Plan,” Deguia wrote about her first two weeks in the Netherlands.

She wrote how in two weeks, she danced with the Dutch at an Amsterdam music festival, rode on the back of a bicycle at night through a busy city and connected with people from all over the world.

“If you have any doubts about taking the opportunity given at State to study abroad, I can vouch that these doubts will be crushed by the experiences you create,” Deguia wrote.

The 2016 International Photo Contest Tournament is also featured on the blog where anyone can vote for a student-submitted photograph taken while studying abroad.

This year’s contest revolved around the theme “Experience Movement.”

Dominic Gialdini, a sophomore international business and tourism management double major, was in the top four of the contest after taking a photo during the summer titled “We, Vagabonds” in Laos.

The photograph captures people crammed inside a truck with their personal belongings on top of it.


“It’s very anonymous,” Gialdini said “You just see their backs and you don’t know their stories or where they’re going or where they’ve been. It was crazy how anyone in the world has the power to just mount on a bus that will take you hours away to wherever you want. It was a moment in the craziness of Southeast Asia, everything kind of just froze for a second.”

Gialdini said he would recommend studying abroad to students because of how big the world is and how many cultures there are to experience.

“Once you go out there and see everyone, you come to realize we are not really different after all at our core,” Gialdini said.  “We are all human. We all have our desires, our aspirations, our pain, our sufferings and our joys.”

Integrated marketing communications senior, Avery Durko received second place in the contest after taking a photograph titled “Don’t Blink” in Capri, Italy in the summer of 2016. 

The photograph captures waves crashing with the island in the distance.


“I was on a speeding boat, and the waves and clouds were wrapping around the island,”  Durko said.  “So much was going on, I was able to capture a moment, and now I can relive it.”

Durko said by the end of the summer in Italy, she was able to listen to a full on Italian conversation and understand what they were saying.

“I feel a lot more cultured and not as sheltered,” Durko said. “It opened my eyes to a completely different culture.”

Bloggers will continue to share their adventures and challenges faced abroad on the Be International website throughout the semester.

Deguia said she will continue to blog for the website.

She said getting accustomed to a new culture has been crazy, but she is embracing it.

“The world is the best classroom. I really value learning in an international environment because it opens you up to so many different perspectives and ideas that will expand your education to new heights,” Deguia said. “I have over 16 different nationalities in one of my classes, and the discussions that take place are so eye-opening.”