This year, San Diego State welcomed over 1,000 international students to campus.
Now that students are well into the fall 2017 semester, some international students are still adjusting to SDSU and living in a foreign country.
Xinyao Wang, hospitality and tourism management sophomore from China, said she likes SDSU because it offers a variety of activities for international students, such as Aztec Nights and coffee hours at the International Student Center.
“I really like how SDSU has a lot of amusement facilities on campus,” Wang said. “The social events are fun and a great way to experience American culture.”
Some international students chose to attend SDSU because of its location.
“I like San Diego because the weather is nice, and I have the opportunity to learn how to skateboard and surf, which I never do back home,” said Josh Yang, a business administration graduate student from Taiwan.
While some students come from overseas to attend SDSU, other students travel from nearby countries to get their education.
Felipe Villaseñor, electrical engineering student from Mexico said he wanted to study at SDSU because he heard the schoo lwelcomes students from different cultures.
“It’s nice not to be far from home, and I like SDSU because its students are diverse and accepting,” Villaseñor said, “It was such a huge shock to me, and it’s not like any other place I’ve been.”
The obstacles international students are facing while they study abroad include adjusting to their professors’ teaching styles and coursework loads.
Reiko Aizawa, international studies major and exchange student from Japan, said that she struggles in her Spanish class because other American students have more experience speaking the language.
“I noticed that everyone in my class has taken Spanish in high school, and it is harder for me to keep up with my classmates and understand my professor,” Aizawa said.
Hospitality and tourism management major Wuyue Sun, who is from China, also said that her classes are hard at times because she is assigned more homework here compared to her home university.
“I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me because my professors give me more work than I am used to,” Sun said. “The professors also talk very fast, which has been a big challenge for me so far.”
As Wang continues her studies this semester, she said she wants to interact with more American students and have the true SDSU experience.
“My purpose for coming to here was to expand my knowledge of American culture, including popular foods, music and slang words,” Wang said. “I would like to meet more people in my class and ask them questions.”
It is also a priority for students like Jessy Lin, business administration major from Taiwan, to practice her English language skills.
“I want to converse with local students in order to improve my English-speaking skills because I believe it is the best way to learn.” Lin said.
Hirotaka Kaneyuki, an economics major and exchange student from Japan, said that he wants to learn more about the school’s Greek life.
“In Japan, we have no such thing as sororities and fraternities,” Kaneyuki said. “I want to understand more about them and what they do, because it is such an interesting part of SDSU.”
SDSU offers a variety of courses to international students from other countries. One class in particular focuses on helping international students adapt to college life in the U.S.
College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts professor Jessica Keith teaches PSFA 296, which aims to help international students adjust to American culture and ask any questions they may have about U.S. values and traditions.