Student Spotlights

Curious about life as an international student? We asked your burning questions to current & former students! Read their answers below.

Yang Jing

Yang Jing

  • Major: Computer Science
  • Home country: China
  • Program: Bachelor's Degree (graduated)
Katherina Martinez

Katherina Martinez

  • Major: Biology
  • Home country: Philippines
  • Program: Bachelor's Degree
Therese Strand

Therese Strand

  • Major: Education
  • Home country: Norway
  • Program: Exchange
Lars Jorde

Lars Jorde

  • Major: Business Administration
  • Home country: Norway
  • Program: Exchange (graduated)
Dahlia Ezekwonna

Dahlia Ezekwonna

  • Major: Global Studies
  • Home country: Nigeria/France
  • Program: Bachelor's Degree (graduated)
Charles Palmer Hagenfeldt

Charles Palmer Hagenfeldt

  • Major: Business Administration
  • Home country: Sweden
  • Program: Bachelor's Degree (graduated)
Yuelin Kang

Yuelin Kang

  • Major: Psychology
  • Home country: China/Canada
  • Program: Bachelor's Degree
Ayaka Yoshida

Ayaka Yoshida

  • Major: Education
  • Home country: Japan
  • Program: Exchange

What is your background? Where are you from and when did you arrive at CSUMB?

Yang

I'm a transfer student. I'm from China. I changed my major to computer science when I got to CSUMB.

Katherina

I am from the Philippines! I arrived at CSUMB in Spring 2017.

Therese

I am an exchange student from Norway, and I attended CSUMB the spring semester of 2018.

Lars

I'm from Dalsbygda, Norway. I arrived at CSUMB in 2016.

Dahlia

I am a Nigerian born French. I came in the United States in August 2013, from a southeastern city in France called Grenoble.

Charles

I was born in Sweden and did not have a perfect academic background. I decided to come to America when I was 15. The plan was to come here through a golf scholarship but it turned out that that was not the right path for me. I became interested in business and became great academically. I came to CSUMB after two years on a city college 2015 and I graduated May in 2017.

Yuelin

I was born in Tianjin, China and moved to Vancouver, Canada when I was three. I moved back to China when I was nine and finished my high school there. After high school I came to CSUMB as a freshman in 2015.

Ayaka

I'm from Japan, my home university is Chuo-u university. I arrived at CSUMB in August 2017.

What are you studying at CSUMB, and what do you hope to gain from your degree? Do you feel that CSUMB is helping you achieve those goals?

Yang

I studied computer science at CSUMB. I hoped to learn software engineering and data science. Yes, I think I achieved most of my goals.

Katherina

I am currently studying Biology. It has always been my dream to be a health professional, hence I took Biology as a pre-med course. Studying Biology in CSUMB has been helpful, as there are a lot of opportunities for research and to make connections with other people in your career field.

Therese

I was taking HCOM and SBS classes here at CSUMB, through this I wanted to learn how to write and communicate better in English. I am studying to become an English teacher in Norway and I feel that my semester at CSUMB has though me a lot about the American language and culture, which will help me in my future teaching career.

Lars

At CSUMB I studied Music and Performing Arts. After I finished my Bachelor in 2017, I got hired by the university theater (The World Theater). I wanted to gain more knowledge about my subject, the American culture and society, as well as growing as a human being myself. It was really great, and I learned more than I ever dared to dream of. CSUMB was great for all of it.

Dahlia

During my time at CSUMB I was a Global studies student with a minor in Peace studies. I wanted to learn about a variety of topics that would develop my analytical ability, and prepare me for the field I would like to work in. I liked that my major allowed me to gain a multidisciplinary background and at the same time focus on international relations.

Charles

I studied Business Administration - Management/International Business. My hopes at CSU Monterey Bay was to get a great job where I could continue get experience to later apply for a Sport MBA and a solid job within the sports and finance industry. CSUMB has helped me achieve a lot of milestones to these main goals. CSUMB taught me the thirst/need of knowledge of management and after graduating CSUMB I have never stopped learning. CSUMB taught me to set goals which have created a thirst of success in my life.

Yuelin

I am majoring in psychology with a minor in statistics. I would like to go to grad school somewhere in California and I think CSUMB has done a great job preparing me for grad school as well as society. I have learned many life skills along with academic knowledge while I was here and I am grateful for all the opportunities I was given here.

Ayaka

My major at CSUMB was Education and my minor was Global Studies. Some classes were very hard to follow, but I could pass them because all professors are friendly and tried to help us a lot.

What is your favorite aspect of studying at CSUMB?

Yang

Professors are very helpful and the location of CSUMB is great.

Katherina

The community! The people are always helpful and nice. No matter what difficulty you experience, there will be the right department or organization for you.

Therese

The area is my favorite aspect of studying at CSUMB. The location of the school is beautiful and I will miss this place a lot.

Lars

How it's so laid back and relaxed compared to the Norwegian culture.

Dahlia

I loved the dedication of my professors, the flexibility of my major and the library!

Charles

Small classrooms and study real life business cases rather than memorizing tests. I love that CSUMB has smaller classrooms that allows more interactions with teachers and students. The competency in the room increases much faster when teachers have the chance to involve more students in the classes. The business major has a unique program which is called "flipped classroom" which means that the students holds the competency in the class and the teacher directs the conversations. It is really great to be a part of a program that gives students a chance to learn how to be productive and learn how to solve real world problems. The academics was most fulfilled by case studies, tests, and projects. The case study we had taught me much more than I would have gone to any Swedish university, and probably any other American university.

Yuelin

My favorite aspect of studying at CSUMB is the people. The faculty and staff are all very happy to help me in my journey. The students here are also very welcoming and nice. I would not have done much without their support.

Ayaka

Everyone is equal and free. This university was great place to study.

What is your favorite restaurant in Monterey?

Yang

A few: Harumi, Noodle Bar, and Monterey Fisherman's House.

Katherina

If I'm craving for burgers, I love Islands! If I'm craving for Asian food, then it's definitely Noodle Bar!

Therese

My favorite restaurant in Monterey is Bubba Gump Shrimp (A Taste of Monterey is also nice).

Lars

STARBUCKS! No just kidding. It's horrible. Hmmm.. I gotta be honest and say sorry America, (and Monterey) but your food really isn't that great. Everything is just covered in either fat or sugar, but most times in both.. But alright, check out Happy Girl Kitchen in PG. It's alright!

Dahlia

Fullmoon <3 (I really miss it!)

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Yuelin

My favorite restaurant is Pho Lucky Noodle House in Marina but I also love In-n-Out!

Ayaka

Alvarado Street Brewing Company

What have you learned about life in the U.S. that you hope to bring back to your country?

Yang

Diversity. Independence.

Katherina

What I learned here in the US is to never let failure define you and your future. It is always never too late to work hard and pursue what you want.

Therese

I have learned to be more open to talking to strangers. I learned a lot from seeing how different American culture is to the Norwegian culture. I also met a lot of other international students and learned about their cultures as well.

Lars

Relax! Don't stress, and leave your anxieties behind. Individualism! In Norway people tend to be terrified of being a bit different. Why should we care so much about what other people think of us?

Dahlia

To thoroughly enjoy your life while working hard. To not take myself too seriously. I like this mentality about California.

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Yuelin

I have learned to express myself and I hope I can take that back to China. To not be afraid to express how I feel and to advocate for issues I am passionate about. I feel like the sense of equality and to push for equality is very important, and it is not visible enough in my own country.

Ayaka

The high motivation for academics.

What has been the hardest challenge of adjusting to life in the U.S.?

Yang

Daily commute. [Yang lived off-campus in downtown Monterey]

Katherina

Adapting to an entirely new environment. The people, places, and the atmosphere are significantly different than back at my home, so it was really hard adjusting in the first semester.

Therese

I think the hardest challenge has been to live so close to others, and not having a private space of my own.

Lars

Hmm. I don't really know. To be honest, I don't feel I had too many problems. The American (or maybe I should say the Californian) culture is very open minded, helpful, caring, and easy going. I could always ask for help, and was never afraid to do so.

Dahlia

I had a hard time adjusting to Monterey's public transportations. I am used to having more frequent buses coming from France.

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Yuelin

The hardest challenge adjusting to life here is balancing school work with other life events but I think that is the biggest challenge no matter where you are.

Ayaka

Culture difference, room share, saying my opinion in the classes in which many Americans are there.

What do you miss most from home?

Yang

Sichuan Cuisine, haha.

Katherina

My family! It's always wonderful to meet great people here, but it really is different to come home to your family.

Therese

I missed my family and friends the most.

Lars

Mussmør and Kølbua! English: Mouse Butter (it's a cheese) and the Coal Bu (a pub).

Dahlia

Family and friends!

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Yuelin

I miss Chinese food the most and home made food.

Ayaka

Family and food

What is one thing that a new international student must do during their time in Monterey?

Yang

Whale watching.

Katherina

Whale watching! Although being 10-15 minutes away from the sea is already a great experience in its own, you must try whale watching! Go to the fisherman's wharf and spend your afternoon there and you may just see them! If you are more extravagant, there are shops that offer whale watching services, so you can see them up close.

Therese

I recommend new students to drive by the coast and stop by Big Sur.

Lars

Well it's hard to say because we are all so different. I love surfing and the ocean but it's not for everyone. Travel! Go surf!

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Yuelin

I think everyone should visit the aquarium. I feel like it is the best way to educate ourselves about the marine sanctuary and issues regarding environmental justice. I think it is way more fun if you are interested in learning about rehabilitation in Marine life, but if you just want to see otters, that's cool too.

Ayaka

Do not be shy, hesitate, or be afraid for new things – and make friend as many as possible! Spend your amazing time at CSUMB with new people from other countries and enjoy the many differences, and make a new experience with them.

What is your favorite spot on the CSUMB campus?

Yang

Building 201 (the International Programs office).

Katherina

The Student Center! It's open every day, until midnight, so it's a great place to hang out with friends in the game room, chill in lounge, and study and do assignments!

Therese

My favorite spot on campus is the student center.

Lars

It's my own secret little lunch-spot. You are overlooking campus, and you can see all the way to the ocean. But I won't tell where it is!

Dahlia

I liked being at the library, haha!

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Yuelin

My favorite spot on campus is the library. I feel like I focus better when I am studying in the library compared to in my room.

Ayaka

Library.

Do you have any advice for new CSUMB international students?

Yang

Be brave, try out new things.

Katherina

You can never fully experience what studying abroad is like while you are in your comfort zone. Don't count the days, make the days count!

Therese

Try to explore the area as much as you can and don't save everything for the last minute because time goes by so quickly. Do road trips and enjoy campus.

Lars

You must socialize with people from other countries than your own! A lot of internationals tend to stick together in groups only consisting of their own countrymen. The Americans are pretty nice! Or the Europeans! You just gotta speak English to them...

Dahlia

I think we are all very different but what helped me during my undergrad was to stay focused and consistent in my effort.

Charles

A general advice is to not slack, the programs CSUMB offers are fun but fun as in challenging fun. Be prepared to show up to class and be a good participant. CSU Monterey Bay is a fantastic location for studies. As a international student you will appreciate the wonderful people and culture that Monterey shares. Business students will appreciate all the classes you have to take when you get out on the job market because you are more than well prepared to handle any kind of entry level job. CSUMB gave me the competency that resulted in having managed to jump probably 1 - 2 years ahead of my career. As a international student, I would defiantly recommend to get involved on the campus in clubs or other activities to get the most of your experience as you can. I also suggest getting a job (if you can) at campus because having a job at campus made my time there so enjoyable and exciting.

Yuelin

My advice to new students would be to join clubs, especially the international club. It is a great way to meet new friends and get involved in some fun activities. I would also try to explore the area; Big Sur and Santa Cruz are great one day adventures. If there is time I would also advise to travel around the U.S. There is so much to see and always a good time.

Ayaka

Enjoy your life in California!

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