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International Student & Alumni Spotlight

Current International Students and Alumni 

I have started to work as a Vietnamese Publisher...

"I just realized dealing with deadlines at work is way harder than dealing with assignments in university. However, I had a chance to learn and met so many talented people at the company.

Another thing that surprised me the most is I still remember and apply all the knowledge I gained while studying at CSUSM into my current career. That not only helps me to be able to be more creative but also assists me in building and maintaining relationships with other colleagues.

I was so focused on my work, and my brother even made a joke about me being a workaholic. Therefore, I am trying to slow down and let myself enjoy the moments after graduation."- Anh Trinh

Anh- Spotlight
Hao- Spotlight

I'm currently employed at Mikazuki Pictures...

"Hao has applied to multiple master programs in Australia and plans to obtain a PhD degree in Digital Communication in the future.

 Currently, Hao is employed at Mikazuki Pictures and is in charge of handling the media design & videos of the company. During his free time, he enjoys playing yugioh. "I also got the agency qualifications from Yugioh China", explains Hao. He owns a card shop and also designs Playmats & Deck Boxes.

 He is also a fan of making Gundam Models. He participated in an Anime Expo in China as a Gundam Model owner (picture).

I am really really appreciate that CSUSM gave me such a great leading of abilities that I can handle things easily!"- Hao Chen


Meet Sonya from Vancouver, Canada...

Sonya earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from our university in Spring 2019.

 After her graduation from CSUSM, Sonya was accepted at the University of San Diego. She will be working towards completing a Masters Degree in Legal Studies.

 Currently, Sonya enjoys "getting outdoors and enjoying a break before I begin the next academic chapter", she said.

 Sonya does NOT miss the STAIRS, but she does miss seeing class friends she interacted with on a weekly basis.

Sonya- Spotlight

I'm currently a Financial Advisor...

"Hello everybody! My name is Kien Truong. I majored in Global Business Management. It is great to see you all and share my experience with you guys!

 Last summer, I traveled to China with my mom and sister. We visited Beijing and Shanghai. I also had a chance to visit my chinese  friends from csusm in China. It was a wonderful trip. It was great to see friends around the globe again. I felt so happy and so blessed!

 I'm currently a financial advisor for World Financial Group. I help clients make saving plans for their kid and their family.

 I miss Natalie and Danielle from Global Office. Natalie and Danielle are the best advisors I know. I couldn't imagine my life at CSUSM without Natalie and Danielle's help.

My word of encouragement is to study, have fun, and make your dream come true! For whatever you are struggling with school, Natalie and Danielle will be there to help you.

I hope you have a wonderful time at CSUSM everybody! and feel free to reach out to me through my school email I would love to connect with you all! "- Kien Truong

bayanMeet Bayan from Saudi Arabia...

"I’m Bayan Sairafi, from Saudi Arabia. Hopefully you still remember me. I studied double major Human Development and Sociology.

 After graduation I went back to my country. I traveled a little to Europe before the lockdown (due to covid-19) you probably hate this word by now.

 I got a job at the E1 cluster as a document controller. Where I mange policies, clinical guidelines, scope of services and other type of documents. I’m also learning how to prepare hospitals for accrediting bodies visit. E1 cluster is part of the Ministry of Health where we manage the governmental hospitals. Also, E1 refers to the Eastern province as we manage the eastern provinces’ hospitals, and each province in the kingdom has their own cluster. I like my job and am learning great things that will help me when I continue my studies.

 During my free time I like to gather with my friends and family. Go for walks, hikes and explore nature. I also like to spend time reading and educate myself in different ways.

 CSUSM holds a tremendous place in my heart. As I grew up wondering in the plazas, looking for classes and crashing others. It helped me shape who I am and how to express myself and articulate my thoughts. I learned not only subject matters, but life matters. CSUSM is not only a school, it is a home."- Bayan Sairafi


Meet Hugo from Mexico...

"I am an international student from México in the Accountancy department of COBA. Expected graduation year is spring 2021!

A piece of advice is to attend school events and network whenever possible. You never know when you might need a friend or a contact, and there is no better place to meet people than through classes and school events."- Hugo Reynoso


KhyatiMeet Khyati Kansagra from India...

"I am Khyati Kansagra from India. I moved to the US in 2014 to pursue bachelors in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry from California State University San Marcos. I graduated from CSUSM in December 2018 and since then was working full time on STEM OPT at a pharmaceutical company in La Jolla.

Both my experience at CSUSM and working full time on OPT has been truly rewarding. I personally miss warm CSUSM international advisors and mentors who genuinely cared for my success and helped me throughout my time at CSUSM and even after I graduated. To all my international friends, please reach out to these amazing international advisors at Global Connections Office for any advice or help - you will see how amazing and knowledgeable they are.

On the other hand, my first industrial job at Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceuticals has been a steppingstone in my career which paved my path to graduate school. I am excited to start Masters in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University in January 2021.

If there is one advice I could give to any international student is that please make use of your OPT. I cannot emphasize enough how even a little experience in your field takes you a long way. I personally used two years of OPT before I decided to start grad school. Not only will I start grad school in January, but I will also start my part time on campus job as a Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins. Because I had two years of undergrad research experience and two years of industrial research experience, I was able to find an on campus job of my interest even before my grad school starts.

Furthermore, I will also be serving as one of the ambassadors of International Students at Hopkins program (ISAH). Similar to Global Connections at CSUSM, this intends to help international students in providing with orientation details, housing, career building information, and other similar resources. I was recruited as one of the ISAH ambassadors at JHU because I had relevant experience from being an active member of Global Connections at CSUSM.

 Again, I cannot emphasize more on how the experience you gain will take you a long way and it never goes to waste. So if you are thinking to join an organization at CSUSM right now, I would say do it!! But, do not forget to have fun once in a while just like I am doing right now before I start grad school in January ;).

 Lastly, I wish you all continued success with everything you are doing right now and plan on achieving in the future. Let’s go COUGARS!!"- Khyati Kansagra


Abdulrahman Alolowi

Meet Abdulrahman Alolowi from Saudi Arabia...

Abdulrahman graduated in December 2019 with a degree in Political Science before starting his 12 months of post-completion OPT. Abdulrahman is currently looking into Grad Schools on the East Coast.

"As a Saudi Arabian and political coordinator, it was my pleasure and honor to be a part of 2018 & 2020 elections. I am sincerely grateful to San Diego County Democratic Party for giving me the opportunity to be involved in such a remarkable and historical experience.

I was involved in the dynamics of politics, and I learned how the fundamentals of democracy work. I saw firsthand the power of the people to create change and choose the government they want. It was an eye-opener for me and a valuable opportunity to work with a political party for the world's most powerful country."- Abdulrahman Alolowi




Meet Arisa and Yuki from Japan...


Major: Human Development

 Hobbies: watching dramas and movies, taking a walk, going on a picnic with my family

 After graduation, I started working as an English teacher at the cram school and my students were from kindergarten to high school. At CSUSM, I studied child development (focusing on 0-18 years old), and I also experienced an internship at the preschool. So what I studied at CSUSM was useful for how to interact with my students understanding their thoughts and feelings and I could build good relationships with them. After I got married and gave birth, I haven’t worked to focus on parenting. This June, I am going to have a baby boy!

 I really miss the beautiful school environment with nice people and weather there. I was glad to go to CSUSM. Professors and students there had been always good to international students and I could make great friends from all over the world. CSUSM is definitely a great university to have wonderful experiences.


Major: Economics

 Hobbies: traveling both domestic & overseas, watching a baseball game, watching movies, drinking, going out with my family

 I have started working as an online travel consultant at one of the biggest IT companies in Japan.

 I miss people & perfect weather (of California)!

Fun fact: 

"Arisa and I got married in 2017 and we have 2 children. (one is coming this June tho. Arisa is pregnant now.) Our relationship starts from California and we love CSUSM so much because people are so nice to us. Someday we will bring our children to California and definitely stop by CSUSM and show our great University where we graduated".- Yuki & Arisa


Global Connections Student Organization 

Global Connections is a student organization that offers opportunities for International Students and U.S. Students to learn different cultures through interactions with each other. GC supports international students as they come to the university. GC also helps to support the globalization efforts of CSUSM. For more information on how to join, please email Jordan Silva, President ( and/or Danielle McMartin, Advisor (

jordan- spotlightMeet Jordan from Mozambique...

 "My name is Jordan Silva and I am from Mozambique! My major is Business.

 I enjoy watching football (or soccer in the US!) and my favourite team is Manchester United. I have done a lot of reading during the lockdown and I am an avid watcher of documentaries. Being able to spend time with my family is also a big plus especially hanging out with my brother!

 After I graduate, I would like to travel. There are still many places around the world that I yearn to go to including Asia and South America. However, whilst I am at CSUSM, I want to travel domestically and explore more of California and the United States.

 I miss social interactions greatly! Going to meetings and classes and being able to talk to people in person is something that I seriously miss, especially hanging out with friends.

 I think that one of the most beneficial things we could do right now is to make the most out of this time. It is easy to write off 2020 as a wasted year, but in fact 2020 could be the year where we grow the most. During this time, I have found it upon myself to self-reflect and grow as a person. I would like to be able to look back at 2020 with fondness and pride." - Jordan Silva

Maryann Spotlight

Meet Maryann from Iraq...

"My name is Maryann. I am from Iraq and my major is Biochemistry.

 This summer I am trying to keep myself busy by taking summer classes, and I also have tried some new activities (In this photo I am driving a boat in Coronado, San Diego).

 I really miss seeing classmates, friends, and professors and interacting with them in person at CSUSM.

 In addition, I miss eating at Panda Express with my best friend and attending the International Coffee Hour. Looking forward to seeing everyone in the near future at our university."-Maryann Aldawaf


Fanny Spotlight

 Meet Fanny from Sweden...

"My name is Fanny Liljekvist and I’m an international student from Sweden who’s currently majoring in psychology here at CSUSM.

Some things that I have been doing during these crazy times to keep myself entertained has been everything from taking long walks while listening to all sorts of podcasts, to experimenting in the kitchen - which surprisingly has become my new hobby.

 As much as I’ve enjoyed spending this much time with my family back home in Sweden, I’ve also had a lot of time to reflect on how much I appreciate my wonderful friends and our beautiful campus on the other side of the world.

However, I try to stay optimistic about the future and I hope to come back to California as soon as it’s safe. Take care and stay healthy everyone."-Fanny Liljekvist

Mankiran Kaur

Meet  Mankiran from India...

"I am Mankiran Kaur from India here at CSUSM. My major is Pre- Business.

Things I am doing this summer and quarantine is: I am visiting my family back home and I am enjoying spending time with them.

 I love to play badminton and going for walks around beaches. I also love to take pictures especially sunset photos.

 Things I miss are walking alongside beach and  drinking boba. 

  Hoping to meet you all soon on campus."- Mankiran KaChihiro




 Meet Chihiro from Japan...

"My name is Chihiro and I am from Kanagawa, Japan. I’m a computer science major.

 This summer, I’ve been binge watching my favorite shows during the quarantine and going on adventurous motorcycle rides to get away from the city with my fiancé.

 What I miss most from CSUSM would have to be socializing with others. 

 My words of encouragement would be too: Stay safe, wear a mask, and be kind to others."- Chihiro Nishijima



Meet Marcella from Brazil...

"My name is Marcella Pimentel and I am from Brazil. I am starting my senior year this fall. I am majoring in Business Finance because I have a passion for numbers.

Growing up, I was a part of the Brazilian National team of synchronized swimming. However, in my free time I love to go swimming and spend time with family and friends. I have been living in San Marcos for 5 years and have enjoyed the international experience. It has taught me how to balance education and family time. I am still very close with my Brazilian family. They mean the most to me.

This summer I kept myself very busy by learning French. I spent a lot of time going to the beach and relaxing. However, I missed hanging out with my friends and having social interactions with people. I look forward to being able to hang out with my friends in person and hopefully have in person classes at CSUSM Spring 2021.

After I graduate, I want to work for a multinational company because I want to have the opportunity to keep learning about different cultures, travel, and meet people all over the world. This career aligns with my values and will provide me a great opportunity to do so." -Marcella Pimentel


Meet Ryan from Temecula, CA...

"My name is Ryan and my major is Anthropology-Archaeology.

 I’m from Temecula CA and I’ve just been trying to find some work over the summer."- Ryan Eble


Attention Current International Students and Alumni:

If you want to be part of the Global Education Student Spotlight, please follow the instructions:

  1. Send us a fun picture of you with the the following:
    • Your name, where you are from and your major
    • What are your favorite things to do during your free time
    • What you plan to do after graduation
    • What you miss from CSUSM and any other words of encoragement
  2. Please email this information to Ayari Valenzuela Macias (