Tag Archives: Academic Success

Alfredo: Tips on Paving a Pathway to Success

Name: Alfredo Baudet

Country: Venezuela

Major: Finance and minors in Economics and Management

Languages: Spanish, English, and French

Incoming FSR Associate at PwC


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Job Hunting Tips for International Students

I must admit that when I started as a student at USD I had no idea what I was going to study or what I wanted to do after finishing school. While studying at USD I gained an appreciation for all the opportunities the U.S. has to offer, especially when compared to Venezuela, where the economic situation is rapidly deteriorating. With senior year approaching, I decided I wanted to stay in the U.S. The next step was to find a job.

Choosing your career

Finding a job can be a daunting task. Some common questions are: “What do I want to do after graduation?”; “How do I know I will love what I will be doing?”; “What are my options and which is the best one?”

The first step in choosing a career path is to do research by asking others to help you and by discovering what you are passionate about.

Find out what people in your field of choice majored in. For some fields, your undergraduate major is critical while for others, a variety of majors may be suitable. Reach out to people that you, your family, or friends, know that work in your desired field. See if they are available to meet or if they are willing to offer advice over the phone, Skype, email, etc. Professors are good resources as well so don’t hesitate to ask them whether they know people who work in the industry you are interested in, or if they have any recommendations for your career search.

Asking others for advice should be complemented by your own search to discover your interests. During the semester get actively involved in clubs that are outside your comfort zone and test your boundaries. I also recommend students do something productive during the summer sessions such as taking classes, interning/working, or volunteering – trying different things will help you determine what you like as well as what you don’t like.

These are all very valuable recommendations that students hear throughout their years in college. I can attest to how useful these recommendations are because following them helped me find the job I wanted in the U.S. Each student’s experiences are unique. Bearing that in mind I will outline my college experience with the addition of a few helpful tips for future job seekers, specifically international students.

Getting involved

IMG_1609From experience, I suggest international students who are trying to find what they’re passionate about and what sort of career to pursue to follow this strategy: be active in extracurricular activities, excel academically, and have fun doing so.

I tested my boundaries when I first went rock climbing my freshman year. One of my floormates invited me to go, and despite being a little nervous at first, I ended up loving it. The Climbing Club showed me how much fun student organizations could be, and I ended up joining a wide variety of other clubs, such as the International Student Organization, Entrepreneurship Club, and Student Finance Association. Through these clubs and organizations, I got exposed to a lot of different activities and also got to meet a wide range of people. Both, the exposure I gained and the people I met, were immensely valuable as they helped me learn more about myself and to determine what kinds of things I likedmaybe you like outdoor activities, organizing events, or perhaps even telling others what to do (otherwise known as delegating).

Involvement in these organizations can make for very busy semesters, but it is important that your academic performance remain strong. Becoming aware of your interests while excelling academically will help you become an attractive candidate for any company.

What employers look for

Having an active presence in extracurricular activities and an excellent academic record is important because when a recruiter looks at a student’s resume they know that students don’t have the skills necessary to perform the job. Instead, recruiters look for indications as to how well they could learn them.

Being involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and volunteering indicates ability to multi-task. Taking this a little further, being someone with greater responsibility in these activities also help demonstrate leadership and collaboration. A strong academic performance, as gauged by the GPA, is a good indicator of being able to learn and synthesize new information.

In the end, the recruiter also wants to see if they could work with the interviewee. Putting all of this into a resume makes you more likely to stand out when applying to jobs.

The sponsorship process

As the resume is being built, be aware of the numerous challenges ahead. The main challenge for international students is to find a job that is willing to sponsor them, which comes in addition to the challenges faced by local students when finding jobs. The challenges that you face when searching for jobs in the U.S. can all be overcome by knowing as much as you can about the application process and by knowing how to make the best use of your resources. But before getting into these let’s look at some basic Optional Practical Training (OPT) information.

The best way to make this search easier is to become as much an expert in the field as possible. Talk to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at USD, reach out to people who are currently or were sponsored before, and do some online research as well. This will help you get a better sense of the application process and how it is different for international students. The OPT will allow you to work in the U.S. after graduating.


Staying in the U.S. is a process divided into two stages: (1) obtaining the Optional Practical Training (OPT) and (2) working with your future employer on the sponsorship process.

The OPT allows students under an F1 visa to stay and work in the US for a limited period of time.  If you don’t know what it is yet and are planning to stay in the US after college, please learn as much about it as you can. USD’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is a very good source of information for those considering finding a job in the US. I suggest familiarizing yourself with the process as much as you can and then go to the “Working Visas Workshops” held twice a semester by the OISS. After attending initial sessions you can schedule a personal meeting with one of the advisors to plan out your process. Submit all the paperwork and remember to follow any requirements during your OPT time. After the OPT application process ends, students will then be able to apply for a working visa. Overall, this process can be complicated so I suggest attending the information sessions held by the OISS and start learning about it early to ensure success in finding an organization that will sponsor for the job you want.

Searching for jobs

When looking for jobs use your resources because applying to online openings without knowing the recruiter or having an established link is like shooting an arrow in the dark. For this reason, before sending out applications I recommend using your networks – talking to career services, professors, friends, and family – to see if they know somebody working at the place you’re applying to or if they know someone in the industry.

Another helpful asset in my job search was USD’s Career Services because they have a better-established network in the U.S. than I do. By using ToreroLink, the careers portal, I knew that the companies hiring were looking for USD students, which was reassuring. I used Career Services postings, online job openings, and my network to find a job that I wanted.

When faced with the issue of finding a job, being selective is just as important, and by this I mean: narrow down your search scope to particular cities where you would like to live. As a Finance major, I knew that I was not in the best city to find a job, compared to students in NYC. But in my research about the sponsorship process, I discovered that while San Diego is not among best cities for finance work, Los Angeles and San Francisco are a lot better. This helped me narrow the scope of my job search to companies in cities that wanted to live in.

Lastly, when interviewing, being transparent and selective will be crucial factors of your job search. When interviewing, don’t conceal your nationality because you fear a job rejection. Instead, be clear about your nationality and intentions. Your potential future employer will appreciate this and will streamline your interviewing process.

Life After USD

After four wonderful years filled with great memories with friends I will be graduating this coming May. There may have been stressful moments, at times, but hard work pays off – especially when you have established your goals early on. After doing everything that I have just described, after graduation, I will start working at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Los Angeles. Listening to others’ advice and forging your own path helped me get there, and I hope sharing my experience helps you too.”

-Alfredo Baudet



International Student Scholarship Recipients Honored at Annual Luncheon

From Inside USD – Patricia Marquez, dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (KSPS), spent much of her time at the UC Forums’ podium Tuesday emphasizing one of the University of San Diego’s key strategic goals and, in particular, her school’s vision for it.

“It is to expand our global presence. We understand that talent is everywhere. We want to bring it here, we want to nurture it and we want to develop it,” she said. “For students from developing and conflict-affected countries, coming to the U.S. and to study in the Kroc School’s Peace and Justice program would be impossible without scholarships, without your support.”

The 28th annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon provided all donors the opportunity to meet the student(s) they’ve supported, give a student the chance to say “thank you” in person, share a meal together and connect.

But the sincerity of Marquez’s words and impact of USD donors’ generosity — be it alumni, foundations, parents, USD employees, education supporters and proponents of peace — was echoed by Maha Paulus, a KSPS benefactor via the Paulus Peace Scholarship. It was presented in a moving video tribute to the work of 2008 Master of Arts Peace and Justice Studies (MAPJ) alumna Shobha Pradham Shrestha. And, finally, current MAPJ students Naumana Suleman of Pakistan and Mathieu Bere of Burkina Faso reiterated it.

“Because we come from the Middle East, a region where peace has not prevailed for a very long time, we wanted to provide students like (current Paulus Peace Scholarship recipient and MAPJ student) Jasmine Afshar the opportunity to become ambassadors of peace and contribute to a legacy of future generations to come,” said Paulus, who along with her husband Al, immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq in the early 1970s. Their two daughters are USD alumnae. Maha volunteered with and has learned a lot about the Kroc School’s mission, vision and important work internationally. Al Paulus has also served on the school’s board of advisors.

Said Marquez: “The Paulus family was among the first donors to the School of Peace Studies. They had faith in our promise and that a new generation of peacebuilders, focused on thinking differently, with courage, could change the face of the planet.”

Both Suleman and Bere expressed thanks to the opportunities given to them to make their USD education experience possible.

“It’s been an incomparable experience for me being here,” said Suleman, whose skill set through the MAPJ program will be used for good despite being from a country that is constantly dealing with terrorists, faith-based violence and discriminatory laws and policies toward religious minorities. Suleman received the Gandhi Fellowship, a Joan B. Kroc Scholarship in Peace and Justice Studies and a Global Grant Scholarship from the Rotary Clubs of San Diego and Imperial Counties, District 5340.

Bere, whose native country experienced a military coup last year, is focused on adding to his skill set in conflict resolution, governance, sustainable development and peace. A Fulbright Fellowship and Dean’s Graduate Merit Scholarship recipient, Bere said what he learns at USD will make an impact upon his return.

“There is an urgent need for people with specialized training in conflict resolution,” he said.

The work done by all students in the peace studies program — whether a MAPJ student or an undergraduate student in the peace and justice minor — as well as students in other USD schools provides a glimpse of what a USD education delivers and, with the support of generous donors, helps to reinforce a commitment to the mission of its founders.

“All of the ingredients, the mix, that’s really focused on our mission as a university are right here in this room,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons, PhD. “There are, as you know, so many talented and deserving men and women around the world who benefit from this university’s mission and education. The only limitations are resources. … The work we’re doing on behalf of the greater good has tremendous impact around the world. You are all a part of that mission. All of us share in that.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

Learn about supporting USD scholarships and other USD giving opportunities

Photo descriptions (clockwise from top): Naumana Suleman speaks to the audience; Mathieu Bere; and Vice President and Provost Andy Allen chats with current USD students, each of whom received scholarship assistance through generous donor support.

Marta: Juggling Sports, School, and Friends the Right Way

Name: Marta Stojanovic

Country: Serbia

Major(s): Behavioral Neuroscience

Language(s): Serbian, English, German, Italian, and a little Spanish



Marta is photographed here (third from the left) with her teammates 

“Hi everyone! My name is Marta and I am from Serbia. I am a junior and I am majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. I speak five languages which are Serbian, English, German, Italian and a little of Spanish. I am also a student-athlete and I received an athletic scholarship to play tennis for the University of San Diego. Serbia (well, Europe in general) does not have a system in which athletes can both play their sport and study at a university. You have to pick between the two. That is why I decided to come to a university in the United States where I am able to play tennis competitively and study in a great academic institution. I decided to come to University of San Diego because of the great tennis program, strong academics, and a beautiful weather. Not only I enjoy playing tennis and studying at USD, I get to send pictures of me tanning at the pool in February to my jealous friends that are freezing back home. I think I made a pretty good choice!

Being a student-athlete and an international student at USD definitely creates a unique experience. I had to face all the challenges of coming into a different culture and learning a new system, but also the challenges of being a student-athlete and managing sports and school.Even though it was and still difficult at times, I have learned so much and would not change this experience for anything. I have learned to manage my time and be more efficient. I have learned to utilize the resources that are plentiful here at USD. People here were very helpful, from the professors, athletic department to the members of the International Student Organization (ISO). 15082652488_2d7bc55ff7_z

The International Harbor Cruise 2014

Many international students are not used to asking for help but I think the available resources are one of the greatest advantages of USD. What I value the most from this experience are all the great people I have met. I have never thought that I will be in contact and become friends with so many people from different countries and cultures. At the beginning it took some time to adjust to the diversity of USD but I believe that has made me more aware of the differences and similarities between people. I was lucky to be on the tennis team which consists of mostly international student-athletes. We all go through a similar experience which connects us and enables us to help each other. They are like my family away from home. We plan trips over the summers, in the US and all over the world, and I believe that even in 10 years we will have reunions somewhere in the world and visit each other. I was fortunate enough to be part of athletic community and international community here at USD which made this experience unforgettable.

Living in the United States is very different from home. Not only the culture and people are different, but the system as well. Everyone here is very friendly. Not saying that people in Serbia are not friendly but just different kind of friendly. There were a lot of things that I needed to learn from scratch: from writing essays in English, to getting used to large portions of food (except in the SLP during dinner). It also took me a while to realize that I am supposed to hold the door for the person behind me even though they might not be that close. It took a lot of adjustment but I think this experience as an international student prepared me for many things in the future and I feel I could be thrown anywhere in the world and I would be able to survive. However, I believe that I am not the only one when I say that I miss a lot of things from home too: the food, the people, my favorite coffee place, my own room, but most of all my family and friends. It is harder for international students to travel back home as often because it is usually far away and more expensive. I get to see my family only once a year. It was the hardest at the beginning but as time passed it got easier, even the goodbyes at the airport. It probably makes it easier that I am usually very busy over the day and I do not have a lot of time to think about home. I spend my day going from classes to practice back to classes again. And then the rest of the day I usually try to catch up on homework and readings. I know, it is not that exciting. Over the weekends I try to do something fun for myself like going to the beach, watching a movie or hanging out with my friends.

My plan for the future is to go to graduate school for neuropsychology. I will probably apply to schools in the US and in Europe. I know where I want to end up but the path that will take me there is uncertain. I am excited to see what lies for me in the future.”

-Marta  Stojanovic


USD Earns Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization


From Inside USD – The University of San Diego’s dedication to internationalization — as a successful initiative for students’ experiential learning, as a formidable enhancement for liberal arts education and an opportunity for students around the world to come and study in San Diego and flourish — has earned mainstream recognition.

The National Association for Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA): Association of International Educators announced on Feb. 24 that USD is one of five recipients of the Sen. Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

“It’s a thrill to have USD selected for our achievements, across the university, toward comprehensive internationalization,” said Denise Dimon, USD’s associate provost for international affairs. “The Simon Award is considered the gold standard of internationalization and the universities selected by NAFSA, this year and in previous years, have initiated very creative, meaningful and sustained activities toward this goal. It is very exciting and an honor to have USD included with these other institutions.”

Mount Holyoke College, North Central College, University of Delaware and the University of Virginia join USD as award winners in this specific category.

“USD is very proud of the enormous progress we have made to create and expand innovative programs that provide members of our campus community with enriching global experiences in nearly 50 countries across the globe,” USD President Mary E. Lyons, PhD, said. “We are committed to the goal of graduating men and women who are truly global citizens with the competencies to navigate our world well.”

Comprehensive internationalization consists of such areas as student mobility, faculty expertise, curriculum development, co-curricular activities, international partnerships and collaborations, leadership at the highest levels and governance structures to support all of these efforts.

“Achievement in these varied activities clearly involves the entire campus community and moves us toward our ultimate goal of providing education to develop effective, thoughtful and caring globally citizens,” Dimon said.

Named for the late Illinois Senator Paul Simon, NAFSA’s Simon Awards recognize outstanding and innovative achievements in campus internationalization. From the innovative use of technology to expanded English language and support systems, the 2015 Simon Award winners reflect a broad diversity of approaches to campus internationalization, both in terms of models and implementation.

“We are proud to present NAFSA’s 2015 Simon Awards to these colleges and universities that have excelled in expanding global learning for students and scholars,” said NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson. “This year’s Simon Award winners are outstanding models for how higher education across the country can and must innovate to prepare our graduates for success in today’s increasingly complex and interdependent world.”

This is the second time USD has received a Simon Award. In 2011, USD earned the Paul Simon Spotlight Award, given for a specific international program or initiative contributing to comprehensive internationalization. That honor recognized the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s Women PeaceMakers Program, an annual fall endeavor that brings four courageous and impressive international women leaders to campus for eight weeks to share their stories with peace writers and the public, meet women from other countries doing incredible work, and to be recognized for their tremendous efforts.

Institutions selected for the Simon Awards will be featured in NAFSA’s report, Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities, to be published this fall, and honored at an event in Washington, D.C. during International Education Week in November.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Kelly Wu: OISS Student and Staff Highlight

Name: I-Shen (Kelly) Wu

Country: Taiwan

Major(s): International Business and Accountancy

Language(s): Taiwanese, Mandarin-Chinese, English

“Perfect weather, city with a rich and diverse culture, strong business program, and the Coronado Bridge. These are the things that initially attracted me to the University of San Diego before I decided to become a student here at USD.

As a high school graduate from an American high school in Sacramento, fortunately, the transitioning to college as a foreign student was a lot easier for me then a lot of other fellow F-1 international students. However, I wasn’t very active and engaged with the USD community during my freshman year because I was lucky enough to find a close group of good friends in the first couple weeks of school. I spent my first year focusing on my academics, while observe the culture of USD and explore the opportunities and resources that are available on campus.

15245973296_89d2d0c767_zStarting with my sophomore year, I was ready to be more engaged and to try new things. I was a member of the International Orientation Team for three semesters, which welcomes students and scholars from all over the world. From physically helping them to move into their dormitories, to sharing tips and advice of attending University of San Diego as an international student, I was able to really bond with these students and share the excitement and anticipation for their new life here in the United States. I was in the Link mentoring program as a peer mentor that advice and guide minority freshmen students. I also took part in a Business Mediation Competition in Georgia, which gave me the opportunity to train in mediation, negotiation, and conflict management and put it to practice. Last but not least, I am a student worker at the Office of International Students and Scholars, which sharpens my organization and communication skills.

The one piece of advice I would like to share with all incoming students is to take advantage of all the resources and opportunities offered here at USD, you will be surprised with how much you can learn outside of the classroom.

14069500294_938337dfec_zStarting with my favorite office on campus- the International Center. The office offers various informational workshops specially designed to help international students with post-graduation preparations, on topics such as International Résumé & Cover Letter and Working Visas & Employment. For planners like me, it is never too early to have that résumé ready in hand and understand the procedures after bachelor degree. The International Center also offers fun and cultural social events for students to enhance their experience here at USD. My favorite event has to be the annual international EXPO fashion show. This cultural fashion show features students and staffs dressed in traditional outfits and walk the runway with traditional music in the background. I was a model for Taiwanese outfits for two consecutive years representing my country. It was a lot of fun as I will never have a chance to be a model with my petit height otherwise.

Another great resource here at USD is the Career Services, I didn’t get to know about them until my junior year, and I wish I could have start utilizing their help earlier. They are very helpful with resume reviewing, career advising, and even mock interviews. For many international students, there is always the stress of the need to find a job or internship upon graduation in a limited time period in order to stay in the United Sates and continue to live the American dream. By starting early and gain some working experiences as an undergrad student can make your job search after graduation so much easier.

In terms of academics, it can be tough in the beginning for those who are not familiar with the education system in the United States. One of the areas I struggled the most in the beginning of my study were academic writing. When it comes to essay writing, there are many required formats and techniques that are different from my home country. It took me a while to be able to understand what the professors want. In the U.S., they like to see critical thinking in your paper, and clear citations to all references is important to avoid plagiarism. Luckily, there is a Writing Center on campus that assists me with grammar, and help developing and refining ideas for papers of any class/topic. I find it really helpful for all students who do not speak English as their first language, to make sure that the ideas you are trying to convey is well presented in you’re writing.

Now I’m in my second semester of my junior year, what attracts me about the University of San Diego is the engagement and enthusiasm of the professors, the resources and opportunity available to students, the diverse yet inclusive community and the encouraging atmosphere for growth and self-discovery. Finally… the beautiful campus and unbeatable weather.”

-I-Shen (Kelly) Wu


Kelly has also studied abroad in Hong Kong during Intersession 2015. More regarding her experience from the US, Hong Kong, and back can be found here.