Name: Jose Tomaz de Alencar
Major: Communications with a minor in International Business
Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, English, French
“My name is Jose Tomaz de Alencar and I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Coming from a family of five brothers, all of which have double-names (“nomes compostos”), each one of us has a nickname, mine being Taz. I picked up English at a very early age through private tutoring. Likewise, by traveling to Spanish-speaking countries and befriending Spanish-speaking people I learned a mixture of Portuguese and “Español”; I call it Portuñol. I was also fortunate enough to spend my high school years at the American School of Paris, where I picked up a little bit of French. When I came to college I was uncertain of what I wanted for my future. After many conversations with my family and peers I decided to pursue a path of entrepreneurship. My major at the University of San Diego is Communication Studies, with a minor in International Business.
When applying for colleges I knew I wanted to study in California. My brother was studying in UC Santa Barbara at the time, and after a couple of visits I knew this was the place for me. I wanted the sunny weather and firing waves that I had experienced while visiting California. When I arrived, I was not surprised to see that was exactly what San Diego had in store for me. At first, I was solely focused on experiencing the luxurious lifestyle of a Californian. However, as I matured and grew intellectually, I noticed that all of the tools I need to succeed in this life are in the same environment in which I sunbathe and surf. Here, I am surrounded by innovative minds that constantly challenge one another–I have multiple entrepreneurial friends who have their own start-ups and have begun to see profit. Everyday I am enlightened by brilliant professors who challenge me in ways that I have never been pushed before. For the first time in my life, I have started to see what my future might look like. I was no longer worrying about the next party or the next wave, but rather my next steps toward pursuing a successful career.
I decided to take a semester abroad my Sophomore year to return to Brazil and be with my family. I went to the International Office to explore my options and was presented an opportunity to study abroad back home. This gave me the chance to attain credits while being with my family through some tough times. The staff helped make the transition smooth and stress-free. Coincidentally, USD’s corresponding PUCE University in Brazil happened to be the same university at which many of my friends were studying. I would be walking around campus and run into some surprised friends, often exclaiming, “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be back in California?” It was intriguing to experience how different university classes were and a student life lacking an actual “community campus.” Overall, I loved experiencing the university in Brazil. More importantly, I loved being there for my family when they needed me most. I sincerely thank USD for the opportunity to studying ‘abroad’ when I needed to, as well as the opportunity to studying abroad here and experience the amazing Californian life.”
-Jose Tomaz De Alencar
(Photos by Jose Tomaz De Alencar)