Tag Archives: Study Abroad

Taz: Making Big Waves in SD and Brazil

Name: Jose Tomaz de Alencar

Country: Brazil

Major: Communications with a minor in International Business

Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, English, French


996885_318972594905494_1632919081_n (1)“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.

12050_10151473194731636_226494511_nWhen 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.
1013108_10151477115471636_1353255079_n (1)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

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(Photos by Jose Tomaz De Alencar)

From Morocco to San Diego: A Semester on Exchange

Name: Kenza Lyagoubi

Major: Business student double majoring in Finance and Marketing

Country: Morocco

Languages: Arabic, French and English.


“When I first enrolled in my university back home, I was not sure about whether or not to go on an exchange program. Being part of the national swimming team when I was a teenager gave me the opportunity to travel a lot around the world and discover new countries and cultures. I have always been curious about the different traditions, religions and way of living of other people. I have never been to United States before and that was the main reason why I choose this country.

Going on an exchange program at USD was the best decision I have ever made. I had the opportunity to meet people of different nationalities, backgrounds and cultures, thus I learned a lot of their traditions, beliefs and practices. In addition to that I had the chance to discover an incredible country where people make it easy for you to integrate. During my stay, I didn’t feel like I was in a foreign country at all.  California is known to be a melting pot of students from all around the world, but now I strongly believe that this diversity is their most valuable asset as this sharing of knowledge and information contributes greatly to the mightiness of United States. San Diego is a wonderful destination not only for its warm weather all year long but also for the way the citizens conceive life. It is a city where people live in the moment, where life is not moving fast and where you can easily adapt.

Compared with some other international students, I had no problem with USD’s system of teaching and grading since my university uses the same approach. What was really interesting was the diversity of classes offered, the quality of teaching and the competency of the professors. I had the chance to work and interact with some national companies in my marketing classes by presenting to them a lot of our ideas and this was something I have never done before. It was really interesting and exciting and I feel really lucky I had the opportunity to take these classes

All in all, I can assure without the shadow of a doubt that these past three months were the most wonderful and fruitful period of my academic life. I enjoyed every single minute of it, and I wish it never ended.”

-Kenza Lyagoubi