Meet the CIE Ambassadors!

What is a Student Ambassador?  This group of individuals have each studied away or are currently on exchange at Sonoma State University. They are dedicated to answering questions, sharing experiences, and helping students make the most out of their college experience.  Come visit us at The Center for International Education -Room 107- International Hall for more information on Studying Away.

This semester we are welcoming many new ambassadors to our team!

Amira – Lead Ambassador – Spain

imageAmira was born and raised in Fresno, California and is now a Senior here at Sonoma State. She is Mexican and Costa Rican and speaks both Spanish and English. She is a Spanish major, which helped influence her decision to study in Spain. Amira studied in Granada, Spain for the 2015-16 academic year, and loved every second of it! In her time abroad, she was able to finish the entire Spanish major and will be receiving a Bachelor’s degree in 3 and a half years. From improving her Spanish to encountering and learning about new languages and cultures, studying abroad was the experience of a lifetime for her and one she will never forget. It gave her the opportunity to broaden her horizons and have a completely new outlook on the world. Living in a foreign country was a big step for her, but ultimately is one that paid off. She is eager to travel and learn more about the world and help others do the same. After she graduates she will begin teaching, and hopefully it’s abroad!

Countries visited: Morocco, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Croatia, Italy

Simone Landis – Marketing & Outreach Chair – Spain

Simone is originally from San Francisco, California but considers herself to be a woman of the world. For the past two years her parents have lived in Tianjin, simoneambassadorpicChina and just recently they moved their life to Kuwait in the Middle East. Simone has family all over the world and for this reason she has grown up with the incredible opportunity to travel to many remote locations beginning when she was only months old. She is currently a Senior Communications student at Sonoma State University also pursuing a Spanish minor. She studied abroad this last year in Jaén, Spain and traveled all over Europe and to Asia as well. Her favorite part about studying abroad was the the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world. Her opportunity to immerse herself into a new culture and learn from people from many different backgrounds has given her a new perspective on life and the world as a whole. She plans to do her Masters abroad and then pursue a career in Public Relations. If she could, she would spend all her time traveling the world and eating different cuisines. Simone hopes to spread her passion for traveling to as many people as possible through the Student Ambassador program.

Countries Visited: Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Macau, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Morocco, Costa Rica, Panama, India, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Aruba, +

Diana D’Alessandro – Community Engagement Chair – France


Diana D’Alessandro is currently a senior at Sonoma state university. She is studying communication studies in hopes to enter the marketing/ PR world and recently picked up a French minor while studying abroad in Paris. She has a knack for languages and enjoys learning about different cultures and music. While in Paris, she was able to attend a French University and live in the center of the city. Living there made her realize how much of a city girl she truly is and motivated her to want to move back after graduating. She aspires to travel the world one day and meet inspiring individuals along the way. The city became her favorite place in the whole world and through the ambassador program she wants to ensure that other students are prepared and love their experience just as much!

Countries Visited: Venezuela, Canada, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Scotland, England, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Morocco, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, Mexico, Costa Rica, Germany, Austria, and Haiti.

Bonnie Betts – Student Ambassador – Minnesota

Bonnie is an NSE alumni from Minnesota who recently transferred to Sonoma State University after her year of NSE at SSU. She is an Environmental Studies & City bonniePlanning major, that would like to specialize in sustainable development and waste management. After college she plans on applying her major to work for a government, consulting firm, or an environmental non profit. During her time at Sonoma State for NSE she got to explore many aspects of California such as the desert climate of Southern California, and the lively streets of San Francisco during the Chinese New Year Parade. She got to hike and be outside year round which is a luxury compared to life in her native Minnesota.She hopes to one day travel to the Middle East and Italy.

Countries Visited: Mexico, Austria, Germany, and the Islands of the beautiful Bahamas.

Lauren Stafford – Student Ambassador – U.K.

Lauren Stafford is a fifth year biology student at Sonoma State. Living and growing up in five different states gave Lauren the desire to travel and see the world. Last year she studied laurenambassadorpicin the outer borough of London at Kingston University. Living in England, she fell in love with the people, culture, and the cold pints of beer. As she travels, Lauren has an obsession of collecting postcards and buying country specific Starbucks mugs. Her favorite country (outside of England) is Italy where she has traveled to seventeen cities there while abroad. She believes the food and scenery is beyond perfection. Lauren aspires to one day live in Europe and hopes to go across the pond in the near future.

Countries Visited: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Monaco, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

Connor Black -Student Ambassador – France

Connor is senior at Sonoma State and is double majoring in Communications and French with a minor in Global Studies. He spent his Junior year studying in Paris, 13775769_1232593390093351_3639299508646451243_nFrance at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense where he studied French literature and media law. He knows where all the best clubs are in Paris and is an expert at riding the subway for free. Connor’s hobbies include yoga, learning new languages, exploring nature and independent dance music. After graduation he plans on spending a year teaching English on Martinique in the French Caribbean before returning to California for graduate school.

Countries Visited: France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Antigua, Barbados

Tyler Koehler – Student Ambassador – Iowa

unnamedOriginally from Dubuque, Iowa, Tyler studies Human Resources with a minor in Psychology at The University of Northern Iowa. He currently is participating in National Student Exchange at Sonoma State University, and with this being his first time in California he hopes to make life long friendships while having an unforgettable experience. Thus far, Tyler has become a student assistant and ambassador at the Center for International Education. One day he hopes to study abroad in Europe and South Korea.

Chika Koiwa – Student Ambassador – Japan

Chika is an international student, originally from Japan. She is a junior here at SSU and studying English but she also minored in Communications in Japan. Now she’sfullsizerender currently studying Music and Art as she wanted to do something that she could not do in Japan and become immersed in what she was interested in. Being in California, Chika really enjoys American life such as eating American food and Ghirardelli chocolate, and going to new places to look for a nice café. She also likes to sing along playing the guitar in her free time. The CIE ambassador program is very appealing to her because she can connect with international students from all around the world and interact with diverse cultures. Chika’s also happy to talk about Japan if you’re into Japanese culture and aspire to go there. Feel free to talk to her!

Countries Visited: America, Germany, Australia and Hong Kong.

Cody Kojima – Student Ambassador – Hawaii

img_3567Cody is a sophomore NSE student studying at Sonoma State University from Hawaii.  Being born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii and being surrounded by nothing but water his whole life, he decided to move out to Rohnert Park to be near San Francisco and get out of his comfort zone. He is currently studying Physics and is working on his Philosophy minor. He loves the ocean, being in warm weather and eating Jack in the Box.  Some of his hobbies include playing basketball, fishing, body boarding, golfing, star gazing, and hiking to waterfalls. He hopes to help and encourage anyone who is interested in participating in any of the exchange programs.

Sara Brown – Student Ambassador – Iowa

Sara is on the far left of the photo with her friends Arthur from France and Rachel from China. This is where they were exploring the area near Mt. Fuji in Japan.

Sara was born in Bakersfield, California and later moved to Des Moines, Iowa for schooling and eventually to attend Iowa State University. Her majors are Apparel Merchandising along with Art and Design. While she was growing up she was enthralled by travel TV shows like Anthony Bourdain’s: No Reservations along with the long road trips up and down the California coast to Oregon, she was soon determined to travel and see new things. She would express her desire to travel the world but others would express what a horrible dangerous idea that was and that she couldn’t do it. So after just turning 20 she bought her first international plane ticket to Thailand and stayed a whole month with her twin sister, Emily. Sara is now attending Sonoma State University while on a National Student Exchange for the semester from her home University. She is really glad to be a part of the CIE Ambassador program and to attend SSU. After Sonoma she plans on attending graduate school abroad in either Scotland or London with a focus on International Fashion Marketing or something similar in a creative industry.  While there she plans on visiting Iceland as quickly as possible!

Studied Abroad:  Florence, Italy (1 semester) / Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong (1 semester) / Tokyo, Japan (1 year)

Countries Traveled:  11 total.  Thailand, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Denmark, Germany

Beverley Saechin – Student Ambassador – Denmark

12400540_1077669015598046_2618189870391370335_nBeverley spent the 2015-16 Academic Year studying abroad in Denmark in the Child Development and Diversity program at DIS. She is also a SSU tour guide and works in JUMP!

Jason Brigel – Student Ambassador – South Africa

Jason is a new Student Ambassador, but has been a student at Sonoma State since 2013. He is a 4th year Sonoma State Psychology student who spent 2016 studying and traveling abroad in South Africa, where he traveled through six different countries and volunteered for 3 different programs. While traveling, Jason was screenshot_2017-01-30-10-33-28-1fortunate enough to skydive, pet cheetahs, feed and walk elephants, bungee jump off a bridge, scuba dive with great white sharks, and visit 2 of the 8 wonders of the world. Aside from the traveling, Jason’s favorite aspect about studying abroad was developing friendships with people from all over the globe. Because of these new friendships, Jason plans on backpacking through Europe this upcoming summer and staying at his international friends houses. He considers his year abroad as his favorite year of university by a large margin. He now interns at the Center for International Education, in hopes of inspiring more Sonoma State students to spend time abroad.


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