Student Spotlight: Chika Koiwa

14938334_10154720756279853_5155495620254240198_n.jpgThis week’s student spotlight is Chika Koiwa! Chika is originally from Japan.

1.)Who is your favorite celebrity?- Vanessa Hudgens because her voice is amazing! I was inspired by her singing and I started to sing after watching High School Musical. That was my turning point.

2.)What do you like best about California?- The people! For example, at Charlie Brown’s today a girl asked me where I was from and she was so friendly. Also, when I first arrived at the airport I couldn’t get to Sonoma State and a man helped Aki and I find our way.

3.)What do you hope to accomplish this year?- I hope to be a different person and become more active in school. I am very shy and I hesitate to talk in English. I hope to be less shy. Nobody knows me here, but in Japan they do.

4.)Do you have a favorite hobby?- I like to play the guitar. I left my electric guitar in Japan, so I bought an acoustic guitar here. The guitar inspired me to go to more concerts!

5.)If you could have one wish, what would it be?- I wish I could look more like an adult. I look so young! Even in Japan people tell me to be quiet because I look so young. I wish I was taller too!

6.)Your favorite subject in school?- I’m taking three music classes and one art course. My favorite is the art course surprisingly. I’m learning how to edit photos by using Photoshop. I find it interesting to make the photos more beautiful.

7.)What’s the largest difference between Japan and here?- This might sound weird, but people often spit in front of me here. I’m afraid of stepping in it! I’m so confused and I don’t understand why they do that. In Japan we don’t do that. Also, in the kitchens people started clapping when someone dropped a dish, which would never happen in Japan. They would get in trouble there.

Student Spotlight: Mariana Russi

14572965_10154695944154853_3205257900719137059_n.jpg This weeks student spotlight is Mariana Russi! Mariana is originally from Bogotá, Colombia.

1.)  What’s your favorite part about California? – I like the vineyards around here. I’ve never seen them before. In my country we have coffee, but we do not make wine. I also feel like I am learning more here. California is very liberal and I love that. That has influenced me with the way I dress and eat. I love organic local food.

2.) Did you choose California specifically?- I have family here and when I wanted to study abroad I knew it would be cheaper to live with my family. Also the English here is better! In Australia and England the accent is difficult to understand.

3.)What do you do for fun?– I love playing with my cats! I love spending time with them, reading, and watching movies. I prefer mystery novels, historical films, documentaries too. Films having to do with social problems around the world are my favorite.

4.) What is your favorite memory here so far?- Last week, I went to San Francisco and was amazed by the museum of modern art! It was great to see original pieces of art, not the copies. They had Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Picasso originals. The Golden Gate Bridge is great too!

5.) What is the largest difference between Colombia and California?- The size of things! The food here is really big and there are more clothes options. It does not matter what size you are, there will always be clothes you can fit into. Everyone is so small in Colombia so it was hard to find clothes there. Everyone is the same size. Now, here I feel much better about my size.

6.) What is your favorite class you are taking?- I think grammar because I feel comfortable when I speak, but my grammar was not good when I came here. The class has helped me improve a lot.

7.) Where do you see yourself in five years?- I hope to be finished with my major in Colombia. Then, I hope to come back and do my MBA in California. I really want to go to UC Berkeley to study political science. I am thinking of doubling it with business.

Student Spotlight: Isabelle Breideband

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This week’s student spotlight is Isabelle Breideband! Isabelle is originally from Germany.

1.) Describe yourself in three words. – I am active, friendly, and shy. But I am trying to get rid of my shyness!

2.) What is your favorite thing about California? – I love it here at SSU. I’m so upset I will have to leave because I’m only here for a semester. The SSU campus is so beautiful and the people are so nice. I love San Francisco too!

3.) What do you do for fun? – I like to go running and hangout with my friends. When I’m running I feel free and relaxed. It helps me think about problems. I also love to do marathons as well!

4.) Do you have a favorite memory at SSU already? – Yes, my favorite memory here has been my birthday! On Thursday we went to the bars and I wasn’t expecting a surprise party on Friday. That was so nice of my roommates to organize.

5.) What’s the largest difference between Germany and California? – I don’t think the two are really that different. The weather is, but I think it’s different being away from my family and the German language. The language is a huge difference for me.

6.) Has it been easy for you to adapt? – At the beginning it was hard because I’m shy and I was afraid of speaking English. I am shyer here than I am in Germany. Now, it’s a lot easier, especially with hanging around the other international students.

7.) What is your favorite class you are taking? – My favorite class is hospitality and event management because we get a lot of guest speakers. It’s a small class, so I like that better. It’s not like a lecture, but more of a discussion. We are learning a lot about different case studies.

Student Spotlight: Valérie Bourgault

This week’s student spotlight is Valérie! Valérie is originally from Canada!

1.) What is your favorite place to be? – Oh my god! My favorite place to be I guess is my room. My room is my own space and I like to have my own personal time without being bothered by anyone. I love my bedroom, but I’m not trying to hide from anyone!

2.) What are three things you have with you at all times?- my Ipod, phone, and coffee/water. I listen to music everywhere, all the time! I also am a snapchat addict. I confess I binge snap. I’ll have a full snapstory for two weeks then go another week with nothing. And I need my phone to text!

3.) What’s the phrase you use the most? – Probably “I’m very busy!” I use it almost everyday and it’s my excuse in life. It is so true though! I am always so busy! I start my day with a few plans and end it doing a thousand things.

4.) What are some major differences between Canada and California?-The toilets! The stalls here have seat covers and a lot more privacy. In Canada we don’t have that. Also, everyone is so friendly here and easy to talk to. Some people do say that about Canada too though.

5.) What is something you are passionate about?-Like everything! I’ll think about something and spend three days overly passionate about it. Sometimes, it might be a project. One day I would want to learn the Ukelele and I’ll spend all week on it. Then I’ll start a new obsession after.

6.) What do you look forward to this year?- Meeting a lot of people! Getting out of my comfort zone and discovering American culture. American culture feels like the life I’ve always seen in the movies!

7.) Is there anything you wish you had known before coming to California?– Yes, I wish I had known how cold it would be. I was trying to escape the cold in Canada! But I like sweater weather so this is still good.

Student Spotlight: Daichi Kagawa

14568103_10154626053099853_5637208947093676015_nThis weeks student spotlight is Daichi Kagawa! He is originally from Japan and super excited to be here this year.

1.) What is your favorite thing in the world? – I love to travel. I want to go all over the world when this exchange ends. I want to discover things I don’t know.

2.) What are some differences between Japan and California?- The surroundings! In college, everyone is Japanese in Japan. There is no diversity, but here I am surrounded by Americans and many other nationalities. Germans, French, Brazilians, Koreans, and Canadians! When I first came to America, I stayed in a hostel and there were people from all over the world in the room with me. Everyone could speak English so well. So fast!

3.) How are your classes?- Good! Much easier than Japan for me. I must get good grades in Japan to succeed, but here I don’t need to worry so much. I am not so stressed. I can go out and party, volunteer, enjoy myself here.

4.) What do you look forward to most this year?- I look forward to traveling to the different parts of The United States. I want to go to New York! I want to know the differences between the East coast and the West coast.

5.) Has anything surprised you while being here? – Yes! People kiss in public here. I was at a Nike store in San Francisco and a couple in front of me started kissing. I was very surprised. No one does that in Japan. The height difference between the men and the women is huge too! Another thing is in Japan, people are quieter. At baseball games Americans cheer and are loud, while in Japan they are not.

6.) What is your guilty pleasure?- Hamburgers! I can eat a hamburger everyday. I have one all the time for lunch.

7.) What do you hope to accomplish this year?- I want to talk with native English speakers and make new friends. I want to be able to understand everyone in English. Everyone speaks so fast, so I hope to be able to understand them all by the end of the year.

Student Spotlight: Kevin Liebholz

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This weeks student spotlight is Kevin Liebholz! Kevin is originally from Germany and studying abroad at Sonoma State for the fall academic semester.

1.) What is your most prized possession? –Oh wow that’s hard! I love planning my future and coming up with a business strategy to get where I want to be. I want to be an entrepreneur.

2.) Why did you come to California?– I have always liked The United States. It is interesting to be in a different Western culture. It is much more laid back and sunny. I wanted to be somewhere sunny!

3.)What is your favorite movie and why?- Independence Day because I like science fiction and the movie gives me goose bumps. Especially during the president’s speech before the final attack.

4.) How are you liking your classes here so far?- I really like them. I’ve been learning a lot of new things. International marketing, for example is so different here vs. in Germany. I also like that classes here go more in depth and they are very helpful with career opportunities. The teachers give us websites to look up that will help us find careers.

5.)Do you have a guilty pleasure?-  Chocolate and coffee. I love chocolate, but unfortunately my coffee addiction has had to stop because it is too expensive and not convenient right now.

6.) If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?- I would go to Shanghai because my girlfriend is there right now. I want to travel around Southeast Asia.

7.) Where do you see yourself in five years?- I definitely want to have established my business I have right now. It’s a service business in the electricity market to help people save money. There are many different companies to work with and I hope to have started two or three more. I also see myself either engaged or married and living in a big city. I want to be rich! I am going to be a billionaire someday!

Student Spotlight: Justine Le Goas

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Meet Justine, Sonoma State’s first student spotlight of the 2016 fall semester! Justine is originally from France and has been very involved in the community, making the most of her year abroad.

1.) What is your favorite place in the world? – I love cities. I can’t choose between Paris or New York. They both offer so many things, except maybe a lot of nature. New York feels like Europe to me and I’m in love with The Eiffel Tower. You can never go wrong with classics!

2.) Why did you come to Sonoma State University?– I am here as the FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant). I was chosen to come to the United States with Fulbright and Sonoma was my first choice. It was a beautiful campus and I loved the time difference as well. I also love wine, so this was the perfect area for  it!

 3.)  What inspires you?– I think anything inspires me in a way. I have an amazing family that is very close to me and I know they will be with me wherever I go. I also love knowing what fuels people in life. I try to take a little bit of other peoples energy and spread it. I don’t make high expectations and prefer to enjoy life with whatever it gives me.

4.)  What are you looking forward to this year?– This whole year is like a dream to me! Already, I’ve seen so many places and met great people. I just want to soak up as many things as possible and have the perfect American experience. I want to fulfill everything to my best, especially my radio show coming up. I have been given so many opportunities here, some that I couldn’t have had in France. Everyone is so friendly and open, it is a nice change. It will be nice to be here for the presidential elections as well!

5.) Do you have a guilty pleasure? -I’m obsessed with Beyoncé! I love learning her choreography. One of my friends in France knows the entire choreography for Single Ladies and I hope to learn it too. When her new album, Lemonade came out it was so difficult to focus on school. I listened to it so many times! I felt on top of the world listening to her. The show Sex and the City is also another guilty pleasure of mine. I could watch that show over and over again!

6.) If you could do anything right now, what would you do?– I would love to do a road trip all over the United States. I want to see the entire country and really get to know it. I am trying to plan all of my travels ahead of time!

7.) What is your favorite thing about California so far? -It’s funny because I expected my favorite thing to be the weather, but clearly it is already getting cold! My favorite thing is definitely the people. They are so friendly and helpful. Someone helped me when I was at the airport and even gave me money for the bus. I have also talked to all my professors and they have been so understanding and nice. In France, professors were usually too busy to spend time helping their students. I just love how nice everyone is!

Student Spotlight: Kathryn Toyota

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Q1: What is your full name?

My full name is Kathryn Lenee Toyota.

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Q2: What is your age?

I’m twenty years old.

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Q3: What year are you in terms of your education?

I’m a sophomore in college.

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Q4: What is your hometown and/or country

I currently reside in Cranston, Rhode Island, United States of America.

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Q5: Are you an exchange, international, or SSALI student and how long have you/will you be here for?

I am a National Student Exchange student here until the end of the Spring semester.

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Q6: What is your major?

I’m a double major in Math and Finance.

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Q7: What are your goals (academically or non academically) for this Spring semester?

I hope to simply pass my classes (since my grades here won’t affect my GPA back home) and instead focus on gaining a load of cultural knowledge (which I think I have successfully done). I want to experience what life is like on the west coast.

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Q8: What is one memorable thing you have done this semester?

For spring break a few of us traveled down to southern California and visited places like the Santa Monica Pier and LA. I definitely made some great memories there.

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Q9: What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I like to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and/or hang out with new friends.

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Q10: What piece of advice would you give students wanting to study at Sonoma State as part of an exchange or international program?

I’d tell people to come into this experience with an open mind. I definitely had stereotypes in mind about what California was like and it was nothing like I expected (much more farmland than I originally thought). But it’s been an even better experience than I could have imagined it’d be.

Student Spotlight: Michelle Perez

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Q1: What is your full name?

My name is Michelle Perez.

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Q2: What is your age?

I’m 20 years old.

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Q3: What year are you in terms of your education?

I’m a Sophomore.

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Q4: What is your hometown and/or country

I’m from Miami, FL.

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Q5: Are you an exchange, international, or SSALI student and how long have you/will you be here for?

I’m a National Student Exchange Student and I have been here for a year.

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Q6: What is your major?

Business Administration with a minor in Computer Science

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Q7: What are your goals (academically or non academically) for this Spring semester?

My goal is to get to know as many hidden treasures (restaurants, beaches, etc) in the Bay Area as I can and bond more with my IEEC friends and roommates before I leave!

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Q8: What is one memorable thing you have done this semester?

I went on a road trip with my best friends to Lake Tahoe and built my first snowman! California road trips are the best!

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Q9: What do you like to do in your free time?

Talk to my family back home, listen to my Miami music, and plan out my adventures for the weekend!

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Q10: What piece of advice would you give students wanting to study at Sonoma State as part of an exchange or international program?

Take the risk and just do it! I was so scared before I came here, but I am so glad I made the decision. This experience has impacted my life so much and I do not regret a single thing!

Student Spotlight: Ema Setoh

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Q1: What is your full name? Do you have any nicknames?

My name is Ema Setoh, but everyone calls me “Ema.”

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Q2: What is your age?

I’m 21!

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Q3: What year are you in terms of your education?

I am a Junior.

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Q4: Are you an exchange, international, or SSALI student?

I’m a SSALI student 🙂

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Q5: How long are you/ will you be studying at Sonoma State for?

About 1 year.

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Q6: What is your hometown and/or country

I’m from Japan!

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Q7: What is your major?

I study Marketing, Design.

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Q8: What are your goals (academically or non academically) for this Spring semester?

Academically, I want to visit more interesting companies in US and discuss with them about the society we need to create in the future.

Non academically, I want to make many friends where we can understand our culture differences.

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Q9: What is one memorable thing you did last semester?

I loved playing soccer with International students every Friday.

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Q10: What do you like to do in your free time?

Sketching my idea and eating In-n-out hamburger. I’m gonna miss it!