PSFA International Studies Minor Offers Unique Opportunities for Students

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Mei Zhong and her students cross the border to meet with their COIL partners in Mexico as part of the research project in PSFA350
Mei Zhong and her students cross the border to meet with their COIL partners in Mexico as part of the research project in PSFA350
San Diego State University's International Studies Minor (ISM) is opening new doors for students across various disciplines. The minor, designed to foster global awareness and critical thinking, has been attracting students from diverse majors seeking to broaden their horizons and gain valuable international experience.

One of the unique aspects of the ISM is its accessibility to students from any major within the university. This inclusivity allows students like Julia Gutman, who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy at Pepperdine University, to blend her major in psychology with a minor in international studies. 

"Psychology and this minor gave me an idea of what I wanted to do... I know that I'm going to be surrounded by a lot of people that are different, that have different backgrounds. And I know that I'm going to have to be very familiarized with all of that," Gutman said.

Similarly, business student Olivia Coronado shared her experience studying abroad in Milan through the ISEP exchange program. The ISM complemented her major in business marketing by providing a global perspective crucial in today's interconnected business landscape. 

"Having that extra knowledge is important... not just saying, ‘I studied abroad,’ but I studied abroad, and I did this huge project. Proving that I can, and showing my work of what I learned makes my situation unique."

Leading the ISM, SDSU Professor Mei Zhong noted that although the ISM doesn't organize study abroad tours, it encourages students to undertake cross-cultural comparative studies during their international experiences. 

"The students have to do a cross-cultural comparative study where they bring the set of data back from their trip, and then apply it in the capstone course comparing it to the US side," Professor Zhong said.

Professor Zhong further emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the ISM, stating, "I invite people from different areas to make a point that the minor is open to all returns. So we have engineering students, we have nursing students, marine scientists, and all over the campus."

The PSFA International Studies Minor stands as a testament to SDSU's commitment to fostering global citizenship and intercultural competence among its students. Through diverse experiences and rigorous academic inquiry, the ISM equips students with the tools to navigate an increasingly interconnected world with confidence and empathy.