Reflections and Takeaways

Today I reflect on my experience at San Diego State University and my major in International Business. Some background information, I moved to San Diego back in 2016 after recently getting out of the Air Force with a big goal in mind, that I would eventually be accepted into SDSU and pursue a regular business degree. I spent 2 years at San Diego Mesa College where I received my Associates in Business Administration and just a year prior to applying to SDSU my friend who was studying finance convinced me that I should change my business major to something a little more specific. Since I was so interested in the hospitality field and didn’t want to narrow myself down to just a Hospitality degree, I pursued international business instead and I also already speak Portuguese and Spanish so it made sense to me. An International Business degree would also give me the flexibility to stay in hospitality, travel the world, and keep my career options a little more open as I am so interested in many aspects of business.

Now when I chose International Business at SDSU, I was so pleased to hear about how well the program is. A ton of people in my first year at state made it seem like the program would be super intense to get through and I see they had a point back in 2018. Now in 2020, my very last year at state is bittersweet. I was only on campus for a year and then we were sent to complete spring semester and fall semester virtually due to COVID-19. This impacted my experience a little because it stopped me from going abroad to complete my internship in Spain as planned and of course limited gathering and events from school. I was also a full-time worker my during my entire school attendance so this held me back from being able to incorporate myself into any extracurricular activities. Prior to the closure, my favorite class taken was IB498 with Professor Salsitz. I found this class to be so fun and helpful because we studied many countries and their culture. We also studied protocol and how to handle business negotiations by completing scenarios in class with our groups. This class prepared us on how to interact with other cultures and understand why they operate as they do. It also didn’t just pertain to Western European Spanish but incorporated all countries which is why I found it so enlightening. Our professor brought in many speakers weekly, so we had lots of firsthand information that others have experienced. The second course I took that I felt was very beneficial was Spanish 307 or Intro to Business Spanish with Professor Castro. She had us work in groups many times and we presented about 4 times in front of class, always in Spanish so it truly assisted in building confidence. In this course, we focused on individual Latin American countries, how to setup and build a business including many forms, and necessary verbiage for the Spanish business world.

My takeaways during my two years at SDSU consist of the importance of inclusion. I realized in my second semester that having a friend in each class was important to having someone to rely on for information or just as backup. I felt shy in the beginning, coming to SDSU after Mesa College was very different, from class size, to the campus size, or joining into different activities. Prior to SDSU I felt that it was easier talking to others in class and we understood each other in regards to working plus going to school and working hard to accomplish things together. It took a little time at SDSU to build a network of friends because of little time to give, but once I was added into group projects and large group chats I finally felt like I wasn’t alone and everyone felt the pressures together. So, I would say, make yourself known, get out of your comfort level to talk to someone else and join a group on campus. A support system with individuals that understand the same struggles is comforting.

Lastly, for my future career plans I have many ideas. Within the next 3 weeks I will have completed my goal to graduate from the university I wanted to pursue. I currently am already working in hospitality as a supervisor for a boutique hotel, and I do see myself working up the ladder to pursue becoming a manager and gain experience there and perhaps take my experience elsewhere when I feel the time is right. I would really love to get into some protocol work or operations management, I say this because I am very much interested in structure, organization, and creating a comfortable work environment. I would also like to pursue an education in becoming a life coach. I want to use my leadership skills to help others develop themselves and hold themselves accountable for their actions. I live to inspire others, it gives me joy walking into my current job and seeing my agents look happy to be at work even during difficult times like now. I appreciate knowing that I have assisted them in their education but also helping them get through their own personal goals. I feel as though I have many different plans, but hospitality would help me be active with my international travelers, I would be able to continue helping them with creating group events, housing their travelers and gaining an understanding of what they need in their international activities. International Business will help me accomplish my next career in many ways, the diversity and knowledge for business, interacting with different nations, and building a trusting and understanding rapport.

International Business major with an Emphasis in Spanish and Western Europe.

Tamara is an International Business major with an emphasis in Spanish and Western Europe.

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