Check out an interview with our former student Lisbeth Lima, from the January 2022 Communication, Design & Innovation class at CSUN, and learn more about the experience of studying with IBS Americas in California!
Read on and learn about the university’s routine, structure and experiences!
What is your background (or what are you studying?)
I graduated in Communication Sciences, specializing in Advertising and Public Relations, from the Universidad de San Martín de Porres (Lima-Peru). Likewise, I finished my undergraduate studies in Education with a specialty in English, at the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (Lima-Peru). I also carried out postgraduate studies in Public Administration at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima-Peru).
Why did you choose this university and course?
I chose California State University, since it is an American university with more than 150 years and a very good reputation in hosting international students. Northridge campus has a very good location, and I knew that art is often breathed on campus, since it has been the place of various film productions.
I took the Communication, Design and Innovation course because it would reinforce my career knowledge from a marketing-focused perspective. I liked the syllabus of the course, since it included topics such as integrated marketing communications, communication design and trends in business communication. In addition, our teachers would have a good academic and professional background, we would have visits to companies and conferences, and we would take Business English classes.
How was the process of preparing for the trip with IBS Americas? What support have you received from the team?
The preparation process for the trip with IBS Americas was efficient, even in the special circumstances in which we found ourselves due to the health pandemic.
From the application to the scholarship, the team guided me and answered the messages in a short time. All the necessary material was available on the Student Portal, and we have had two orientation sessions prior to the trip, which allowed us to clear up doubts first-hand, and to meet our future classmates.
Furthermore, the team was monitoring that we comply with the delivery of the necessary documents, and it was constantly informing us about the measures that we had to adjust to in order to travel.
It was very valuable that the IBS Americas team was able to make the trip possible and gave us the necessary guidelines for the international program, despite the special circumstances in which we found ourselves worldwide.
How was your preparation to leave your country after almost 2 years of closed borders worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have always had the intrinsic motivation to study in person abroad. And, as soon as I had the chance to do it, I didn’t hesitate to take it. I had already kept the scholarship for a period that anticipates the pandemic. Therefore, I knew that, despite the uncertainty, it was time to take the course in which I enrolled. And, fortunately, I had the support of my work center and my family, as long as I respect the health measures. Among them, do COVID-19 tests periodically and purchase the appropriate medical insurance.
During my preparation, I checked some of the readings that CSUN provided us to familiarize ourselves with the topics that we would see in class. Likewise, my future roommates and I met virtually to develop an itinerary that included academic and tourist activities, expenses and other details.
I must confess that I was a little scared, since the situation in the state I was going to travel to was not the best. However, we cannot live in fear and, by taking the necessary precautions, we can adapt to a new reality.
How was the experience of studying with people of different nationalities and cultures? From which countries were the students you met?
I met colleagues mainly from Brazil, El Salvador, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, who traveled basically with the same purpose I traveled with. The experience was enriching due to the diversity of people with whom I did networking. In fact, I became friends with some of them, with whom we video call to this day.
I learned from both: their cultures and their professional experiences. It was interesting to know how certain problems are dealt with in different contexts, and how art, communication and leadership was the common language between several different people in the overall program. I actually miss the routines, walks, jokes, jargon and bonds that we built during that period. It was all part of the adventure.
What companies did you visit? How was the experience to get in touch with executives from these companies?
We had three lectures with the following guest speakers: Lillian Sherman, Executive Director at Pike Place Market Foundation; Alex Malfinati, CFO of Azul Airlines; and Kimberly Hicks, Chief Product Officer at Great Minds, who is also former VP at The Walt Disney Company.
We had a question-and-answer moment with the three of them. It was enriching to learn not only how they have achieved success in their different professions, but also how they have overcome obstacles throughout their careers. It was valuable to receive their advices about team leadership, having a purpose and defending it regardless of our position.
From Lillian Sherman I learned that we must have our business model clear at all times. And from Kimberly Hicks I reinforced the idea that we can always renew our ways of delivering a service, adjusting to trends and without losing the essence of our business.
What did you think of the university’s structure, staff and support during classes?
I think the activities were well scheduled and gave us time to enjoy the campus infrastructure, which is beautiful. I liked the level of demand by being constantly evaluated through our participation and review of the progress of the assigned project. The Business English classes were a plus.
I felt welcome from the first orientation on campus to the last day. The spirit of service was in the university’s staff with whom I interacted. I appreciate the predisposition of Vanessa Andrade, Boris Polotzek and Jessica Isomoto, whom we saw daily near the classrooms, and who provided us with announcements in person and reminders via e-mail.
Additionally, we had access to COVID-19 screening tests on campus. And initiatives like the Graduation Ceremony and the Hashtag contest made the experience more memorable.
About your routine, how did you organize yourself to study and enjoy your free time? What did you do in those moments? What places did you visit?
The routine my roommates and I established was effective and fun. We were three girls in the same course, and it was not difficult to get along with each other because we had a clear goal: to do our best in class, and to enjoy tourism in California. To do this, we established an itinerary that we adjusted along the way. Also, we helped each other where we could: meals, shopping, laundry, etc.
After classes, we used to eat something, go home in the car we rented, chat a little in the living room of our apartment and, around seven at night, it was time to do homework. At study time, we split up to virtually discuss with our groups what we couldn’t finish in person.
My free time was well spent. I visited Warner Bros Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Griffith Observatory, Madame Tussauds, Crypto Arena, Lake Hollywood Park, Walk of Fame, Downtown Santa Monica, Pinon Hills, Valyermo, Hollywood and Highland, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Rodeo Drive, West Hollywood Sunset Strip, among others.
How important is this international experience in your life and career?
I grew academically and humanistically. I reinforced what I knew and I learned more thanks to the simulation on how to build an enterprise from scratch: since the creation of a brand until the transformation of the service into an experience. Likewise, I solidified my oral skills focused on business environment.
This period was interesting to learn about other cultures, languages, ways of thinking and communicating. But also, to get to know myself a little better. I really enjoyed interacting inside and outside the classroom with people from other countries, who have become my friends, whose achievements I enjoy to this day. Overall, I am grateful for this experience.
Finally, what message would you like to leave for students who are planning to take a course abroad?
If your philosophy is to invest in your career and you are looking forward to have an international experience at a top university, this is the way. You can find a program of your interest and take it in the period that best suits you. It will definitely be an adventure. My recommendation is that you always have a clear goal, and put together a team with people who share that objective.
Lisbeth, the IBS Americas team thanks you for participating in this interview and wishes you much success and achievements in your professional career!
If you are interested in this experience and want to have the opportunity to study at California State University, apply for the selection process for the next classes. Scholarships are exclusive to short courses (3 weeks).