Meet Naomi

I am Naomi Mbise, a sophomore and an International student from Tanzania. I am double majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations and Theology and Christian Leadership.

I wanted to study at Cal Lutheran because I wanted to be a leader for a global society. One of Cal Lutheran’s missions was to do so. This was a huge inspiration to me to join Cal Lutheran.

My favorite part about studying at Cal Lutheran is the opportunity to engage in activities/programmes that build, support and facilitate my growth in my profession and communal life. This year I have been able to collaborate with my fellow African students to create the African Student association which enables us to engage in activities and opportunities to collaborate with the African diaspora and friends of Africa. I just recently got a fellowship to fund my summer research,a great opportunity to develop my future career. All these amongst many things are important compartments to build me as a leader to serve a global community. Forever thankful.

By: Naomi Mbise

Meet Rama

My name is Rama Youssef, from Damascus, Syria and I am studying Political Science.I fled the  Syrian civil war in 2012 and came to the United States with my mother. After a short trip, my mother had to leave me by myself in this big country to take a boat to Europe. I navigated life through high school and never thought of attending college because of the high expenses and lack of access to federal funding and student loans because of my immigration status. My only shot was applying to private colleges and California Lutheran University took me in with open arms only to open more doors for me.

During my stay at CLU, I learned how to create a life I love for myself; I’m now a pre-law student and publishing my first book called “Arose from War” in August 2021. Attending college changed my perspective on life and California Lutheran University helped with that.

My favorite part about studying at CalLu is the people. Someone on this campus will care about you and you always find your allies. Additionally, the Global Leaders Community (GLC)  in Kramer Court. I got the precious chance to lead as its Resident Assistant and create for this hall. The GLC makes you feel at home especially if you’re not from here. Kramer court is like a small family of residents that know each other on a personal level. 

By: Rama Youssef

Meet Dmitrii

Hi! My name is Dmitrii Tabala and I am a Music Major with emphasis in Violin Performance and Music Technology. I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I came to the US 6 years ago to Idyllwild Arts Academy for high school. After graduating I got admitted to CLU for class of 23′. The main reason I went to CLU is because of the great faculty. The music staff of CLU is truly spectacular and they are the main reason I am attending CLU. Their professionalism and experience in the music industry gives me opportunities to learn more and more. Also the size of the school allows for more personalized learning experience and I really appreciate that as well.

The community and the positive atmosphere. CalLu is the place where I am able to truly improve and work without as much stress as in any other place. CalLu is the place where I can reach out to any professor or student and get a positive response, where I can collaborate with students from different areas and truly learn by doing, where I can be myself.

The main difference is the people. In the US it is much easier to connect with people, to reach out for help and make connections. People are much more positive (I think this is a more California thing though) and life just feels more optimistic. Seems like I do the same things in both countries: talk to people, work, study, buy groceries, etc. However in Russia each of these aspects incorporates certain stress (getting yelled at the store, getting, ruining your shoes, being scammed by the employer), and in the US even though I do the same things it feels much more smooth and easy going.

By: Dmitrii Tabala

Meet Samar

My name is Samar Salve. I am an international student from India. I finished my Associate of Applied Science in Web Design at Genesee Community College, Batavia, NY and transferred to CLU for my Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science.

As an international student you always need a clear guideline and direction not only when you are a student in university but also when you finish education and be part of the workforce. In terms of that guidance and experience not every college has the same stature. When I look at California Lutheran University and its programs to empower international students, I see myself in good hands. Events like lunar year celebration will be helpful to understand the multi-cultural background of university on the other hand events like U. S. job search for internationals will be helpful in building a career.

Even though I am an adult and still finishing my education I have not found my purpose. When I researched about the college, I realized everything the CLU is built around is what I am looking for. I do not know my purpose and I am afraid that it is too late to find it. But an assurance that I could still find it, make my life worthwhile by taking one step at a time does encourage me. I do wish to be part of a college where I will be reminded that I can do it and taken care of. That is why I wish to attend the California Lutheran University.

My first experience in the US education system was studying in Community College at GCC, Batavia. It was a smaller community college in terms of scale. Which also meant a smaller community closely bound together, where everyone knows each other. I was part of a community where I was not just a number but I had an identity. It was especially coming from a country like India where you are just another person in a vast population. At the end of the last semester, I was thinking about transferring to a bigger university. So I attended some lectures in the university around, and realized that I am going to be another number again. Transferring to CLU was a financial decision and I was afraid to lose my identity and become just a number. However, as opposed to my beliefs about a bigger university I found out that was not the case at all. From the time I travelled across the country to be part of the community at CLU I was regarded as a crucial part of the community. I got to meet amazing professors and fellow students. I participated in many online events, I was even able to become an RA.

Meet Chuong

My name is Chuong and I’m a sophomore studying hospitality management here at Cal Lu! I’m originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam but I did high school at Saint Augustine High School in San Diego, California before going to Cal Lu. Outside of school I spend my time making collage art, working out and recently picked up surfing.

I chose to attend Cal Lu mainly because of the location and size of the school. Having spent the most of my life in big cities like Ho Chi Minh and San Diego, I wanted to go to school in an area  that wasn’t too busy and was small enough that I could develop meaningful relationships with my classmates and professors. Since I am a hospitality major, being near a tourist center like LA or Malibu was also a perk for internships and professional networking.

As an international student, it can be especially hard to find your footing in a new environment. That’s why one of my favorite parts about Cal Lu is the community. From the moment I stepped on campus I felt welcomed and at home right away. Another thing is that since Cal Lu is a small school compared to others you really get to know everyone, including your professors.

For me, the biggest cultural difference would be the common phrases or expressions that people use here. For example, it’s normal for people to use “What’s up?” or “How’s it going?” as a greeting and it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to strike up a conversation. Another difference is that personal space is very important here. Everyone has their own little bubble and it’s always good to keep that in mind when you’re approaching someone.

By: Chuong Nguyen

Meet Mehar

My name is Harmehar Wadalia, but I prefer to be called Mehar. I am a Sophomore here at CLU with a major in Psychology and emphasis in clinical and behavioral applications. I was born in Punjab which is the northern part of India but I have spent most of my childhood in Burma otherwise known as Myanmar. I graduated from International School of Yangon which is an American based international school and wanted to pursue my future here in the States.

What inspired me to study here in CalLu was the overall community and how supportive everyone was of each other. I had talked to the representative of CLU and he had already made me feel so welcomed and that was something that stood out to me. Also in terms of my major I found CLU to be a great reputation. In addition, the faculty involved in this department really motivated me to pursue this career.

My favorite part about studying at CalLu would be how easy it is to communicate with faculty and other students. One of the benefits of being in small classes is getting the attention of the professor or even asking for help when it is needed. I also love how everyone is always engaged in discussions which helps to add onto my perspective of certain topics and also motivates me to learn more. In addition, in terms of the student body everyone is very supportive of one another and is always there to help when needed. I think that too plays a big part when it comes to being motivated.

Some cultural differences that I have experienced living in the US is how open everyone is with each other and how you will always find someone to help you out whenever you need it. Everyone is also very punctual when it comes to being on time. Another big difference is being independent and self motivated. In Asian culture, competition is very evident and us as students are always told to do better than the other person. However, here in the US it made me realize that it is okay to go at your own pace and to take your time and to focus on yourself.

By: Mehar Wadalia

Meet Thea

My name is Thea Holtlund Jacobsen, and I took a double major in Marketing Communications and Global Studies with a minor in Business Administration. I am from Oslo, Norway, and after studying in the US I have moved back to Oslo, where I currently work as a CRM Manager for an IT-company called FrontCore. I always knew I wanted to take my degree outside of Norway, as I wanted to experience something new and challenge myself. After some research I decided to study in the US, and there is a Norwegian association that provides scholarships through certain partnering colleges in the US. Cal Lutheran was one of them, and after looking into the other options I eventually decided that Cal Lutheran looked like the best fit for me.

My favorite part of studying at Cal Lutheran was the ease of forming meaningful relationships, not only with fellow students but with faculty and staff as well. There is a special community at Cal Lutheran, where everyone is open and wants to really get to know you. Professors are easy to talk to and encourage conversation, and it shows that they really do care about you and want you to succeed.

The cultural differences between Norway and the US are not all too big, but some things that are noticeably different is how the US is more of an individualistic and capitalist country. It is more of a “everyone for themselves” mentality, in terms of for example health care, filing taxes and government services, where you are expected to pay for yourself and handle it all yourself. This was challenging in the beginning, as these services are arranged and paid for by the government in Norway, but it was a good learning experience. I also experience Americans to be generally more outgoing than Norwegians, and that it is more socially accepted to stand out and go for whatever you want to do in the US.

By: Thea Jacobsen

Meet Sophie

Hi, my name is Sophie and I am a Political Science Major from the UK. I am a sophomore here at Cal Lutheran 🙂

I initially wanted to come to CalLu because my brother was already a student here and I saw how much he enjoyed it. However, I also realized how different Cal Lu was from my other options. It’s a smaller school and therefore, I felt like it would be easier to settle here and make friends more quickly. It also felt like it would be less overwhelming especially since I am coming from so far away!

My favorite part would have to be how connected everything feels, from the class sizes to the interaction you get with the professors, students, etc. You truly feel like you are not a number here, but a person. That’s really special!

There have been many cultural differences that I have experienced here. Some of the funniest and perhaps, most memorable ones include tipping servers in restaurants (and how much), the different words people use for certain things, the obsession for coffee over tea, also how far everything is from one place to the next! However in terms of culture, California isn’t too different from the UK except for the much better weather and beaches.

By: Sophie Davies