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Archive for category Fun things to do

Even if you’re stuck indoors studying, take a break to enjoy this beautiful weather. Yes, there is a drought in California so be sure to save on water when you’re at home, but let’s enjoy our golden winter! Here’s a website with a list of hikes near San Mateo. But this will be a great weekend to enjoy the coast. If you’ve only got a couple of hours, take Highway 92 west to Half Moon Bay. Once you get to Highway 1, turn left and drive for about 15 minutes until you spot the Ritz Carlton. There’s a beautiful beach area there to enjoy. Plus you can feel all fancy because you’re hanging out near the Ritz Carlton. If you’ve got more time, take the drive all the way down to Santa Cruz, then take Highway 17 back to 280 north.

Hunger Games

Welcome to the Spring 2014 semester

The first week of the semester is done! The International Student Center wishes all our students the best during the coming semester. If you need any assistance with anything, don’t hesitate to come by the center and ask! We are here to help. Next week will be the last week to add classes. If you are not registered in 12 units, please come to the International Student Center ASAP. And don’t forget, Monday, January 20 is a holiday.

Want free money? Apply now for scholarships!

College of San Mateo scholarships are open to all new and continuing international students, even if it is just your first semester at the college or if you have no GPA! For the 2014-2015 school year, the scholarship application will be done through Academic Works, an online scholarship application program. Along with the online application, you will also need to submit one letter of recommendation, a personal statement (at least 250 words but no more than 750 words in length), and any unofficial transcripts (including your College of San Mateo academic transcripts). The application deadline is February 13, 2014 at 11:59 pm.

Mario or Patty will be happy to write you a letter of recommendation for the scholarship!

Win a mini iPad

Please give us your opinion of the services you are receiving as an international student at CSM by completing the International Student Survey.  You will be entered into a drawing to win a mini iPad if you complete the survey by Friday, February 7. Our success depends on how well we serve our international students. Your feedback helps us to deliver the best possible service – something we work to improve every day. We encourage you to give us your comments and suggestions. All survey responses are strictly confidential.

Discover UC Davis

Visit the UC Davis campus and begin cultivating your dream career. Find out how you can transfer and earn a degree that will help you transform into a successful career professional. Advanced registration is required for this trip. Visit CSM Transfer Services located in the College Center Building 10, Room 340 to find out how you can register today! The trip is scheduled for Friday, February 28 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more transfer events, including information about UC Berkeley, please visit the Transfer Services event calendar.

International Student Club news

The International Student Club’s first meeting of the Spring 2014 semester will take place Thursday, January 23 at 1:10 p.m. in Building 14, Room 117. The club is a great way to get involved in campus life and to network into other organizations on campus, such as the Associated Students. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Review of Twin Peaks in San Francisco
Want to catch a panoramic view of San Francisco at night? Head over to Twin Peaks, the second highest point in the city (925ft), and be dazzled by the city lights below. Be sure to bundle up and go on a clear night because a fog will obscure the view.

Review of Treasure Island view of the San Francisco night skyline
Want to see a picture-postcard view of the San Francisco night skyline? Head over to Treasure Island, where you can see the full expanse of the skyline in all its glory and let it take your breath away; definitely lovelier to see it in person than on a mere postcard.

Reviews courtesy of Sharon Ho, Singapore.
Visit Sharon’s blog for more great reviews.


Hunger Games

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Despite being superior to the first Hobbit movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug nevertheless still disappoints. While still entertaining, the movie is bloated, overlong and suffers from middle-movie narrative issues. This is what happens when a 300-odd page book is stretched into three movies each spanning about 3 hours.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Catching Fire is the best young adult book-to-movie adaptation there is. Directed by Francis Lawrence of I am Legend fame, the movie is vastly superior to The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is the heart and soul of the movie. Emotionally thrilling for both fans and newcomers alike.

Reviews courtesy of Sharon Ho, Singapore.
Visit Sharon’s blog for a more in-depth look at these two movies.


Hunger Games

It was so much fun to participate in Black Friday here in my first year in college! It was a very crazy day!! I went to San Francisco with my friends on Thursday night. We left San Mateo at five in the afternoon and we stayed there untill midnight!! It was very interesting to me to be in San Francisco but surrounded by many people speaking in Chinese around me!! There were a lot of people waiting in line to get in the big shopping mall like Macy’s, and most of them were Asian! I could not remember that I was in America for a moment, because almost 90% of people were using Chinese! It was so weird! I think maybe there were so many Asians because most of the Americans were having a “turkey time” at home with their family!

We went back to San Mateo at 11 p.m. by BART, and then we drove to Gilroy right after we got home! We were going to the outlet shopping center!! And no surprise at all there were a bunch of people already there!!! All of the stores were full of people and we definitely decided to join them!! I couldn’t remember which store we started from or which one we ended at because we didn’t stop shopping!! We really got some good deals! A lot of stuff had big sales, at least 50% off!! My friend got a hat for five dollars! I also got some other good deals! I got a sweater for twelve dollars, and a pair of boots for forty-three dollars!! It was a long and crazy day, but I enjoyed it a lot! We left the outlets at 7 a.m. because our friend — the driver — was exhausted. I actually didn’t think there would be an end to our shopping, but we got in the car and went back home.

Courtesy of Winnie Wu, Taiwan

Recently I decided to take a tour around the San Francisco area. I hadn’t been to all the great areas in SF and I also thought that it would take me the whole day to tour the city. However, i hopped on the Big Bus and it was an amazing adventure, especially at night when everything looked so beautiful with all the sparkling lights from the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge. The tour started from Fisherman’s Wharf then took us through Union Street to the Presidio, where you can enjoy the views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then up the historic Nob Hill, across the Bay Bridge and so on. Biking along the Golden Gate Bridge and the Beach was also something I enjoyed. Due to the sunset everything looked amazing and romantic. If you have the chance to tour the city do it on the Big Bus tour you should do it, especially at night!

Review courtesy of Yesuujin Oyungerel, Mongolia

First Presbyterian Church of San Mateo is inviting any interested international student to a Thanksgiving dinner! Enjoy turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving Day trimmings as well as games and songs for the holiday.

The Thanksgiving dinner is free and all are welcome. Please RSVP Rich Rondeau at (650) 345-6915 or

Event details:
Thanksgiving dinner hosted by First Presbyterian Church
Location: The Lighthouse (194 W 25th Avenue (at Hacienda), San Mateo
Time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Thor: The Dark World
Although far from the best Marvel movie, Thor: The Dark World is entertaining enough. In this sequel Chris Hemsworth’s Thor becomes a dependable but boring superhero, and it is villain brother Tom Hiddleston’s Loki who steal all his scenes; the movie ultimately becomes less fun whenever Loki is not onscreen.

12 Years A Slave
12 Years a Slave is a great but harrowing movie. If it was depressing just to be watching it for 133 minutes, imagine how bad it was for the millions of slaves who spent their entire lives living in such abject terror at the inhuman horrors being inflicted on them.

Last Vegas
Anyone hoping for a Hangover-ish plot from Last Vegas would be disappointed. Still, the effortless and sometimes cheeky camaraderie among Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Klive brings some easy and happy laughs to the audience. An enjoyable way to while away 104 minutes of your time.

Reviews courtesy of Sharon Ho, Singapore.


Fall 2013 Club Fair

Spring 2014 Class Registration
Yes, it is time to start thinking about Spring 2014 registration! The class schedule for the spring 2014 is now available online through WebSchedule. International Students with an updated education plan will start registering for classes on November 5. You can come by the International Student Center to confirm if your education plan is updated.

Let’s Chat! a Language Partner Program
We are excited to announce “Let’s Chat!” a language partner program that pairs a native English speaker with a non-native speaker to engage in English language conversation practice throughout the semester. This is a great way for you to develop communication skills and get to know someone from another culture. If you’re interested, complete the Let’s Chat Information and Application and submit it to the International Student Center.

Free! Student Leadership Conference
A free three-day student leadership conference is being offered by the Office of Student Life and Leadership. This is a great opportunity you should not pass up! You’ll learn important skills, meet other student leaders, and can include this activity on your scholarship and transfer applications. The next information session is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16 at 3 p.m. in Building 17, Room 112. Topics to be covered are: discovering new leadership skills, conflict resolution techniques, communication skills, and much more.

Get Cultured
The College of San Mateo Symphonic Band is performing on Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is only $5.

Meet the Ambassadors
CSM’s student ambassadors are an important part of the life the campus. Come meet the 2013-14 student ambassadors at an afternoon ice cream social on Monday, October 14 at 2 p.m. Please RSVP at

Three Sources of Exam Help
U.S. News and World Report hosts an international student blog. This week they offered tips on how international students can get help with exams. Those tips are: 1. Go to your teacher’s office hours; 2. Talk to senior students; 3. Ask the professor what is most important to know. Visit their blog for more details.

Hike of the Week
A personal favorite of the International Student Center staff is the Edgewood Park Trail in Redwood City. It is short 2 mile hike when you just need to get away and be among the trees and hills. Although there isn’t a whole lot of shade on the trail, it’s proximity makes for an easy way to reconnect with the nature on the Peninsula.

“Let’s Chat!” a Language Partner Program
We are excited to announce “Let’s Chat!” a language partner program that pairs a native English speaker with a non-native speaker to engage in English language conversation practice throughout the semester.  This is a great way for you to develop communication skills and get to know someone from another culture.  If you’re interested, complete the “Let’s Chat” Information and Application and submit it to the International Student Center.  Let us know if you have any questions.

Transfer Information
Transfer application filing periods are coming up!  Please see below for deadlines:

Associated Students of CSM (ASCSM) Club Fair
The ASCSM Club Fair was held last week and it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about all the different student clubs and organization on campus.  Our own International Student Club was out there with a strong representation (see photos below).  For those who could not attend the fair and want to learn more about how to join a club, please visit the Office of Student Life in Building 17 or visit the Student Clubs & Organizations page for a list of active clubs on campus.

Fall 2013 Club Fair

Fall 2013 Club Fair

Fall 2013 Club Fair

Fall 2013 Club Fair