Content Skip to content.
San Diego State University

Be International logo



Taymar Pyrke, an international student from England and Criminal Justice major, was named the winner of the fifth annual International Student Essay Contest hosted by the International Student Center. 

Irene Cheong (Singapore) and Keval Chavada (India) received second and third place, respectively, while Demetre Saghliani (Georgia) received honorable mentions. 

The contest was started with the purpose of building mutual respect through empathy, allowing domestic SDSU students to better understand the international student experience. Writing on the theme of “In My Shoes”, international students were asked to share their insights, thoughts and emotions (both good and not-so-good) from their experience at SDSU.
Below is the full list of winners with excerpts and links to the full, unedited essays.



First Place
Taymar Pyrke (England)

"In My Shoes"


"My journey to becoming an exchange student based in America began when I was 10 or 11. My feet were incased in leather school shoes, as I sat on the sofa, again watching ‘The Parent Trap’ after getting home from class, fascinated by the picturesque landscapes and stretches of stunning, opulent fields captured in the film, set in California. The scenery, accents and culture of the characters all intrigued me and I always hoped that one day I would get to visit California myself, and experience just a sliver of that same lifestyle...

Read more …

Second Place
Irene Cheong (Singapore)

"Fading Daylight"


“Every sunset, every golden hour, a nagging weight on my heart as I watch it disappear. Gold light slips through my fingers. I watch its source descend behind the trees, and then disappear.

I don’t quite know how to describe this feeling: it’s yearn and excitement in one moment, and then it’s dread and a sense of how temporal all this is. Even before the virus, even before the start of the semester, everything already seemed so fleeting...

Read more …


Third Place
Keval Chavada (India)

"In My Shoes" 


"‘Change is the only constant.’ I believe that my generation is perhaps the luckiest. We have not only witnessed the rapid evolution of technology, but we have also fueled it. I have seen technology change in my very hands. I remember using the brick-like, indestructible monochrome Nokia 3310 and today I use a top-of-the-shelf smartphone, with features that no one envisaged a decade ago. The ever-changing nature of technology meant that I was always learning and adapting, which in turn ensured a continuing interest in technology and computers. When personal computers first hit the consumer market in India, it created quite a stir...

Read more …


Honorable Mention 
Demetre Saghliani (Georgia)

"In My Shoes" 

"There we stood, staring dumbly at the traffic light. It had been an exhausting 24 hours — or 26, to be accurate. Endless sitting in airplanes, endless sitting waiting for airplanes, making our way through the hellish LA airport… I’d felt just about done with it all when our taxi driver dropped me and my friend off at our new home...


Read more …

 blank_icon_85x85.jpg fb2_85.png ig2_85.png