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Men Fashion Shoot at Legacy Flight Museum

Amazing Men Fashion Shoot Display At Legacy Flight Museum

During my time at the Legacy Flight Museum, I also had the opportunity to take some pictures of male models. I used a variety of lights throughout the fashion shoot. I had the opportunity to use speed lights, Apollo orbs with a triple bracket, and an Einstein light kit with multiple modifiers.

The Legacy Flight Museum is an amazing place to visit. They have a vast variety of old airplanes and with their costumes, it helped the models get in the right time setting.

Here are some of my favorite shots from that amazing photoshoot:

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto


1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, men fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

I had a blast taking these photos! I did more research about photos from that time and I came across these gorgeous photos from WWII! You should check them out!

Women Fashion Shoot at Legacy Flight Museum

Amazing Women Fashion Shoot Display At Legacy Flight Museum

I’ve been living in Rexburg for a little over a year and I still keep finding new places in the surrounding areas. A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg, Idaho. My class and I did a fashion photo shoot at the Legacy Flight Museum. I will share 4 different blog posts sharing all my photos from this photo shoot.

To be honest, one thing that I need to work on is in giving directions to people to model. I’m still learning how to pose the models and make them feel comfortable. I like to create a connection with them before starting to take the pictures because that helps me to break the ice.

One thing that I would like to highlight, our models rocked this fashion shoot. They had amazing 1940’s costumes and they were ready to bring that old vibe in the room!

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

1940's fashion shoot, 1940's photography, Bmike13, Byui, Byui advertising, fashion shoot, fashion photo shoot, legacy flight museum, women fashion shoot, Michael Baca Soto

If you really like the old vibe of these photos, here is an article with the best style moments from 1940.

Nature Around Sky Mountain Lodge

Sky Mountain Lodge, A Hidden Beauty In Nature

You might be wondering where I stayed during my photo excursion to Victor, Idaho. My school, Brigham Young University – Idaho has a deal with Sky Mountain Resort, a beautiful cabin in the middle of nature!

As soon as we got there, it was cloudy and perfect to take some pictures. I grabbed my gear and walked around the cabin. I found a pond and some trails around Sky Mountain Resort.

I honestly have never felt so alive! The place is beautiful and it’s surrounded by a lot of trees. It’s just perfect if you want to lose yourself in nature.

Here are some photos that I took during my walk around Sky Mountain Resort:

I’m originally from Peru. Even though we have places that can look alike to these photos, it’s hard to get them. I used to live in the city and I didn’t have many chances to go out there and get lost in nature. I’m truly grateful for this trip and the opportunity that I had to capture these amazing sights.

Blue Hour At The Grand Tetons

Wake Up Early To Catch The Blue Hour At Grand Tetons

The day that I went to the Grand Tetons, I left the lodge before 4:00 a.m. I still don’t remember the last time I woke up that early. One thing is for sure, this was the first time I woke up that early to take photos.

When you leave your place as early as 4:00 a.m. you will catch the sunrise. People usually call it the blue hour. If you ever try to capture some photos during the blue hour, don’t forget to wear warm clothes! I went on this trip with a cold and I was not prepared for the weather at all! Unfortunately, I could only embrace it and stop thinking about my sickness.

I think that if you have really good hidden places where you can take landscape photos, you should totally go there during the blue hour! It’s a different feeling! When I was out there taking photos, I felt relieved. There was nothing but me, my camera and nature. You create connections on a different level with nature. It’s hard to explain, you need to be there to understand it.

I cannot wait to go on vacations to take some time away from homework and find hidden places to take landscape photos during the blue hour! I’m fascinated by it!!

Here are some photos of that day:

As I wrote before, you should totally try to take pictures during the blue hour. It’s a unique feeling that you will remember forever!

Landscape PhotographGrand Tetons Photography

Capturing A Fine Art Photo Of The Grand Tetons

Hey everyone! I’m still going through tons of photos from my trip to Victor, Idaho. I was lucky enough to also go to the Grand Tetons and check it out. During my photo excursion, I also had the opportunity to take landscape and nature photography. To be honest, this trip has helped me to go out from my comfort zone and try new types of photography.

It was my first time going to the Grand Tetons and I was amazed! Unfortunately, it was very cloudy and it was hard to see all the mountains. At some points, I could see the peaks and I could only imagine the size of the Grand Tetons!

This is definitely a place that I’d go visit as many times as I can. I think the weather changes so much that every time that I’d go, all my pictures would look totally different!

Today I will share some of the best landscape and nature shots from my photo excursion.

If you ever have the chance to visit the Grand Tetons, you should totally go for it! I’m already planning my next trip there!

Vans – slip-on shoes are back!

Vans is still promoting through Instagram their classic slip-on shoes

If you have been reading my latest post about social media, you can tell I like Vans. It is a cool brand and they are one of my favorites in the market. I’m pretty chill and outgoing so that is why Vans resonates so much with me.

I’ve seen a lot of posts related to their classic slip-on shoes and I’ve been analyzing some of those posts to see how they apply different design elements in them and how cohesive is their campaign overall. I’ve seen so many of their posts that I’m stoked about their classic shoes. I even want to get one of their classic slip-on so bad!

Today I will be doing a reverse engineer analysis to one post from their Instagram published on May 3rd. Here is the original post:

There are three design principles that stood out the most to me. Lines, composition and the colors of the photo.

Lines:

I almost want to call it rule of thirds but if we draw the grid, it would be a little off center. That’s why I’m calling this design principle “lines”. They are easy to see and they draw our attention to the center. We can easily see there is a wood frame almost by the middle of the photo. There are also two rows of posters on the wall. The model’s shoes are right above the wood frame and exactly in the middle of the second poster. It is hard to perceive but there are lines framing the shoes on an imaginary square, right in the middle.

Composition:

Vans’ composition goes along with their caption “Sit back and relax, it’s almost Friday.” Whenever I just want to listen to music and relax, I lay down on my bed with the feet on my wall. I’m a weird kid, I know it.  Now, in relation to their Instagram post, their photo is giving a full meaning to their caption. Vans’ photo is just showing their classic slip-on over the wall with some posters on it. Let’s not forget the light bulbs over the posters. Everything on the photo has a chill, indie-pop vibe. This is exactly what Vans is about! Absolutely beautiful!

Color:

This goes along with their composition. The colors for this photo are warm colors that give an outdated vibe to their image. The only colors that pop out are black and white, the rest of them look faded. If we pay attention to the clothing, we can only see their classic slip-on and a black pair of jeans rolled-up almost to the model’s knee. This, as everything else, has also been intended since black jeans are always the go-to for their black and white checkerboard slip-on!

To summarize this post, Vans has done it again! Their post about their slip-on is just incredible! When we analyze each of their posts, we realize just how many element designs they use. Even though some of them are hard to perceive, it doesn’t mean they don’t apply them.

What happens when you do long exposure?

Discovering new skills … long exposure photography

Two weeks ago, I went to Victor Idaho for a photography excursion and it was amazing! One of the things I’m really grateful I’ve learned is long exposure photography. With this new skill, I was able to do night sky photography, light sketching, and light painting. It was way fun and I came up with really nice photos.

This post will be divided it into three categories that I’ve mentioned below: sky photography, light sketching, and light painting.

Sky photography

I would have never thought that the moon could be really bright! When you shoot night sky photos, you use a long exposure on your camera. This feature keeps the shutter open for a certain amount of time that you choose and it lets in light during that time. If you see the moon you would think, it doesn’t shine as much as the sun. I thought the moon wouldn’t affect the lighting of my photos but I was totally wrong. The moonlight can be really bright during the time your shutter is open. Here are some photos that I took with the moon behind me. If you really like night sky photography, you should definitely check out Caryn Esplin’s website!

Light sketching

When you get the hang of long exposure photography, you want to try new things. I was lucky enough to have three different lights during my trip. We had lightsabers, small balls with different light colors and a wheel from a bike with tons of small lights around it. It was fun to play around with them!

Light painting

During one night of my excursion, we light painted a porch with a model in western clothing. Light painting is still a new technique for me. So far, I’ve light painted small objects with my camera close to them. This was the first time I light painted something bigger, like a porch. I used a big flashlight to cover most of the surface of the porch and the model.


Bonus: Long Exposure with daylight

As I mentioned before, long exposure means to have your shutter open for a long time. It will let in light during the time it’s open, so it’s better to do it in a dark room. But how can you capture the movement of water or clouds during the day? The answer is ND filters. They are like sunglasses for your lens. It will reduce the amount of light that goes through your shutter.


Amazing photos from light painting session

Creation of Amazing Photos with Light Painting

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to learn some basics in light painting photography. This new type of photography is something I have always been interested in and I was finally able to give it a try.

Since you have stumbled upon this blog post, you might be interested in giving light painting photography a try. All you would need is a dark room, a tripod for your camera, and a flashlight.

To begin, set up different objects that you would like to capture in your photo on your display table. Then, set up your camera on a tripod and compose the photo you are looking for by finding a desirable angle and perspective. Next, set up the timer on your camera and lock the camera’s focus on the objects. Personally, I suggest using the manual focus option on your lens, which is easiest to use once you have determined the focal point of your photo.

Now that the camera and scene are properly composed, having fully charged batteries is an extremely important step since it is most commonly forgotten. Next, turn off the lights, release the shutter on your camera, and start using the flashlight to highlight some parts of your subject. It might take a couple of tries before you find your masterpiece. Moving the flashlight to different areas results in different techniques. This addictive creativity will motivate you to keep shooting more light painting photos.

These are some of my first attempts at light painting photography:


This is a great technique and you should absolutely give it a try! It might be difficult at first but your own creativity creates images about who you are. I’ve been trying new things lately to further develop my personality and skills as a photographer. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is a hard thing to do, but it allows you to find something you really might enjoy like how I enjoyed light painting photography.

On a side note, two light painting photographers have blown my mind with their photos: Jan Leonardo and Brian Matthew Hart. They have helped me gather possible ideas for my future light painting photography projects. Their work might just surprise you with their unique styles and differences. Good luck with your own light painting photographs.

Enrique Iglesias Adrenaline Fragrance

Creating an Ad for Enrique Iglesias Adrenaline Fragrance … from scratch!

One challenge from my photography trip was to create an Ad for any sort of product of our preference. I chose to create an Ad for Enrique Iglesias Adrenaline Fragrance. I will share three photos throughout this poster. The first one will be the original picture, the second will show how I took it and the third one will show the final Ad.

I’m a guy who likes fragrances. I used to have two, one for my daily use and the second for special occasions. I thought I didn’t need more but a friend of mine gave me an Enrique Iglesias Adrenaline Fragrance. I’m still amazed by the fragrance! The gift became my fragrance for special occasions.

I took this picture outside a cabin. I really liked the texture of the walls and I placed the fragrance by the window.

I only used two speed lights with flash benders placed on one of them. I had my Canon 60D with a 50mm lens. Chantel Ercanbrack helped me, holding one of the speed lights.

To be honest, I’ve never done product photography. It’s really fun to come up with ideas where your product will shine! After creating this Ad, I did some research about product photographers and I found Michael Jones. He’s amazing and his photos encouraged me to keep taking more product photos.

Here’s the final Ad for Enrique Iglesias Adrenaline Fragrance:

I hope you liked this post. Please feel free to leave some feedback!

Arrange objects for product photography

Insights to arrange your objects for amazing product photography

Last week I went on a trip to Montana for three days. I spent all those days taking pictures and during a specific time, I did some product photography. I took my photos indoor and outdoor and I used different light settings, such as continuous LED lights, speed lights, reflectors and natural light.

Indoor Photography

These photos were a bit challenging since I only had a couple of minutes to arrange each product to capture the most appealing photograph. To be honest, I had to spend some time on Pinterest to get some ideas. Whenever I have time, I scroll through tons of photos to learn something new or to capture a new perspective that I’d never thought of. There are amazing photos in there!

For some of my product photos, I took an approach from above. I arranged my products on the floor or on top of a table and stepped on a stool to be able to capture the image from above.

I had a fun time arranging these products, taking the pictures and exploring more about the settings on my camera. It’s always good to keep practicing to master the beautiful art of photography.

Here are some of the product photographs that I took:



Outdoor Photography

The beauty of the outdoors is that you can use natural light to take product photographs. For some of these pictures, I had to use some speed lights to add some light into the shadows of the product.

During my trip, I learned a new post-editing technique. I don’t know if there is a name for it but it’s amazing! For this technique, you need a photo with natural light. Once you’re editing it, you will lower the exposure of the product photograph. The next step is to show the actual colors of the image on certain parts of the frame. You need to reveal some color as if you were using an external light. You can say that it’s a variation of light painting! You can get amazing results with this technique! I want to mention a big thanks to Steven Hatch who taught me and my class about this technique.

Here are some of the product photographs that I took:

I hope you’ve liked my photos! Please feel free to leave some feedback!

New Fast & Furious movie poster replica

Replicating a Fast & Furious movie poster on Photoshop

I’m a big fan of all Fast & Furious movies. I’m really into cars and mechanics. Once I saw the first movie, I start learning more about races and driving techniques. Last week I was challenged to create a movie poster of any movie that I wanted to. It was hard not to choose a Fast & Furious movie poster.

Throughout my search, I came across this movie poster from Fast & Furious 6 that I found at IMPAwards and it caught my attention. In the Fast & Furious saga, Han, one of my favorite characters, drives a Mazda RX-7 and this poster only focuses on him and his car.

Michael Baca Soto, Bmike13, communications student, advertising student, Brigham young university- idaho, byui, Fast & furious, fast & furious poster replica, movie poster, photoshop

 

The first step to replicate this Fast & Furious movie poster was to find a location and take a photo. I currently live in Rexburg, Idaho and everything is flat. Most of all the buildings are on the same level and it’s a bit harder to find a place where you can see just the sky.

I chose to take my photo by the soccer fields of BYU-Idaho, which is up a hill. I parked my car in the middle of the parking lot, I placed my camera on the floor and set up a 10-second timer. I have a Canon 60D and I used a borrowed 70-200mm lens from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Here is the result:

Michael Baca Soto, Bmike13, communications student, advertising student, Brigham young university- idaho, byui, Fast & furious, fast & furious poster replica, movie poster, photoshop

 

I first edited this photo in Lightroom and then I went into Photoshop. I’m not used to Photoshop yet, but I did my best. As we can see in the Fast & Furious movie poster, the composition is fairly similar. The only problem I came up was that my replica poster had to have more text than the original movie poster. I used the content aware tool in Photoshop and I added the extra ground. I also used the clone stamp tool to take out the tree on the left side and the light posts on the right side.

Michael Baca Soto, Bmike13, communications student, advertising student, Brigham young university- idaho, byui, Fast & furious, fast & furious poster replica, movie poster, photoshop

Overall, the experience of replicating a Fast & Furious movie poster was fun and taught me new tools in Photoshop. I’d love to replicate other movie posters and challenge my skills to the next level. I think I’m getting used to Photoshop and I’m loving it!

Vans – Reverse Engineer Post

Design analysis of Vans’ poster

Vans is a well-recognized American brand. They manufacture skateboarding shoes and related apparel. Time to time, they host contests of extreme sports. They also sponsor surf, snowboarding, BMX, and motocross teams. Here is a poster Vans came up with a couple of years ago promoting one of their contest.

Vans’ audience is men and women who are into music, street culture, art and action sports. They don’t have to be teenagers to wear their apparel. They are enthusiastic and have a teenager and free spirit.

Vans is using the attention and zeitgeist principle with their poster. The colors of the main character are bright and eccentric. The “Free entrance!” sign pops out because of its design. Additionally, the arms of the character are all the way up, trying to catch people’s attention. This poster is promoting a skateboard contest. This contest appeals to people with different backgrounds and demographics but they share one common passion, skateboarding.

Analysis of the poster:

  • Lines: This is a great example to show how Vans used perfectly its lines to lead our eyes to the main character. All the lines take us directly to his face and it’s easy for the public to start analyzing the poster from there. The first thing that we see is the skater enjoying the moment and then we read about the skate contest.
  • Alignment: Vans didn’t use much text on its poster. They only wrote three sentences and it’s well-aligned. We can see the space in between the text and the edges are similar on each side and there is a line that follows the first two sentences. The third sentence is right in the middle of the text from above.
  • Repetition: At the beginning can be a little hard to perceive but we still see it. There are three “Vans” on the poster. The first one is printed on the hat of the skater. It can be a bit hard to see but people still recognize their logo. The second one is on the top of the poster. Simple but still it’s enough to make people remember it’s a Vans competition. The last one is in between the text. They added it along with their slogan and they even changed the color to make more contrast and the line underneath the name is different from the rest.

To summarize, Vans just showed us a well-design poster. The three design elements that I’ve just analyzed were lines, alignment, and repetition. There are a couple of other elements that we can discuss in a different post. These elements help Vans to connect with their audience and convey their message effectively. Vans do not only use these elements just for this poster, they also use them for all of their messages to their target audience.

 

Vans – Throwing back to the classics

Vans brings back their classic shoes through social media

Vans is throwing back their classic sneakers and they are killing it! Here is the link for the originals post from Vans on Instagram.

 

  1. What is the main purpose of the post? Let their audience know about the throwback of their classic shoes and promote their slip-on shoes.
  2. Who is the audience of the post? The audience of their post is mainly their target audience (men and women who are into music, street culture, art and action sports. They don’t have to be teenagers to wear them. They have a teenager spirit) But they also reach out to a similar audience that’s on Instagram whom may not know about their brand but they share some preferences.
  3. How does the post connect with the audience? I believe this connects perfectly with their audience. They’re appealing to people who like the old style. Vans recreated an 80’s room with different elements that make you aware of the time difference. It brings back that old school rock feeling!
  4. What value does the post provide to their audience? This post is using the attention and the zeitgeist principle. Vans is saying that the old culture is back and it will make you stand out. It also calls the attention to people from different backgrounds. They all know about the 80’s or 90’s or they want to be in there.
  5. How does the post’s design connect and communicates with the audience? It’s a simple photo but there are some elements that help convey a solid message about classic things from the past, such as the slip-on, the tv, the cassettes, the posters, Queen, and so on.
  6. What metrics (likes, shares, re-tweets, etc.) will be used to determine if the post is successful? This was a post on Instagram and it’s easy to track the likes, shares, comments received, followers gained, referral traffic and so on.

Boss everyone – Adidas Soccer social media campaign

Adidas created #BossEveryone on social media for their new soccer cleats

I’ve been playing soccer since I’m six years old. I’ve always been in between Adidas and Nike. So whenever I had to buy a new pair of cleats, I always relied on the looks of them. There has only been only one social media campaign that caught my attention and it might have influenced my decision to purchase a new pair of cleats.

It might have been 2015 when Adidas came out with his new type of cleats. The reason why it resonated with me was that they didn’t have shoelaces. They were so strange to me! Their new cleats were crazy! They were bold!

This new type of cleats needed an extra push since it was something nobody had ever seen before. At least my friends and I wondered how the cleats could have the same grip without the shoelaces. Adidas knew they need to inform their audience about their new product. They had to bring down all the questions about their new soccer cleats.

Adidas came out with their new social campaign “#BossEveryone.” They shared short videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube of soccer players like Mesut Ozil, Oscar, Xabi Alonso, Dele Alli, Thomas Muller and Lass Diarra. They bragged about their soccer skills in all their videos.

Here is a compilation of all their videos from the campaign #BossEveryone:

This was the new pair of cleats from Adidas:

Attention principle: All these videos on social media show a soccer player bragging about their soccer skills with their new pair of cleats. If you’ve been in the sports game, whenever you show off your skills you become the attention point. In the case that players want to stand out in a game, they start doing an extra move. Adidas sold the idea that these cleats would help you to step up your game.

Zeitgeist principle: Soccer is a beautiful game that people play anywhere and anytime. It doesn’t matter your social status, your education level, your background, your skin color, your language, or anything. It brings closer to everyone that shares the same passion. I consider this the reason why the #BossEveryone campaign resonated so much. Even though it was selling a new pair of cleats, the video only focused on the beauty of the sport.

My first photo book

The design process of my first photo book on InDesign

This past week I created my first photo book with some of the pictures I’ve taken throughout this Winter semester 2018 and some other pictures that I’ve taken before. I used Blurb’s plugin on InDesign and the process of creating it was fairly simple.

I’m really happy with my photo book. It turned out great and it has a good quality. This was my first time designing and printing a photo book.

I had some struggles at the beginning with designing the layout of the photo book. It took me a while to find the perfect box size for my images but, in the end, I was able to find a layout that I liked. It was easy to be consistent with the layout design throughout the photo book.

Take a closer look at my photo book

Things you should bring to USA

Back when I was getting my bags ready to go to the States, I had the idea of never coming back.

I didn’t want to leave anything because I purchased all my stuff with my money such as clothes, music instruments, music CD’s, little action figures, and so on.

It might sound harsh but the truth is that you, international student, will only be a visitor for a while. You won’t have a secure place during your time at the States, and chances are you might need to move to different locations from time to time. So, the idea of having just enough things to live comfortably is convenient.

The ideal way to travel to the USA is to bring only one suit case. You won’t need more than that. Keep in mind only the things you will truly need.

Most international students look for housing near their schools to avoid transportation expenses. I was very lucky to be able to live with my uncle during my time in Salt Lake City.

Unfortunately, a couple of my friends had different experiences. Within 2 years, they moved to three different locations. It was easy for them to change from one place to another. The only difficulty was to move out their mattresses and some little furniture but it’s still manageable.

After a year of studying at Salt Lake Community College, I got the opportunity to get my own car. My idea has always been to fit all my stuff in my car and move around without limitations. I always thought of that in case I need to move out to a different city for a job, but not for school.

By the end of 2015 I got accepted at BYU-Idaho and it was time for me to move out. Just like I was hoping for, all my stuff fit into my car. But there was one thing that I wasn’t in my plans. Roberto was coming with me.

This was the second time I remembered the importance of having just the essentials. We had a ton of stuff and it was impossible to fit everything in a small hatchback. We bought a roof rack but it didn’t fit.

We had to give away some of our stuff before we came to Rexburg, Idaho. I still don’t know how we fit almost everything we had in a small hatchback. The ride was tight but we made it.

This time I learned my lesson. I stopped purchasing stuff that I actually don’t need. As long as I have my guitar with me, I’ll be good. This time everything fits in my car and I’m able to move around for any opportunity that comes my way.

Things to do on your spare time

International students, depending on the school, usually have free time during their semester and a lot during their vacations.

You’d probably be thinking: why don’t you work during that time? Well, we are very limited because of our visa.

There are so many things to do aside from working and money is not a problem for most of these activities.

Here is a short list of the activities you can do without spending much money:

  1. Going to the gym: Most of the schools have their own gym open to all the students for no cost. You only need to take your student card with you. It is a good activity to keep yourself healthy and in good shape.
  2. Play your favorite sport: I personally like soccer. I used to play three times a week but it’s a bit hard to find good places to play. Usually, there is people playing in parks every weekend. If you have some money, there is some places that hold small leagues, such as indoor soccer, basketball, volley and so on.
  3. Hiking: Hiking is one of the main outdoor activities in Utah. I decided to try it and it’s easy to do it and it’s a nice experience. You will discover new places around your area that you’ve never seen before. Most of the trails do not have an entrance fee. If you are in Utah, you can check AllTrails and check all the options close to you.
  4. Community service activities: Each school has an office for community service activities. Being part of such activities is a good way to contribute with your community. Plus, it helps to build up your resume.

 

If you have some money that you can spend, you can things like:

  1. Go to concerts/theater: If you like to go out at nights, there is always something going on in your city. Either concerts or theater, they are always a good option to go and hang out for a bit. Most concerts are $18 average and there are always some discounts at the theaters.
  2. Trips around your state: If you can afford to spend the weekend at hotels, you can take a small trip to small towns around your city or go to the closest states of yours. It’s always a nice experience to travel around and discover new places.

How to get a job on a F1 visa

International students have to pay non-resident tuition for the whole time we’re on school. We are not eligible for any kind of financial aid. Moreover, we are very restricted if we want to get a job.

As I shared before, I’m from Peru. I’ve been working since I’m 17 years old. I never liked the idea of asking money to my parents to go out with my friends or any other social activity. I was already used to work and study at the same time.

When I was in Peru, I worked as a part-time and I was able to cover some of my own expenses. I was getting paid the minimum wage but I have enough money to go out with my friends, buy my own stuff and take my family out to dinner.

Once I got to Salt Lake City, I found out that I wasn’t able to work!!!

During the first year, international students are only allowed to work on campus. Since my student visa was still on process, I couldn’t apply to anything until I received the approval for my visa.

It took me almost a whole semester to find a job. I applied for every single job I found. The best places to find more about job openings is through the website of each school. They should have an employment tab or a job board.

At the beginning, I applied only for the jobs I was qualify for. Since I didn’t get any response, I ended up applying to all the jobs on campus. I found out that you won’t lose anything if you try to go out of your comfort zone.

My first job on campus came out of nowhere. My friend Roberto was walking on campus and saw a hiring sign. He called me and we both applied for it. If you are looking for a job, you should also pay attention to what’s around on campus.

I started working for a Thailand restaurant at my school and I really liked the experience. For some reasons, I was forced to look for another job.

There is a third option for people who is looking for a job. There is an employment office at schools. I went there at the beginning of the semester and they gave me four different job options. I applied to all of them and within the next two days I had an interview for those positions.

I ended up accepting the job that called me first. It was the most challenging and I felt I was the perfect fit for me.

If you, my dear international friend, haven’t work previously on USA, don’t worry about it. You will be told to get an authorization to get your Social Security Number (SSN).

The first step is to apply to every single job on campus and to get a position with one of them. Once you get a position, you will have to ask your new boss for an employment letter. This letter will provide your information, the information of your new employer and it will specify that you have just been accepted in there.

You will take this letter to the international office and they will let you know where can you go to get your SSN. It will take a few weeks to receive it but you will instantly get an authorization to work.

An important reminder to all international students who want to work: You can only work 20 hours during the semester. Otherwise, you will be failing to your visa status.

A change of my visa status

I came to Utah on October of 2014. My visa status changed by June of 2015 and I registered for classes for Fall Semester 2015 at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC).

I strongly recommend everyone to get the student visa in your home country before you enter to the U.S. It’s a lot easier and you will save yourself a lot of time. I will do a post about how to apply to a school in the United States, it is not that hard. Please do not freak out. But if you ever find yourself in a similar situation like mine, here is some information.

According to USCIS, you should fill out the I-539 Form (Application to extend/change nonimmigrant status) once you are admitted to the school you applied. Every school who accepts international students have one office for us. They provide us advisor that can guide us through the process.

There is a little trick during this process, you cannot attend school as a student until you have received authorization from USCIS to change your status. Once your petition has been accepted, you will receive an I-797 A form confirming you are now an international student. Please keep that form with you until you return to your home country and you are able to book an appointment with your embassy to get your physical student visa.

Personally, eight months is a long time. I couldn’t do almost anything because I was waiting for my change of visa. I was getting crazy with the idea of being in my home just watching Netflix all day long. I guess I could have watched every single movie and show during that time.

I was new in town and during the little time I was outside I saw there were just a few buses. No phone. No friends. No car. No drum sets neither guitars. Nothing. I only had my uncle and his wife whom I barely knew.

Since I got accepted at SLCC, I had to attend an orientation for international students. My, kind of, first day of school, I met Roberto, another international student from Peru. It’s crazy how we came almost on similar times, even for our vacations before we came to study in the U.S. We have been through a lot and now we both are here in Rexburg, Idaho. I will do another post about our friendship, promise.

Roberto hooked me up with soccer games during the time I waited for my change of status. We played almost three times a week, we went to the gym as many times as we could and we started looking for our little Peruvian community, which came after a while.

I was never used to have a huge vacation time but I did make the best out of it. I got to explore most of the city, I played my favorite sport, I walked as much as I could and I found some Peruvian restaurants to alleviate my homesickness. 

How did I become an international student?

My name is Michael Baca Soto and I’m originally from Lima, Peru. I’ve been an international student since January 2015. I studied at Salt Lake Community College until December of 2016. Recently, I transferred to BYU-Idaho. This blog will share my experiences as an international student.

I grew up in San Miguel, Lima-Peru. I grew up in a city with a gray sky and bars outside my window. Painted walls balanced the lack of green areas and I am still not sure if it’s some kind of art or pure vandalism.

According to RPP News, 58% of Peruvians suffer from stress. Social problems such as public insecurity, work pressure, economic stability among others are the main cause of the stress. I was 22 years old and I was already stressed.

I studied for three years at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) I had part-time and full-time jobs since I was 18. I met a lot of people inside and outside school but opportunities weren’t there. I felt restricted from reaching my potential.

In 2014 I made my second trip two United States. My family and me traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah and we met with my uncle, Jymy, and his wife, Angy. What a lovely city! It isn’t too big, but it isn’t small either. It is quiet, peaceful. Somehow Salt Lake City reminds me of my dad’s hometown, Cusco. It’s close to perfection.

I felt so bad for the city that I didn’t want to go back. When I got back to Peru, I was so excited about Utah that I rushed into the idea of starting a new life there. One more time, I flew to Salt Lake City and I made my first mistake. I didn’t have any knowledge about the process of becoming an international student.

I came with my tourist visa. I thought the process of becoming a student was done once you’re in USA but I was wrong. I waited for almost 8 months to change my visa status. I was able to study in Salt Lake Community College but I lost 8 months of my life.

Even though I rushed myself into my new life, I don’t have any regrets. Somehow everything fitted perfectly and took me to where I am now.

Michael Baca Soto

Image of Michael Baca Soto

I'm Michael Baca Soto and I love marketing, music, and cars!
High goals keep me moving!
Nothing is impossible!

Michael Baca’s Instagram

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