In the following interview an international student at James Madison University (JMU) in Virginia talks about her experience studying abroad and her future plans.
Question (Q): What is your name and what are you studying at JMU?
Vine (V): My name is Vine and I am from Nigeria. I am studying communications and minoring in sociology.
Q: How did you choose JMU among so many other schools?
V: For me the most important thing was the ease of getting here and coming to a place where I would assimilate without any stress and hardship. I was searching online, and I just loved the campus and everything that the website had to say about the people and the atmosphere at JMU. JMU was my first choice, and I was so excited when I got admitted.
Q: Do you think you have changed or developed since you arrived to JMU?
V: I am really introverted and I am not really good talking to people. For that reason, I chose to be a communication studies major. I needed to develop communication skills, as they are really important when you are trying to get a job, market yourself and connect with people to grow your network. I have definitely changed from my freshman year. Now that I am a senior, I can see the difference.
Q: Did you find JMU’s International Study Center helpful when you first arrived?
V: The International Study Center (ISC) and Adam Copeland, center director, have helped so many other international students before our group, that when we came they understood us and were able to help us with any questions and concerns.
Q: What do you like about the JMU campus?
V: I like the human touch that the students, professors and staff bring. People hold the doors open for you and say ‘good morning’ when you are walking by, even though they do not know you.
Q: Are you planning to get a job after graduating?
V: I have started to search for jobs. I would like to work here in Harrisonburg so I do not have to do two-hour commutes. I just want to be able to be involved in a community. I am from a small city in Nigeria, called Port Harcourt, and I am used to living in small cities.
Q: Do you have any long-term future plans?
V: I think two or three years down the road, I would like to come back to JMU and get a Master’s degree in communications and advocacy.
Q: And finally, if your friend from Nigeria was thinking about coming to the ISC at JMU, what would you say to them?
V: I would say that it is a very smart idea because there are people here who are expecting you and they are ready to help you out and make things a little easier. I would tell them that it is a very smart thing to do and that you are in good hands.
In this interview Vine talks about many benefits of studying abroad, from personal like becoming comfortable with living in a new environment, to academic like getting a quality education with bright future prospects. If any of you had experienced studying abroad or are a current student, share you stories on social using hashtag #StudyUSAJourney.