Part 2 of a Q&A with Thomas Lavenir

Posted 24 June 2019

Thomas Lavenir is the Assistant Director of the Center for Multicultural/International Student Services at James Madison University. He works to ensure that international students have a smooth transition upon arriving at JMU. He has been in the role since 2004. 

What is the LINK program and why might international students find the program beneficial?

By virtue of being a student, you will definitely be impacted by the LINKers. You will meet them when you first arrive on campus as they help you navigate the campus, or answer your questions and concerns. You will see them in your classes and during the many sports, cultural, and religious events that are taking place on campus as well. You will definitely cross paths with them, and they will always be available to talk to you and refer you the places and individuals who can assist and/or provide you the answers that you need. LINKers serve as peer mentors for the global Dukes community, so you should always feel free to say hello and talk to them.

Being a LINKer is a job in which anyone who has studied on campus for at least 2 semesters can apply for. Not only will you get to assist other international students, and earn money, but you will also gain some great leadership experience and cross-cultural skills that are really desirable for employers.

How does International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) support international students?

How does JMU integrate technology into its education of international students?

  • SIM card- We provide a SIM card to every new student prior to their departure, so they can activate it and start using their phone as soon as they land in the U.S.
  • In addition to the multitude of information found on our CGE webpage, our site features a chatroom.
  • Terra Dotta, the name of our international student’s portal, serves as the main source of information related to immigration matters.
  • GoinGlobal is an online resource with a wealth of information about working in specific cities in the U.S. and Canada, including job search databases, job fairs, cost of living, job prospects/industry trends, and even cultural advice. It also provides information for those interested in working overseas, and those with special H1B VISA considerations who are seeking employment in the U.S.
  • Intl Dukedog is the international student community’s virtual mascot. If you want to be in the know, find out the main new trends, cool events, and everything international student related, go on Facebook and friend Intl Dukedog.
  • The LINKers have their own Instagram account (@jmulinkers). Check out what they are up to!
  • If you are trying to picture what international students do and what JMU’s campus looks like, definitely check out CGE’s flickr account.

If you were talking to an international student who was considering applying to JMU, why would you tell him or her to make the decision to come to Harrisonburg?

I’ll let our own international students answer this question for me.

“JMU has an excellent ranking and has been recognized as one of the best campus food spots in United States. The campus is amazing, huge, and beautiful. People are nice too.” Aye Nyein Chan – Myanmar (Burma)

“The Business program is recognized and well known in the field, plus international students benefit from a lot of assistance.” Caio Garbim – Brazil

“JMU provides both a great education and a friendly environment where people are nice to each other and care about each other’s growth and experience. JMU’s location is in a beautiful and quiet place which can help you concentrate on your studies.” Lingjia Kong – China

“JMU has strong college spirit.” Susie Nguyen – Russia & Vietnam

“JMU is amazing! Attending JMU was the best decision I ever made.” Dorcas Samalenge – Democratic Republic of Congo

“You will always see smiling faces holding doors wherever you go.” Seyma Nur Yilmaz – Turkey

“JMU has so much to offer students and can provide many opportunities.” Maggie Zheng – USA & China


Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.