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Julia Koczat

Michelle smiling outside

Home Country: USA/India, Egypt & Bangladesh
Major/Minor: Justice Studies: Global Concentration 
Graduation: May 2016

Why did you choose JMU?

Growing up as a Third Culture Kid and being immersed in a variety of cultures I have developed a strong passion for helping and making a difference in someone else’s life. When I found out that JMU’s motto was, “Be the change” I felt an instant connection to the school. I knew it was a school that would help me not only continue to grow academically, but encourage me to continue being an active citizen. I then came on a campus tour and fell more in love with the school from its breath taking mountain views, to the overjoyed and spirited students proudly wearing purple and gold while walking around campus. I left the tour knowing that JMU was the right place for me and that after years of not knowing where to call home, I felt as though I had finally found it right here in Harrisonburg. 

What is your favorite class?

As a member of the International Learning Community, during my freshman year,  I took a class called: “Making sense of beliefs and values”. The class was structured in a way that allowed students to engage, learn and build off of each other. It opened my eyes to new perspectives and made me realize that each person sees things differently because of their childhood and experiences. It helped me grow into a more open-minded individual and to appreciate our own unique backgrounds that helped make us who we are today. 

Besides studying, how do you occupy your time?

I enjoy staying active so I go to gym and workout. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and going on spontaneous adventures with them to places like Reddish Knob or to Shenandoah National Park, where the views are picture perfect! 

What clubs/activities are you involved with at JMU?

JMU offers a wide variety of ways to get involved based on your personal interests. I enjoy being a member of the Gandhi Center here on campus that aims to promote nonviolence around campus, the local community and internationally through various student led initiatives and events. I am also a member of JMU’s Student Government Association (SGA) helping represent the voice of the students andI also play on the SGA intramural dodgeball team. 

What do you like best about JMU?

I don’t think it’s possible to just choose the single best thing about JMU, but I love the sense of community and respect the students have for their school and for each other. JMU encourages students to hold the doors open for each other, take pride in wearing school spirit and appreciate the importance of a higher education.

What advice would you give to international students who are considering studying at JMU?

Leaving home is never easy, but coming to a place like JMU makes that transition easier. JMU students are welcoming of different cultures and backgrounds. Don’t be scared to try new things or develop new interests. JMU offers so many different ways for you to get involved and meet people with the same passions or interests as you. Without a doubt JMU will quickly become your home away from home.