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Rayan Bahlaiwa

Picture of Rayan

Home Country: Saudi Arabia
Major/Minor: Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communications
Graduation: May 2015

Why did you choose JMU?

The main reason I chose JMU was because I knew it was located in a small town, which means that it is a close community in which it is easy to meet and befriend many people. Another reason I chose James Madison was because of its magnificent campus architecture. It stood out for me when I was applying for universities and I considered it as the most beautiful. Other than campus and the people, JMU presents a great majority of majors to choose from that other universities don’t have.

What is your favorite class?

GANTH 196 with Prof. Lawler. I really enjoyed this class mainly because of Prof. Lawler who brings color to the course topics with his genuine high spirit, as well as his sense of humor. The course topic is also very interesting, in which it makes you think about the world that we live in and how things fall together. 

Besides studying, how do you occupy your time?

While I’m not studying, I spend a lot of time hanging out with friends. Whether it is around campus or around Harrisonburg, there is always something to do my friends and I. For example, when we hang out around campus, there is always some sort of event that we can go to. Then there is the University Recreation Center where we can play a variety of sports and activities. When we hang out outside of campus, we find things to do around the Harrisonburg Downtown area, or go bowling, or go to the movies.

What clubs/activities are you involved with at JMU?:

International Student Association. ISA brings a great sense of diversity into JMU through the variety of events and activities that they offer. They bring together students from around the world and give them the chance to express their cultures to the majority of JMU students. Some of their events involve charity formals/dance parties, picnics, soccer tournaments, fashion shows, and more! Their most successful event is ISA’s annual culture show, in which it accomplished great successes over the years and won multiple awards. It brings me please to be part of ISA and share experiences with different cultures.

What do you like best about JMU?

The dukes spirit, the quad, and carrier library! The dukes spirit can be best seen during football games, where students throw gold and purple streamers when JMU score a touchdown, creating a great scene the expresses the spirit of JMU’s students. During fall semester, especially at the beginning, the Quad is where everything happens. Students come out to spend time with friends, study, play sports, and more, creating an atmosphere that can be enjoyed by everyone.

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

The JMU experience is absolutely incomparable. It is not possible to not fall in love with campus and its people. The most important thing to do is to involve yourself with as many organizations and groups as possible, that way you will guarantee yourself an unforgettable college experience.