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Yoo Jin Lee

Michelle smiling outside

Home Country: South Korea/South Korea
Major/Minor: Spanish / Secondary Education / TESOL minor
Graduation: December 2014

Why did you choose JMU?

One of my goals during high school was to attend a college in the U.S. While talking with my college advisor about my future, he told me that when he was in high school, he had applied to James Madison University but wasn’t accepted. I asked him about the education department, and he spoke very highly of it. He recommended JMU, because educationally and socially he believed that I would be able to grow, and financially, it wasn’t going to be a burden to my parents. This was music to my ears! Everything about JMU sounded amazing. I did some research and saw how beautiful the campus was. So, I applied and got into JMU! Although I had some other options, it made the most sense for me to choose JMU.  

What is your favorite class?

I don’t know if this can be considered as a class, but because I get credit for it, I think it is. I am a secondary education and TESOL minor. This semester, my TESL 470 class has a practicum with it, TESL 381. In TESL 381, I get to go to Skyline Middle School and observe, help, and teach along side the ESL teacher in a Newcomers classroom. This Newcomers class is specifically to help newly arrived immigrant students to Harrisonburg learn English and slowly integrate them into a grade level classroom.  As an aspiring ESL teacher, this practicum gives me a look into what I could be doing in the future. I get to help students learn English and try out the strategies I learn in my class. It’s also a great way for me to get practice and feel comfortable at standing in front of the classroom. And so far, I love being an ESL teacher! 

Besides studying, how do you occupy your time?

If I’m not at carrier, I love spending time with my friends. Last year, I had the chance to get close to the LINKers. We formed our own little family. Every weekend, we hung out either at somebody’s apartment or restaurant. We went to watch movies. We celebrated each other’s birthdays. And we are still really close. Aside from friends, I like going to events on campus: culture shows, concerts, conferences, plays, musicals, and etc. There is so much to do on campus! If I’m not on campus, at home, I love cooking. According to my friends, I am a decent cook. I love cooking Korean food, like Kimchi soup and Kimchi fried rice. 

What clubs/activities are you involved with at JMU?

Currently, I am an active member of the International Student Association (ISA). It is an organization focused in spreading diversity around campus. This past year, ISA has grown and reached many other clubs and has become a very respectable club representing diversity. I am also a member of the Korean Christian Fellowship (KCF). It is a Christian group of college students. KCF recently became an official club at JMU.

What do you like best about JMU?

I am the type of person that likes to eat, but seriously eat a lot! I enjoy having a meal with friends, and JMU provides us with the best! My favorite thing about JMU is the food. We have so much to choose from! Our campus is huge, and there is a place to eat everywhere. There are 21 places to choose from! Our school ranked 2nd in the nation for best college food. No wonder the food is amazing here!

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

Keep a positive mind; everything is a learning experience. As international students, we have expectations of what college life in the U.S. can be. Socially, we want to ‘fit in’ with the cool kids. Academically, we want to succeed. Sometimes, things aren’t the way we think or want them to be. It’s important to keep a positive mind and take every situation and mistake as a learning experience. I have learned that no matter how difficult, serious, and big a problem seems, as long as I look at it from a positive perspective, I can learn from it and not make the same mistake again. Just relax and enjoy the beginning of a new chapter in your life!