JMU Semester Programs
"As Parents, we want to commend JMU for the planning, supervision, and organization of this program. The semester in Antwerp was structured to provide not only a wonderful European experience but also a truly educational one. The students were well prepared for the semester abroad and supported and supervised while there. Our son is fortunate to have been part of the Antwerp program. It was an experience which will change his future."
Why did you choose this particular program? "I was ready to take COB300 and wasn't really looking to study abroad. I had heard very good things about the program from people on it and decided to sign up."
Was your experience abroad of more, less, or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "More value – this experience is so unique and you learn about yourself and culture – which you don't necessarily at JMU."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "ABSOLUTELY – it was the best experience of my life."
Sophomore Marketing major, Antwerp
Why did you choose this particular program? "I wanted an abroad experience and this fit my schedule and I would not lose any credits."
Was your experience abroad of more, less, or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "It was amazing and I can't compare it to JMU – it's like apples and oranges."
What were your most positive and most negative experiences as a participant in this program? What did you learn from these experiences? "Positive – travel because it opens my mind up to new cultures and realizing my experiences are small. Negative – spending too much time with people in the dorm. I learned patience."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Yes. It is a great experience that taught me so much."
Junior Finance major, Antwerp
Visit the Antwerp: COB 300 page.
[Editors Note: The Antwerp: Marketing Minor program is a new program beginning Summer 2005. Check back later to see student and parent comments.]
Visit the Antwerp: Marketing Minor page.
"JMU's Office of International Studies made the application process and travel preparations efficient and thorough. The administration of the Florence program by Sr. Gentili was top quality. We were most grateful for the secure, well-timed and carefully chaperoned excursions in Italy. It is gratifying to hear our son recount the fact that the transportation was perfectly timed, the hotels clean and safe, the dinners in the nicest of places, and the "no waiting" tours directed by top guides. Extra expenses were minimal."
"Wow!!! The semester in Italy was ‘in our son's words' amazing! This time of study, exploring, adventure, travel, and organization was top notch!!! Thank you for all the time you spent planning and organizing. It will be a time he will never forget! Priceless."
"I just wanted to take a minute and let you know what a great job you are doing with your study abroad program in Florence, Italy. I was very proud to say that I am a former student and graduate of JMU!"
"My son, a UVA senior, had the pleasure of being one of two non-JMU students on the semester abroad program to Florence this past fall. He had an absolutely fabulous experience. He couldn't say enough wonderful things about Allesandro and the experiences he provided for the students, including having them to his home. He made a large group of new friends with great JMU students. His host family couldn't have been better and finally he had a very positive experience working with the JMU office staff as he completed all the required application and forms. He found the JMU international education staff to be much more helpful and accommodating than any of the offices at UVA. Than you for providing such a terrific program."
Why did you choose this particular program? "I have always been interested in Italian culture."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "The most positive has been living with an Italian family. I have gotten so close to them and have learned so much about their culture. The most negative has been being away from home; but that in itself is a wonderful growing experience."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Yes! I intend to go home and do just that, because this has been one of the best experiences of my life."
Sophomore Communications Major, Florence
Why did you choose this particular program? "Italian heritage, excellent reputation, student recommendation and small size of program."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "One semester abroad gave me 1,000 times the experience of one semester at JMU. A once in a lifetime experience."
What were your most positive and most negative experiences as a participant in this program? What did you learn from these experiences? "Positive experiences are countless – as a result I am a more confident, well-rounded person. I learned that my life is truly what I make of it and the possibilities are endless. Truly considering living in Italy one day!"
Junior Psychology Major, Florence
Why did you choose this particular program? "I wanted to go to a foreign country in which English was not the primary language, to get a complete study abroad opportunity."
Which course was the most beneficial? Why? "Poli-Sci – I always wanted to work for the government, and now I realize I want to do something including U.S. and EU relations."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "This was by far the most eye-opening and important semester I have had at JMU."
Junior Public Administration Major (Political Communication Minor) Florence
Why did you choose this particular program? "Family is from Italy."
How did the faculty at the program site compare to JMU faculty in amount of work assigned and quality of work expected from you? "Although I don't think as much work was assigned, I feel like I learned more here than I ever could have at JMU – about subjects areas and about myself."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "More – when taken out of a familiar and comfortable setting, you have to adjust on your own and then realize how strong (or weak) of a person you really are."
Sophomore Psychology Major, Florence
Why did you choose this particular program? "Good price, small program, interesting classes, nice city."
Did you interact with country nationals? If so, how often? "Yes – with my family at dinner – my sister Fiametta and my Italian mamma mostly. I hung out with my host brother and his friends sometimes. Talked with Italians in bars and pubs."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at William and Mary? Why? "Much more valuable because I fell like my eyes have been opened to the world. I am curious of things – I want to know what's happening in the world. I love knowing about different cultures and appreciating them."
Junior Kinesiology Major, Florence
Visit the Florence page.
"Everything at St. Andrews is going just fine! We are in our second week of classes now, and I enjoy them very much. As far as transfer credit goes, I decided to focus instead on philosophy and applied for those credits instead without trouble. Thank you again for your efforts there. I'm living in St. Salvator's Hall. It is absolutely gorgeous! There is a beautiful ocean view from our window, and the daily house keeping services are going to spoil me!
Not to mention, its incredibly close to all four of my classes on St. Salvator's Quad. I've already managed to fit in a trip to Edinburgh last weekend and am again going this weekend to meet up with a friend from home.
For such a small town, there is never a loss of things to do! The clubs and societies have active social lives. Tomorrow is my first tasting with the Wine and Cheese club and at the end of the month I train to jump out of an airplane with the sky diving club! On a more scholastic note, I have also joined the law society here and have attended multiple debates held by the students, which are always entertaining. Hope all is well on the other side of the pond!"
St. Andrews Fall 2004
"The city of Oxford is incredible - a little bit like living in a museum. ... The city centre is
filled all day and most of the night with people going about their business. ... I spent the better part of my first week here wandering around in a state bordering on amazement of the architecture and rich history of the city and the university.
... We had our black tie OPUS welcome dinner last night where everyone was dressed up and began by drinking sherry in the formal dining hall then proceeded through a five course dinner beginning with soup all the way through the main course, wine, dessert, cheese, coffee and finally port. The port accompanied a barrage of toasts, beginning with toasting the Queen.
... Also, college life at Oxford is vastly different from JMU. Your college is really all about social life. Your tutors may not be associated with the same college as you and they may not choose to meet with you at a college at all. You may meet at a library, a
cafe, a pub, or their house. Each college is tiny compared to U.S. colleges (between 300 and 500 students, roughly) so everyone knows each other in their college.
... There are a ton of great student organizations to join. This really helps get involved with English students and students at other colleges as well. Pretty much anything you are interested in you can find a club for, be it sky-diving or croquet or Buddhism. There are also plenty of concerts and excellent museums to keep you busy.
...you are having a life-changing experience. You get to live in this wonderful, incredible and historic college town where you can cite some of the most prestigious names in any field as your alumni. You can go to the Oxford Student Union where people like
Einstein, Mother Theresa, and the Queen of England have debated. You get an opportunity the likes of which very few others have. You get to take part in something very special. You get to attend Oxford University."
Visit the Study At Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Andrews page.
"I am writing to let you know how much I appreciate all your help in the preparation for my son's trip to London. Thank you for your advice and suggestions. Your kindness and patience with parents are a great asset to this program."
"I just wanted to say thank you for all of your hard work that will make my semester in London truly memorable. And in addition to your help and willingness to help my friend Nathan. Your helpfulness is what JMU is all about. Enjoy your goodies!"
Why did you choose this particular program? "They spoke English in London; I felt like we would do a lot of interesting and entertaining things; it would be very enriching."
Was your experience abroad more, less, or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "Much more value – I learned a lot about myself as a person and felt like I grew a lot – this was a great experience."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Yes – it is a great experience and I've grown so much more than I would have if I'd been at JMU. I did things I wouldn't have ever done otherwise and I learned a lot about life, other people, and myself."
Junior Psychology Major (Sociology Minor), London
Visit the London page.
"I want you all to know it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life thus far and my entire group continues to feel the same way as well. Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity."
Why did you choose this particular program? "Because I have wanted to go to Spain since I was a little girl and learn Spanish."
Was your experience abroad more, less, or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "More value – I learned about myself – I grew and changed in many ways. It gave me a chance to make new friends."
What were your most positive and most negative experiences as a participant in this program? What did you learn from these experiences? "Positive – learning to speak Spanish and making life-long friends – these are experiences that will stay with me the rest of my life."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Definitely. My life will of course be different now. New friends, independence, new culture, new language."
Junior English Major (Spanish Minor), Salamanca
Why did you choose this particular program? "Because it was easier to stay within JMU and I had heard good things about the program."
Was your experience abroad more, less, or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "MORE! Because I got to meet wonderful people, learn about a country, a language, and a culture in addition to learning about classroom material stuff (which I could also practice outside of class."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Yes, it's an amazing learning experience."
Junior IBUS Major (Spanish Minor), Salamanca
Why did you choose this particular program? "Language benefits."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "More, you learn more about yourself and your world in a foreign country than you can expect to learn in your own."
What were your most positive and most negative experiences as a participant in this program? What did you learn from these experiences? "The most positive thing was the first month when I was in awe of everything and also proud of myself for doing it, being here, and everyday doing something I never imagined I'd do."
Junior English Major (Spanish Minor), Salamanca
Why did you choose this particular program? "I already speak Spanish, family is from Latin America so I wanted to learn about the Spanish culture: pertains to my major."
Express three or four things that help us to understand how you felt living in the city of Salamanca? "A whole different environment from us, foreigners are not always welcomed, people have different perceptions of things, particularly when it comes to politics."
International Affairs/Spanish Major, Salamanca
Visit the Salamanca page.
"All right – I don't want to leave at all. This trip has gone far, far beyond anything I ever imagined. So many amazing people and so many incredible things to see...In all
honesty the things I have learned on this trip about Kenya, about human beings and about myself will undoubtedly stick with me the rest of my life."
Visit the Kenya page.
"The students have a strong bond with these wonderful people and already are planning a reunion back to Martinique and possibly employment! They lived a new culture, spoke a new language, an found new friends with local islanders as well as other international students"
"I was so happy to be able to see the grand finale as a parent, to see that my tuition money was so well spent on this marvelous semester, and knowing that the children of other parents were all taken such good care of for 3 months."
Why did you choose this particular program? "I chose this program because it fit in perfectly with my focus in Comparative Literature, which is Francophone/Caribbean Lit and postcolonial theory."
Was your experience abroad of more, less or equal value to a semester at JMU? Why? "It was more valuable. I learned so much just by being here about myself and about this culture, about national identity and what it means to have been colonized. I also formed some among relationships."
What suggestions would you make to future participants of this program? "Come with open minds and eyes, and you will learn and see more than you can imagine."
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Yes, definitely. It is unique in its location and its cultural immersion. It is a great program that is a great learning experience as well as an awesome time in general."
Junior Comparative Literature Major, Martinique
Why did you choose this particular program? "I love French but have already studied in France. It love the Caribbean climate and culture and had already visited Martinique once before and loved it."
Did you interact with host country nationals? If so, how often? "Yes just about every day. I made some really wonderful friends who I will hopefully keep in touch with for a long time. I will also definitely come back to visit too. Everyone here was for the most part, very welcoming and excited we were here. The only problems that arised were with the Martinican guys who would just try to harass us every day. But we are different to them – we just ignored them.
Would you recommend this program to others? Why or why not? "Most definitely. I want to do it all over again. The families were wonderful and the people at UAG were more willing to help if there was a problem. You really couldn't ask for a more beautiful place to spend a semester. I learned more about myself here than I ever thought possible and I think the most important thing is that I learned to enjoy life as it is. Don't rush it because it's beautiful! I also improved my French tremendously. The draw back to the program … its too short and I didn't want to leave. I will definitely come back though.
International Business/French Major, Education Minor, Martinique
[Editors note: The Martinique program was previously offered during Fall and Spring semesters, but currently is only offered during the summer.]
Visit the Martinique page.
From an intern at the American Chamber of Commerce in Prague:
"I certainly enjoyed my time in Prague. It was an outstanding opportunity for me, and the experience helped open a few doors here in Washington, DC when I began my job hunt upon graduation."
From a Semester in London student who became an intern at the US Embassy in Costa Rica:
"I am gainfully employed with a salary job that will allow me to travel the world. It feels really good to write that.. . . You helped to spark my love of travel, starting with London, and continued to encourage it by helping me with my internship in Costa Rica. You have been an inspiration. Thanks again."
From an intern at the US Embassy in London:
“I was extremely pleased with the program overall. JMU has some amazing contacts overseas that give students incredible opportunities. I will highly recommend this program!”
Concerning an intern at Phoenix Publishing in London:
"Your last intern has just informed me that she now intends to go to graduate school in magazine publishing, largely due to her experience here with us in London a few months ago."
From an intern at Dr. Johnson's House and the Dickens House Museum in
"Thank you for selecting me and making the arrangements surrounding my internship . . . . Post-internship, I now feel more ambitious, a stronger sense of direction, and a lot more confident in my abilities. Many thanks to you and the selection committee for giving me such an amazing experience."
From an intern at the American Chamber of Commerce in Prague:
"I’m pleased to see that JMU is continuing this wonderful program. I was an intern at the AmCham, Czech Republic. . . . It was an outstanding opportunity for me, and the experience helped open a few doors here in Washington, DC when I began my job hunt upon graduation in 1995."
From an intern at the Globe Neuss Shakespeare Festival in Neuss, Germany:
"I have gotten to know so many interesting people, and I have truly gained valuable practical work experience through my position here. This job is an interesting combination of professional work that uses my education. . . . I like that I am working so hard every day for a positive purpose — to make this festival possible, instead of working half as hard just to make money. . . . I feel satisfied and comfortable here . . . and this summer and this internship have been an overall wonderful experience."
Visit the International Internships page.
"Your cooperation just makes the [Visa] process easier and I am very glad I came into the office on Friday."
"Thank you for all your help getting the letters that were needed, I don't think I would have been able to get the Visa without your help."
Recent article in the JMU Breeze