International Student and Scholar Services Team Supports International
The International Student and Scholar Services team in the Office of International Programs provides support for nearly 500 international students studying at JMU on non-immigrant or temporary visas. Here’s a glimpse of what the ISSS staff offers:
Welcome to LIFE – Leaders in International Friendship Exchange
The Leaders in International Friendship Exchange (LIFE) program was launched in January of 2013 with 28 JMU international students and 18 local families initially participating. The LIFE program matches such students with local community members who are interested in connecting with them. This completely volunteer program facilitates friendship and cultural exchange. International students choose to participate in LIFE in order to learn more about American culture through interaction with an American family, improve conversational English skills and understand and feel more relaxed in the local community. LIFE community volunteers join the program in order to learn about diverse cultures, provide a comfortable environment to students far away from home and promote global understanding in the Harrisonburg area.
Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner – Bringing Communities Together
The ISSS celebrated Thanksgiving at a potluck dinner with more than 100 international students and families who joined the LIFE program.
The View from Over There
What happens to students who live abroad and who want to get a feel for what the campus looks and feels like? How can admitted international students value the many great resources that JMU has to offer, including its picturesque campus? The LINKers (students from the Leader for International Networking & Knowledge program) have finally resolved this situation by creating a virtual campus tour through the eyes of international students.
Conversation Partners – The Big Benefits of Small Talk
The Conversation Partner Program, which began in the fall of 2012 after a successful pilot program the previous spring, provides a unique opportunity for the mutual exchange of culture and, in some cases, language. Domestic and international students are matched for a semester and are expected to meet for at least one hour each week. A list of weekly topics guides their conversations, and monthly activities (pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving dinner, coffee hour, etc.) are offered for the larger group. Of the 165 applications we received for the fall and 128 for the spring, a large number were from students in JMU’s International Study Center. This program gave them exceptional insight into the world of U.S. college students, an opportunity to practice their English skills, and a chance to learn about U.S. culture. Many of the domestic students enjoyed sharing their background, learning about another tradition, and using a language (Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, etc.) other than English. Every Conversation Partner emerges from the program a better global citizen.