"I'm considering staying in Harrisonburg for summer. What are my options?"

On Campus:

  • Undergraduate students considering living on campus should refer themselves to the Office of Residence life's summer housing webpage
  • Contact Info: res-life@jmu.edu. | 540-568-4663

Off Campus:

  • Use the Off-Campus Housing website to search for subleases or roommates.
    • sublease is the renting of an apartment, or section of an apartment, from the students who signed and pay the full time lease to another person/student for a portion of the existing lease contract. Subleases are particularly popular over the summer as domestic students typically do not stay in Harrisonburg over the summer and are looking for individuals to occupy their apartment/room and pay for the rent accordingly.
  • The website features a specific search engine for finding roommates and subleases, for posting and for responding to a listing. Take advantage of the Resources section of the webpage.
  • Contact Info: Off Campus Life Office | The Union- Suite 404 | (540) 568-6071


  • The cost, listing, and registration of summer classes are found on this summer session website
  • Keep in mind that classes are more intensive than what you may be used to during the regular semesters, so taking more than one class may be more than you can handle.
  • Unlike in the fall and spring semesters, there are no minimum credit hours that you must abide by.
  • Contact Info: You should discuss your plans with your academic advisor as they may have some advice and/or suggestions to offer you.

At another institution:

  • To take a course at another institution for transfer credit, obtain prior approval from the appropriate department where the course belongs and complete the Transfer Credit Approval Form.
  • Make sure to read the general transfer policies you must follow.
  • The other institution may ask you to submit a letter saying that you have a valid F-1 record that will stay at JMU. Email ISSS for this letter.
  • Contact Info: You should discuss your plans with your academic advisor as they may have some advice and/or suggestions to offer you.

On Campus

Over the summer (and over other breaks), you can work up to 40 hours per week.

  • Many offices and departments on campus rely on student assistants to conduct office tasks, assist with research projects, provide assistance to run specific summer programs, etc.  It is never too early to ask around if any offices or departments on campus are looking for someone.
  • To look for job postings, go to JMU Joblink  for any current job postings on campus (only the ones listed as “- IE” are the ones you are eligible to apply and work for)
  • To look for job postings to work for Aramark/Dining Services, go to Aramark’s website and look for “Hourly and Seasonal” under Worker Type in the job description
  • Contact Info: Marlee Meikrantz Sharp, Associate Director, CGE International Student & Scholar Services | (540) 568-7172 | ISSS: Off-Campus Employment webpage

Off Campus

  • You need authorization to work off-campus and the work must be related to your major.
  • You need to apply at least 90 days prior to your employment start date to get OPT authorization.
  • If you are receiving credit from a course (such as an internship course or an independent study) related to your major or your major requires you to do an internship, you may be eligible for the CPT work authorization.
  • Contact Info: Marlee Meikrantz Sharp, Associate Director, CGE International Student & Scholar Services | (540) 568-7172 | ISSS: Off-Campus Employment webpage
"I am considering leaving Harrisonburg over the break."
Self Storage

If you live on-campus you will be able to leave your belongings in your room over the Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring breaks; however, during the summer break you will need to find a place to store them.

If you are not packing all of your belongings with you, you will need to figure out where to store them until you come back to Harrisonburg/JMU. As a general rule, consider renting a space with other peers/friends to split the space and the cost. Transportation costs may factor in as well.

  • Refer yourself to this list of general storage units for rent
  • Consider referring yourself to: Neighbor, a peer-to-peer platform that connects people in and around Harrisonburg who need a place to store their belongings with others' unused storage space.
Travel Signature

If you are traveling internationally, make sure your I-20 has a valid travel signature on page 2. Travel signatures are valid for 1 year.

The ISSS office is open during most breaks (except Winter Break), so you can stop by for a travel signature if needed -or- you can email isss@jmu.edu for a digital signature on your I-20 Form.

What should I do over the breaks?

This question is especially relevant if you live on-campus, as residence halls close during the Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Breaks. 

Ask your friends and roommates what their plans are and if you could join them! During Thanksgiving Break many will be happy to have you join them and/or offer some suggestions for you:

Option #1: Simply ask “Hey, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?“
Option #2: Explain your situation and ask for suggestions: “I don't have a family here in the States. Do you have any idea where I could go during the break?”
Option #3: Be straightforward! Ask them “I would love to experience a traditional Thanksgiving celebration with an American family, so do you think I can come over to your place for the break?”

Take this time to explore the US and spend your break with your new classmates. Traveling in groups will reduce your hotel and transportation costs. As you plan a trip, consider staying at a hostel and/or Airbnb, especially if you are concerned about money – they tend to be cheaper than hotels.

Harrisonburg and the surrounding area have some excellent opportunities to explore and immerse yourself in local culture. You can find many of our recommended places to visit here.

JMU’s Community Service-Learning office offers Alternative Break Programs which allows groups of JMU students to volunteer their time and make a difference for a specific cause. You can choose the trip based on the cause or the destination of your choice.

If these options fail, contact ISSS, as we may be able to offer other suggestions!

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