Choosing a college in the US


Contributor(s): Thomas Lavenir

[My Perspective is a series of reflections and interviews meant to depict different JMU globally-minded individuals’ perspectives of their JMU experiences.]

Representing JMU abroad during college fairs and giving presentations in high schools are exciting opportunities that many ISSS staff members and other JMU faculty have been given for the past 3 years through our collaboration with Study Group. Study Group partners with JMU for in-country recruitment of international students and provides an English pathway program where students who meet all of the admissions criteria except for the required English fluency can take language and Gen. Ed. classes.

I have personally travelled to China (more specifically: Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zengzhou, Ningbo, and Shanghai) and Korea (Seoul). Ed Muldoon, in our office, most recently travelled to Azerbaijan (Baku), Georgia (Tbilisi) and Ukraine (Kiev, Lviv, Odessa). Such opportunities allow us to obtain better insights into the  recruitment world, some of the paths that students take to get to JMU, and some of their educational systems prior to attending JMU.

While in Seoul, I met with John Hsu, he described his role as the Associate Recruitment Manager in North Asia Region & Hong Kong, as a great and unique opportunity to help students prepare for their journey abroad, especially since he was an international student in the US for over 15 years. For him, “it’s really like talking to my younger self.”

Understanding, in part, the cultural and linguistic differences is important. For recruiters in China and Korea challenge is the ability to promote JMU in a culture where national rankings is the way to gauge the reputation and the quality of a university. This is especially challenging when one needs to articulate that JMU values personal experiences and making a difference. John however noted that knowing these differences has allowed him to make the argument that  “social expectations are extremely different and to me, this is the real value of studying abroad. Cultural agility is a must in today's fast-changing global economy.”

Due to the small amount of time provided to represent and promote a university, it can sometimes be challenging to have an in-depth conversation with students about what it means to study abroad but ultimately, John wants international students “to really think about their goals in the future and how the study abroad experience would help them achieve it.”

What do you think? What was your experience-like looking for colleges? What ultimately lead you to choose JMU? Would you be interested in meeting one of us in your part of the world if time allowed? We would love to hear from you. Send us an e-mail at

Back to Top

Published: Thursday, April 5, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

Related Articles