JMU Will Unlock The World For You!

Set your own course and follow it fearlessly!


by Nanfei Liu


SUMMARY: Shukrana Shukrullah (’24) is truly a force to be reckoned with! She was considering 21 schools for college but ultimately chose JMU because it was love at first sight. As a Centennial Scholar, she has created multiple opportunities to explore her passion for travel and music.

The experience of global learning prepared her with invaluable life skills and culturally informed perspectives. As an independent scholar, Shukrana, designed her own course of study! Her individualized major is in Music Management and Production, she is also a triple minor in British Media and Communications, Asian Studies, and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies Minor.


1) Why did you choose JMU?

During my high school senior year, I went to ChoralFest at JMU with my school choir. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but that is what happened to me with JMU when I stepped onto the quad. It was the perfect Fall day and I got that feeling of, this is where I want to be. JMU’s robust study abroad program has always been on my radar and I knew from the start that I wanted to travel as much as possible.

10.png2) What is your major and why did you choose this field to study?

I was going to take the traditional route of studying vocal performance through the School of Music. Then I realized my passion was in music production and the business side of this industry. I crafted a degree that would set me up with job prospects post-college through the JMU Independent Scholar program!

3) Did you always know you wanted to study abroad? What led you to make that decision?

My family is from Afghanistan, I was born in Uzbekistan but I was raised in America. Being the child of first-generation immigrants resulted in an identity that craved to explore the world. Coming to JMU gave me the best opportunities to travel. It makes a huge difference when you are studying while also traveling. The best part was meeting new people because when you are with people you know you are more sheltered, I was pushed to challenge my boundaries and I became more independent and my worldview was expanded.

4) If you have advice for students who want to participate in programs while navigating a pandemic, what would you say?

Don’t be afraid to take that risk! It’s so important to remember that you may never get another chance like this to travel and learn. It is so much better to live with the idea that you gave yourself the chance to go abroad rather than regretting that you never tried. It’s not as scary as it looks, there will be little hiccups along the way but it’s nothing you wouldn’t be able to manage. It’s ok to feel scared because this is the stage when you are becoming an adult and learning how to navigate problems. Students may be worried about how the pandemic will affect their travel plans. We are in a better place than students during 2020, companies and CGE has had time to adjust and provide resources. So now it’s not that bad and we are prepared! CGE will do the best they can because the student’s safety and needs are a priority. 


5) After your time abroad - How are you different? How are you the same?

When you study abroad self-reflections are constant. The way I’ve changed is that I became more independent because studying abroad taught me how to enjoy my own company. During my semester in London, I completed an internship with British Youth Music Theater, which was my first! That experience taught me so much about company culture and cultivated professional skills. I made a lot of big realizations such as not wanting to have a big-city job. Since I was little, I always thought I wanted to work in a big city but my semester abroad helped me come to my truth that I may not want to pursue that environment. I learned so many important lessons and it was more enjoyable because I was traveling!

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Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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