Madison International Learning Community (M.I.)

A space for global dialogue and connections.


by Nanfei Liu


SUMMARY: Camille Alonso ('25) is from Virginia and before she arrived on the doorstep of JMU she had one goal in mind: to learn about the diverse experiences of others from around the world. During her time within the Madison International Residential Community, she learned that "although we are all different, we are not at all separate from each other. We all share basic human needs; we share similar struggles."

Written by Camille Alonso ('25) 

mi2.pngWhen I decided to come to JMU, I knew that I wanted to apply to the Madison International Learning Community (M.I) because I wanted to grow. There was so much I have yet to learn about other cultures or even my own despite where I lived or how I grew up.

I never had the opportunity to talk with others and discover similarities or differences between myself and others. I knew that, in an increasingly global society, I would need to experience others’ opinions, experiences, and lives that were drastically different from my own to understand the people around me. The M.I Learning Community provided that safe space for dialogue where I could actively engage with the unique and diverse bodies around me.mi1.png

Some important lesson I’ve learned from my time in the M.I is that, although we are all different, we are not at all separate from each other. We all share basic human needs; we share similar struggles in our communities and day-to-day life that go beyond our heritage and people’s assumptions of us. Our similarities extend to both our personal lives and our communal ones, such as one’s duty to a friend or their community. Even with all our wonderful similarities, I have also learned that we should celebrate our differences. Each culture, religion, and personal experience is fantastic and unique, with its complexities, shining moments, and darkest times.

mi3.pngSome unique opportunity that M.I has provided me with is the opportunity to meet students from abroad at the American University of Kurdistan, courtesy of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery. M.I students were able to have a class with AUK students here on campus. The experience of engaging with the AUK students and learning about their culture was so exciting.

When a student showed me a photo of his homeland’s geography, I was surprised at how much it looked like the mountains around my home in Northern Virginia and the landscape surrounding JMU!

In the end, I would recommend any incoming JMU student to M.I because my time in this learning community has been phenomenal. It’s provided me with so many opportunities to grow close to my classmates both international and local. From ropes courses and fun tubing in the snow to living near my classmates in our beautiful dorm hall that has led to an enriching and learning experience for anyone who wants a place to belong, learn, and grow.

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Published: Friday, April 29, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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