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Our international students give speeches at the James Madison ISC opening ceremony

October 1, 2010

Well-received launch of the James Madison University International Study Center (ISC) heralds a successful collaboration with the university that will benefit our students on the new academic pathway programs.

Over 30 new students, along with ISC staff members and representation from James Madison University and Study Group, inaugurated the new academic ISC. The event was held on campus at Memorial Hall, the home of the ISC, on September 30, 2010. The opening ceremony, followed by Open House at the ISC, coincided with James Madison University's International Week - a celebration of cultural diversity.

Festivities commenced with an impressive line-up of speakers: Center Director Adam Copeland welcomed all and introduced students Leo Shuoda Wang from China and Sojin Kim from South Korea, who spoke of their experiences at the ISC.

Sojin (pictured speaking) expressed her appreciation of the program:

Opening ceremony at James Madison University ISC

Pictured from left: Nick Rhodes, Dr Linwood Rose, Dr Linda Halpern, Sojin Kim, Adam Copeland, Leo Shuoda Wang

"I started my life in America with Study Group to improve my English skills and to prepare for my life at JMU. In the first year here, I have lots of trouble with study, friends, or even in life. Now I can use many school resources properly including library and writing center and I met many international students who undergo similar situation as me."

"Study Group helped me a lot," said Leo, "Sometimes I got problems in life, I went to Study Group. Sometimes I need help on my paper, I went to Study Group. Study Group gave me a lot of study skills. I appreciate that so much." 

Commemorative speeches were also made by President Linwood Rose, Dr Linda Halpern - Dean of University Studies, and Nick Rhodes, Study Group Managing Director, Higher Education - North America and China. Speaking about the inception of the ISC's university preparation programs, Dr Halpern mentioned her initial conversation with Nick, "Right away I was excited that this was a comprehensive program that emphasized academics, culture transition and language acquisition for international students."

Nick Rhodes reiterated that all parties benefit from the co-mingling of cultures that is inherent to the ISC: "The way the world is moving it is becoming imperative that students have an international perspective."

Director of international student and scholar services at JMU, Delo Blough, describes the opportunity offered by the ISC to students as "their 'study abroad' experience, except that it lasts four years. International students understand that with a US degree from an excellent institution, along with the experience of being completely culturally fluent, their lives are vastly improved."

The afternoon ended on a note of camaraderie; students, faculty and staff all enjoyed a cake decorated with the JMU logo, Study Group logo, and a map to represent the increasing global society that we strive for.

About the James Madison University ISC academic pathway programs:

The International First Year is a fast-track pathway to second year (sophomore) placement into James Madison University bachelor's degree. It includes both English for Academic purposes and the equivalent of the first year (freshman) of university coursework. The Pre-Master's program is an academically-focused route to a wide choice of Master's degrees at James Madison University.

Visit the James Madison University ISC website.