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How Studying "Away" Can Be Just As Fun As Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity that allows students to explore new cultures, gain independence, and make lifelong memories. When you think about the idea of studying abroad in college, typically your mind only goes to traveling outside of the US. But thanks to JMU, I was given the opportunity to study “away” in Los Angeles, CA, for 8 weeks during the Summer 2022 semester. The JMU in LA program allows you to get class credit and internship experience while exploring the lovely city of Los Angeles.

One of the biggest advantages of studying away in LA is that it offers a similar level of immersion as studying abroad, such as:

1. Diversity and Culture

Los Angeles is a melting pot of different cultures, languages, and lifestyles. With over 140 nationalities represented, Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the world. This diversity allows students to immerse themselves in a new culture and broaden their perspectives without having to leave the country. There are countless opportunities to explore different neighborhoods, try new foods, and attend cultural events.

2. Entertainment and Recreation

Los Angeles is known for its entertainment and recreation options. From theme parks and museums to beaches and hiking trails, there is no shortage of things to do. Students can catch a movie at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre or hike the Hollywood Hills for stunning views of the city. They can also visit popular attractions such as Universal Studios or take a tour of Warner Brothers. With so many options, students never run out of fun activities to do in their free time.

3. Academic Opportunities

I was able to earn 9 credits in total while studying away in Los Angeles, 3 of which were academic credits for my internship. 9 months later, I am still working at my remote summer internship and am in the process of earning 3 additional credits through the SCOM department. This also gives you the opportunity to be close to other well-respected universities where you can learn more about graduate school programs.

4. Networking Opportunities

Los Angeles is a hub for many industries, including entertainment, technology, sports, and fashion. Studying away in Los Angeles provides students with access to a vast network of professionals in these fields. The JMU in LA program sets up an alumni mixer each year to invite JMU alumni living in LA to network with current program members. Students attend these networking events and meet industry leaders, which can open doors for future internships or job opportunities.

JMU also offers other programs within the US, such as in Ft. Worth and Austin, Texas; Napa, California; and even one closer to home, in Staunton, Virginia. Although it’s not Spain or Italy, studying away can be just as fun as studying abroad. It can still give you opportunities to learn more about different cultures and attractions, as well as gain experience living in another state and meeting new people around the country.

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