/* */ <img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1706078429670727&ev=PageView &noscript=1"/> /* */

Student view: Choosing JMC from Italy

July 10, 2023 - Ludovica Margiotti

Ludovica Margiotti (she/her) is a fourth-year student from Castro dei Volsci, Italy, majoring in international relations in James Madison College, and Arabic in the College of Arts and Letters. Throughout her college career, she has been employed at the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES), MSU Admissions Office and MSU Alumni Office. Margiotti currently serves as the international relations caucus chair in James Madison College Student Senate. Margiotti is a member of the Honors College and a #YouAreWelcomeHere 2020 scholar.

Ludovica sitting on a barge over water

Growing up in a small town in Italy, my dreams of studying abroad felt out of reach. My education and career path seemed somewhat predetermined, and it did not include leaving behind everything familiar to start anew on the other side of the ocean at age 18. Yet, I still felt as though, with a great deal of determination and perseverance, I could one day make this dream of mine reality.

My life began unfolding in ways I never thought possible. I studied in Dublin, Ireland, for one month at the age of 15 and spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Imlay City, Michigan at age 17 after learning about a national scholarship (in Italy) that allows Italian students to participate in an exchange year.

Because my host mom is a Spartan fan and knew I was interested in attending college, she suggested I visit Michigan State University’s campus. I already knew that I wanted to study international relations; when I toured campus in 2019, I discovered James Madison College. I knew this would be the avenue I’d pursue because of my academic and career interests, but never anticipated how and why JMC’s residential college community would be exactly the right fit. 

I began my studies in JMC, like many who started in the midst of the pandemic: in my home via Zoom, and in spite of it, I still felt a sense of community and purpose. It did not matter how far I was from Case Hall: I could feel that we were all bound together by the same circumstances and the same passion for public affairs and social issues.

Because of the small class sizes and my professors’ passion for what and who they were teaching, I was able to build valuable connections while isolated.

When I moved to East Lansing, it became more apparent how lucky I was to be part of such a special community. College life as an international student can feel lonely; however, I found a new home with the JMC community.

I’ve never felt lost or invisible because there is always an opportunity to engage in lively discussions and connect with my peers and JMC professors. Knowing that my professors’ offices are down the hallway from where my classes meet and that they are eager to help should I need it, is the reassurance I didn’t know I’d want or need.

I’ve been so fortunate these last three years. I feel connected with so many amazing students, faculty and staff members, and it is because of these relationships that I have been able to seize incredible opportunities — like joining JMC Student Senate and working in the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies.

My JMC education has helped me to become more self-aware and confident in my abilities — strengths that will serve me no matter where my future takes me.