As the curtains drop…

I know from experience that choosing a college to pursue a higher degree in the United States can be tough. But it is so rewarding when you find the right college.

It has truly been a pleasurable journey being your personal and virtual guide on how life on campus is here at Joliet Junior College. It is my hope that it has been helpful to you in your search for an institution.

Perhaps learning the inside scoops that I have given you will help you make the same leap that I did in 2012. Trust me, studying abroad is an invaluable experience.

This will, unfortunately, be my last blog post. Remember, “don’t be another brick in the wall,” and make your journey your destination!

Best of luck to all of you!





Transferring International Student


Student: Tobi Abawonse
From: Nigeria
Major: Information Technology Systems

Marty: When did you start at Joliet Junior College and what are you doing after?
Tobi: I first started at JJC in August 2014 and I am transferring to DePaul in the Fall where I will be completing my Bachelor’s degree.

Marty: How was your total experience and impression of JJC as a student?
Tobi: First of all, I’d like to say that Joliet Junior College has a great program, but even more than that, the professors here are very dedicated to our success. I found it really helpful that professors were very knowledgeable and explained the topics very clearly. Overall the people here are very welcoming and friendly, which was very important to me as an international student.

Marty: What extracurricular programs here at JJC did you find valuable?
Tobi: Well, I have been a member of the International Student Club here since I started, which is a great place to find friends. What is nice about JJC is that there are so many student clubs, so you can find a club of your interest. Also, the International Student Club organizes a lot of activities off campus, such as ski trips and an excursion to Starved Rock this semester, and also trips to sport events. That is nice for international students who might not know about these places or have a way to go there on their own. It also helps teach us about the American culture and meeting friends.

Marty: What resources at JJC have been helpful to you during your time here?
Tobi: I know that we have the Tutoring and Learning Center here, but for me personally, the Library, Office of International Student Services, and Admissions have been the most helpful. The library has been helpful because it has provided me a nice and quiet study area where I can concentrate. And when I have been doing research, the librarians have always been eager to help me. The International Student Services Office and Admissions Office have been a helpful resource to help me with issues related to being an international student.

Marty: What are you going to miss the most about JJC?
Tobi: Free food! (Laughing) I am serious, I am going to miss the free food and all the fun activities that the Office of Student Activities organizes. It has honestly been so much fun being at school participating in these event…and eating the food! But I am also going to miss the genuinely friendly and helpful community here!

Virtual Tour of Joliet Junior College

Virtual Tour of CampusOne of the things that students like to do before making a decision on a college is to take a guided tour through campus. I was fortunate to be able to visit JJC while I was already here. However, most international students are not able to do that.

Therefore, here is a link to Joliet Junior College’s Virtual Tour of Campus.

And here are a few inside tips about your benefits at JJC:

  1. The Automotive department does repairs and maintenance on student vehicles, charging only for parts.
  2. The library has quiet study rooms for individuals and groups, print and scan services, librarians help with research, and offers books, audiobooks, music, movies, and TV shows.
  3. There are a couple of computer labs around campus where you can use the computers for homework or personal use.
  4. The internet café has computers for recreational use where you can play games or surf the internet among friends.
  5. The Tutoring and Learning Center has tutors that can help you study or learn topics that you are struggling with, and it’s free!
  6. Each department have specialized counselors that can help you plan out your college career beginning at JJC and beyond.

Lastly, here is the International Student Services’ Quick Facts flyer. Check it our and learn about more of the benefits JJC offers.


The Spring Fling Series

My favorite thing about being a student at Joliet Junior College was that I did not only come to JJC for my classes but also for all the fun stuff happening in the hallways and on The Bridge.

Recently, the Office of Student Affairs have organized a series of events called Spring Fling. It contains silly but fun activities like taking a giant selfie or making a dance video where heads are swapped, and a cool magic show performed by magician Daniel Martin.

Below are some pictures from the event:

What of these activities would you have liked to participate in?


Chill Out For Finals

The long days and nights of studying are here, cramming a whole semester worth of knowledge into your brain, preparing for final exams. With the immense performance pressure of the final exams comes great stress, which could hinder accomplishment.

You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength ~ Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor.

I know —from first hand experience— the stress that can come with final exams, I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it. And it can be unpleasant. However, there are methods and techniques to overcome stress!

During the week of finals, take a walk down the Flag Hallway. The Office of Student Activities is organizing a series of stress relieving activities such as a free massage, shaping play dough, shredding paper, coloring, puzzles, and much more. In addition, there will be staff present to talk to the students about managing stress as well as Therapy dogs joining the students.

As international students, we may be more susceptible to stress because we are possibly already dealing with strong emotional feelings, for example homesickness. The way I coped with stress was to remind myself to not worry about things I could not influence because nothing will come of it. Resolve the negatives and emphasize the positive!

What makes you stressed?




Trip to Starved Rock

To this day, I still remember vividly my first thought when I saw Chicago approaching from outside my airplane window: “Wow, how flat Illinois is!”

And Illinois is flat, especially for those who are used to large mountains and hilly country. But there is one place in Illinois that is not so flat, Starved Rock. This is a state park that has small canyons and cascades. It is a beautiful place with stunning nature, but the legend of how it earned its name is a bit darker.

It is said that the Odawa tribe and their ally, the Potawatomi tribe, attacked the Illini native American tribe in the area as revenge for aiding the Illinois Confederation’s assassination of the Odawa tribe Chief, Pontiac. The Illini, overwhelmed by the attacking forces’ numbers, fled to the top of the Rock and was besieged until the entire tribe starved, hence giving it the name Starved Rock.

There are a number of legends on how the name was adopted, but this is by far the most popular.

Early French settlers traded in the area using the large Mississippi as their mode of transportation. But now it is a state park used for recreation, with camp grounds surrounding the area.

Below are pictures of the International Student Club’s recent trip to Starved Rock:

Where would you like to go on a trip in Illinois?


Jail n’ Bail

The days are growing warmer and summer is evidently fast-approaching. In the halls of JJC, one can virtually feel the tension in the air of the upcoming Final Exams… No wonder students, staff, and faculty are engaging in a “crime spree…”

Every spring, the Student Government host the Jail n’ Bail event where anyone can report anyone on campus for a fictitious crime such as “student is getting too good grades” or “teacher handing out cookies to students.” To report someone cost $5 and a warrant for their arrest will be hung up on the windows of JJC. The people who have a warrant for their “arrest” can chose to pay (donate) bail money or serve their time in “jail” on May 6th.

The money raised by this event will go towards the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is an event that has been absent from campus for three years, but Kathleen Duong, the Student Government Treasurer, made sure to bring this fun event back to campus.

What would you get “arrested” for?


Meet JJC alum, Executive Chef Adam Roy

Chef Adam Roy started his college adventure in the Joliet Junior College Culinary Arts program. Since then, the Frankfurt (IL) native has travelled across continents working in seven different countries before working as the Executive Chef at Shangri-La in China. Watch his story in the video below.

Roy, on his quick visit back to the States, had prepared a demo of a traditional Chinese cuisine that he presented to the current JJC Culinary Arts students. Watch a brief presentation of the demo in the video below.

Thank you Chef Adam Roy for sharing!

If you could choose, in which country other than your own would you like to work?


Asian Fusion

One of the neat things that I experienced when I was at Joliet Junior College was the core value of cross-collaboration. For the Asian History Month, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, International Student Club, Epicurean Club, and JJC Career Services all came together and organized the Asian Fusion Event.

Here students could watch and learn Asian Dance and MMA performance, students could get free Henna, Calligraphy, and Tea. The Epicurean Club was also offering local tastes from different Asian regions

Not only does this event teach us Asian history and educate us on Asian cultures and cuisines, but it also brings us closer together as one big international community. When I was part of the International Student Club, one of our goals was to build cross-cultural bridges based on respect, tolerance, and education. Events such as this one, through cross-campus collaboration, exemplifies that mission.

What food from your country would you like others to try?


Meet Diana Alzamareh

Diana Alzamareh is one of many international students currently making up the diverse student population at Joliet Junior College. Diana, a Palestinian-Ukrainian native, is here studying Biology. Watch the interview below and hear her story!

What about your home country would you miss the most?