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PERSPECTIVES

Approaching Study Abroad: A Notre Dame Guide

Perth, Singapore, Santiago, Washington D.C., Kampala, Rome. Notre Dame has study abroad programs everywhere and you have the ability to explore any corner of the world while you are a Notre Dame student. I’m studying abroad in London this semester and absolutely love it. This semester has easily been my favorite for all kinds of reasons, but primarily because the London program has been an ideal fit for my academics and personal interests. Unfortunately, I think most students neglect the discernment process that creates a far more fulfilling abroad experience, before applying to study abroad.

If you are interested in studying abroad, I would highly recommend thinking first about the TYPE OF PROGRAM you are interested, not the location. Notre Dame’s programs range from groups of one or two people in a language immersion setting to programs with over a hundred students living together. There are also a number of unique aspects to each program (internships, program coordinated excursions, homestays, research, etc.) that should also inform your decision. Think more about what you want to get out of a program first of all, because this will be far more critical than where you are on a map.

Next, I would recommend looking at ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS. Discuss with your advisor (it’s never too early!) about what options you have available to you and what classes you need to take before, during or after studying abroad. However, don’t let course requirements cancel out a study abroad program that you really want to do. There are so many options, including summer classes, summer study abroad programs and other abroad opportunities outside of the Office of International Studies that can make your abroad experience possible.

Your study abroad experience can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your time at Notre Dame if the program is right for you. I’m not telling you to DO anything right now, while you’re still freshmen, but THINK and TALK to people to start discerning. You will be miles ahead of your peers!

Timeline for Junior Year Fall or Spring Semester Study Abroad

Freshman Year:

  • Think about what program structure you are interested in and where you want to go
  • Talk to your advisor for preliminary information and guidance on course selection
  • Talk to students who have gone abroad
  • Look into other opportunities to go abroad during summers and breaks
  • Develop your academic interests in a global framework: take classes that stretch you, keep up with world events and discover new cultures

Sophomore Year:

  • Narrow down your application to no more than 1 or 2 programs (any more and your application process will be grueling)
  • Beginning of the year: Start the application early and seek out letters of recommendations early!
  • November: Application is due
  • February: Hear back about decisions

Helpful Links:

  • Notre Dame Study Abroad: http://international.nd.edu/international-studies/students/
  • Kellogg Institute for International Studies: http://kellogg.nd.edu/students/index2.shtml
  • Center for Social Concerns: http://socialconcerns.nd.edu/academic/summer/summer.shtml
  • Nanovic Institute (European Studies): http://nanovic.nd.edu/grants-and-fellowships/undergraduate-students/
  • Center for Undegraduate Scholarly Engagement: http://undergradresearch.nd.edu/
  • Summer Language Study Abroad: https://sla.nd.edu/
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