Three international students share their personal stories and offer a glimpse into the reality of being an international student during a global pandemic.
Engage ND helps connect students to campus resources and the Notre Dame global network, enhancing their experience and relationship with the University.
Ruth Di Rada is a fifteen-year-old from Brazil. While on campus, she participated in the iLED summer program, focused on international leadership.
Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA)India
“I came to the realization that if I wanted to be a part of Notre Dame, I would have to be a part of a culture that is very open and welcoming,” said Pooja Ranade.
Ranade is one of 11 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) on campus for the 2018/19 academic year. The scholar from Pune, India is part of a prestigious program that supports teaching assistantships in over 30 languages at hundreds of higher learning institutions.
During her time on campus, she became involved with several cultural events to help introduce a new language and perspective. She participated in a new series titled “Who’s at the Table? First Person Stories on Identity and Culture.” Through first person stories, students discuss culture and identity, which is meant to inspire and spark conversations for all attendees. The event targets international graduate students, but anyone who has spent a significant time outside of their home country and discovered something new about their story is welcome.
Ranade shared a personal story of transformation. She said that Notre Dame taught her to smile, something the introvert typically did back at home to only family and friends. She said there are cultural differences that have influenced her as a professional, especially as an assistant professor of English at a university in India.
“It wasn’t a natural thing for me,” reflected Ranade. “But I remember feeling so calm and happy - I wanted to hold on to that feeling.”
She said simple action of smiling connected her to campus in a way that she never imagined. Ranade is thankful for the opportunity to share her language and culture with the Notre Dame community. Her program was full of enriching opportunities, allowing her to connect with students from around the world and fulfill professional development goals. Most importantly, it’s led to discoveries about herself.
“I am leaving as a truly different person thanks to Notre Dame and Fulbright,” said Ranade. “I am smiling right now as I think about my future.”
International economics, German, undergraduateBrazil
Brazilian native Laura Henares is a rising junior at the University of Notre Dame, currently studying international economics, German, and international development studies. This international student has already lived in the United States, South Africa and Germany, and believes a global perspective can only contribute to one’s intellectual and practical pursuits. Currently engaged in the Business in Brazil club, she hopes to help Notre Dame students connect with Brazilian employers. She created the new club as a way to connect her peers with innovative and high-tech companies closer to home.
L.L.M at Notre Dame Law SchoolKenya
Raphael Ng’etich of Kenya has known that he wanted to study and teach law since he was in high school.
As a law student at Strathmore University in Nairobi, he jumped at opportunities to serve as a teaching assistant for several professors. He also worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore, and earned a certificate in international criminal law at the Nuremberg Academy in Germany.
After graduation, he went on to earn a post-graduate diploma in law at the Kenya School of Law and started work in a law firm. But he continued to look for opportunities to teach.
“In Kenya, you have to have a master’s degree to teach,” Ng’etich explained.
He decided to continue his studies in the United States, because the U.S. is more advanced than Kenya in its protection of intellectual property rights and technology, his areas of interest. He hopes to take ideas back home.
One reason that Ng’etich chose to pursue his LL.M. at Notre Dame Law School is that he received some financial support from the Law School. Another reason is that Notre Dame Law School allows LL.M. students to develop an individual study plan tailored to their areas of interest.
“Other programs have already-determined courses. You are going to take a class or two that doesn’t fit,” he said. “But the LL.M. here allows you to pick your own cocktail of things that you would like to focus on.”
525+ generated I-20 forms
400+ students on Optional Practical Training (OPT)
36,637 international students at ND since 1842