From Brazil to Rome: A Notre Dame student’s experience with the new study abroad locally program

Author: Costanza Montanari

Nicole Small

In early July, Nicole Marinho Vieira Weiss found out she would not be able to attend the University of Notre Dame’s campus due to the new COVID-19 regulations. The finance and economics major was excited to start her freshman year, but quickly found herself overwhelmed with disappointment, and started searching for other solutions in Brazil and abroad to start the academic year on time. 

When talking to the study abroad team at Notre Dame International, she learned about a new program called Study away locally. With this new opportunity, she finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel; she could still attend the University while studying at one of Notre Dame’s international locations around the world.

“Our goal with the study away locally program is to help our international students remain academically engaged as Notre Dame students even though they are unable to return to the main campus this semester,” says Katherine Kovar, assistant director of study abroad. 

“We have worked with our study abroad partners around the world to create the opportunity for these students to study at universities in their home countries while still earning Notre Dame credit. It is our hope with this program that the students will continue making progress toward their Notre Dame degrees while having an enriching university experience abroad.”

Weiss’ family has an Italian heritage; her great-grandparents migrated from Cosenza, Italy to Brazil.  She has European roots and although she doesn’t speak any Italian yet, she always loved learning new languages and already speaks fluent Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.

As soon as the opportunity was presented to her, Weiss could envision herself walking through the streets of Rome, listening to some Italian music while eating gelato.

She arrived in Rome in late September and is currently living in the astonishing Notre Dame villa residence. The villa, which used to host the majority of the study abroad students in Rome, has three levels, a huge kitchen, laundry, and an outdoor terrace. She is expected to have a unique experience, as Weiss is the only student currently residing at the villa in the heart of Rome.

“I am really excited about living in Rome and having the chance to attend Notre Dame from abroad. I love my European new life and I can’t wait to learn some Italian and make some local friends” says Weiss.

Learn more about opportunities available at the Rome Global Gateway.

Originally published by Costanza Montanari at on October 08, 2020.