In a recent scandal involving Notre Dame International, several students have stepped forward with complaints that their study abroad experiences did not, in fact, change their lives. Given the reputation of Notre Dame as No. 2 in the nation for percentage of undergraduates who study abroad — a whopping 75% — the repercussions may be a major blow to Notre Dame’s yearly income.
“You can find everything on the Internet now,” said junior Katie Flannery, who studied in Dublin. “Between YouTube and Google Earth, I didn’t even have to leave Chicago.”
There is growing fear that NDI’s cherished study abroad programs are yet another example of Notre Dame’s money- and reputation-making schemes with no real benefit to students.
“Looking back, I honestly think I gained more cultural competence in my Moreau class second semester freshman year than I did studying abroad in Hong Kong,” admitted senior Olivia Cromwell.
This was a particular shock to the NDI office, as Cromwell is one of the university’s most popular “Study Abroad Influencers.” As a study abroad influencer, Cromwell has spoken at information sessions and does Snapchat takeovers on Tuesdays. If NDI chooses to revoke her position, they will face a number of logistical problems.
In order to document her time abroad, Cromwell created two new Instagram accounts. The first Instagram account was exclusively for daily pictures of her lattes, the second
for the top half of her face in front of famous monuments during weekend trips around Asia and Europe. She feels particularly disappointed that her selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower received 431 likes, the most likes she has ever received on an Instagram post to date. Both accounts have since been removed following Cromwell’s exposé.
“I’m really glad to be out of the study abroad closet,” said Cromwell, tearfully. “I hope that the Notre Dame community, and especially NDI, will accept me for who I am.”
Rather than this being a knock to NDI, however, Cromwell, Flannery and other students in their shoes think their experiences should be seen as a testament to the comprehensive, up-to-date and extremely useful “Cultural Competence” portion of the Moreau First Year Experience.
A senior economics student, who wished to remain anonymous, concurred: “There’s just so much diversity here that anything I can find abroad, I can really just find under the golden dome.”
Cromwell hopes to join the Appalachia program next spring, as she has heard it will change her life, for real.