For more than 50 years, International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) at the University of Notre Dame has paired international students with members of the local community, allowing participants to learn more about different cultures, traditions, and languages.
2017-2018 International Ambassadors
International Ambassadors (IAs) are a select group of University of Notre Dame students, both international and American, graduate and undergraduate, who serve as Notre Dame International's student leadership team. All new international students will be paired with two International Ambassadors who will help them through the orientation process. International students will be contacted by their International Ambassadors in the summer. New students are encouraged to ask their IAs any questions they may have regarding International Student Orientation and the Notre Dame experience.
Hello everyone, I am Marwa Asem, a third year Ph.D. student in biomedical sciences and I study ovarian cancer biology. I am originally from Alexandria, Egypt, the bride of the Mediterranean and I grew up in Dubai. I like travelling, reading, cooking, and making friends. Studying in Notre Dame is a very unique experience. My advice for the new students is to open up and try to enjoy every single day, make new friends, try new things and learn from the people around, especially the ones that are different from you. The experience you will gain and the time you will spend here is priceless and it will be imprinted on your mind forever. I can’t wait to meet you all!
Hey guys, welcome to Notre Dame! I'm Steven and despite being born in Florida to two American parents I did not live in the US until my first year Notre Dame. I grew up in the Philippines, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico, and Switzerland. I absolutely loved living abroad and creating new homes away from home (which is easy to do at ND). I am a junior majoring in Accounting with a minor in Poverty Studies. I am on the club Ultimate Frisbee team, have been a part of several business clubs, and was able to do an International Summer Service Learning Program in Guatemala last summer. My advice is to learn as much about what is going on at Notre Dame and accept as many new opportunities you can because your options are almost limitless!
Tianyuan "Abby" Cao
Hi everyone! My name is Tianyuan Cao and I go by Abby. I am from Shanghai, the most charming city in China. I have spent all my first 22 years living in China -- 18 years in Shanghai and 4 years in Nanjing -- before I came to Notre Dame as a chemistry graduate student in 2015. During my first year here, I was warmly welcomed by the Notre Dame family and this is part of the reason why I am here to serve as an International Ambassador. I am so excited to share my experience and make friends with all of you! When I am not in the lab (dealing with my spectrometer or bacteria :D), I can be found walking around the campus, hanging out with my friends, cheering for the ND basketball teams (I love playing basketball!), or helping AWIS (Association of Women in Science) organize various activities on and off campus. I love travelling to different places, learning new languages, singing karaoke and cooking Asian food. Sounds great? Are you looking forward to starting this fabulous journey with Notre Dame this summer? I believe this will be one of the best experiences in your life and I am super excited to meet you all soon! Please do not hesitate to shoot me an email or message me on Facebook if you have any questions. Good Luck, and welcome!
My name is Kelsey DeGagne, a rising junior studying Economics and Political Science! Here at Notre Dame, I live in Pasquerilla East Hall, but I am from London, Ontario in Canada, less than a six-hour drive from campus. Outside of class, I play on the women's club ice hockey team, am on my hall council, and host a late-night radio show once a week with some friends. I'm also learning Italian and will be studying in France this spring semester! I can't wait to meet the new international students and help you get involved on campus - even if you don't know what your passions are yet, this is the place to discover them!
Hey guys! My name is Ishaan Goel, and I am a rising sophomore from Hyderabad, India. I’m a business major and a resident of Dunne Hall. I love listening to music, hanging out with my friends, playing sports and obviously napping. You can also find me in the boxing pit as part of the men’s boxing club on campus (highly recommend). My only piece of advice, which I wish I knew when I got here, is to utilize any opportunities that interest you without hesitating. You never know what you might come to love doing! This is going to be my first year as an International Ambassador and I’m truly excited to hang out with all of you during international student orientation.
Hello! My name is Benedikt “Ben” Graf. I was born and raised in Salzburg, Austria. At Notre Dame, I call St. Edward’s Hall my home. Before coming to ND, I spent some time in London and had the opportunity to take a gap year as an EMT with the Austrian Red Cross. I am now a rising Sophomore studying Economics, but I also have a lively interest in Political Science, a field in which I am currently doing research relating to dispute resolution. Through accompanying family members on their travels, I have had the privilege to become acquainted with many parts of the world. Notre Dame enabled me to study abroad in Poland and most recently in Morocco. In my (little) free time, I like to read and run. As you embark on a new part of your life, here at Notre Dame, I would encourage you not to forget your home culture, but equally not to be afraid to embrace American culture.I am looking forward to meeting you in the fall.
Wilkommen an der Universität Notre Dame!
Rachel (Ruochen) Feng
Yuxin "Zoe" Han
Hi everyone! I’m Yuxin Han, and I go by Zoe. I’m from Nanjing, China. I’m a rising senior majoring in Accounting and ACMS. I like to watch Netflix, cook Asian food or just spend time with my friends. This is my second year serving as an IA, and I definitely enjoyed my experience last year. I used to live in Cavanaugh and Farley (definitely a north dining hall person!) but moved off campus. There are so many amazing people and things to discover at Notre Dame, and I am here to help you enjoy your transition to this wonderful place. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or add me on Facebook with any questions. See you all in August, and welcome home!!!
Xinhui "Helen" Hong
Hi Fellow Domers! I am Xinhui “Helen” Hong, a rising sophomore from Dongguan, a city in southeast China, majoring in Economics and minoring in ESS (Education, Schooling, and Society). I am a fortunate member of the inaugural class of Flaherty Hall (Go Bears!) on North Quad. Outside of class, I am involved in Student Government, the CSLC (Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures), church, and Iron Sharpens Iron (We are a student interdenominational faith group and we meet every Thursday 10pm on the 1st floor of CoMo. Definitely check it out!). I like exploring new things and challenging myself. That said, I am spending two months in Ecuador this summer! If you would like to talk about backpacking, acting, learning new languages, faith, food, or any random topic, let me know! I would love to share food and friendship :) Advice to incoming students: don’t worry! Things always work out at the end! Go Irish!
Hello everyone, welcome to your new home! I am Yizhi Hu (胡以之), a proud resident of Walsh Hall. I am a rising junior studying Political Science and Japanese. While my home is in Wuhan, China, I have spent time studying in Taiwan, India, and Japan. My experience navigating in various cultural spaces have enabled me to respect and appreciate different perspectives and narratives. At Notre Dame, I work as a research assistant for the Kellogg Institute of International Studies, serve as an officer for the Taiwanese Student Association, and am involved in a theatrical production team called Show Some Skin. During my free time, I take portraits, hang out with friends, and talk about life and politics. Notre Dame is a great place where different voices coexist. I hope that I could help with your transition, provide you with helpful advice, and be a “big sister” to you! Please feel free to contact me even if you just want to have a chat! I look forward to seeing you all soon. Go Irish!
Hello! I'm Megumi Inoue, a current sophomore studying Design and Pre-Health. I'm planning on studying medical illustration after Notre Dame. I grew up coming back and forth between Yokohama, Japan and Arcadia, California. On campus I call Lyons Hall home. I can often be found around campus drawing (I love sketching our landmark buildings!) I'm also a student advisor for the Snite Museum and can often be found there marveling at our great collection of art. I also try to get away from campus from time to time--the museums in Chicago are a great (and necessary) escape from the bubble of campus. Feel free to reach out with any questions!
Joo Yun "Rosa" Kim
Hey all, I am Joo Yun (Rosa) Kim from South Korea. I am a sophomore in Lewis Hall and I study Computer Science and Engineering. You'll come to know that there's nothing more I like than hardcore jamming to Broadway tunes and going on late night adventures around campus. I spend most of my "free" time with PEMCo (Pasquerilla East Musical Company) as Stage Manager or doing any other backstage duties. I am also the GRC (Gender Relations Committee) Commissioner in my dorm and a student manager in Washington Hall of performing arts. If you have any questions about life in ND or anything at all, shoot me an email. Welcome to Notre Dame, you're home under the Dome!
Hello! My name is Sandrine, and I’m a rising senior, double majoring in ACMS (Applied and Computational Mathematics & Statistics) and Romance Languages & Literatures. Born and raised in Mauritius (psst, it’s a tiny tropical island off of the East of coast of Madagascar), I am now a resident of Welsh Family Hall, where I am very active in dorm life. Outside of classes, I tutor French and Calc on campus. I’m also on Hall Council, a member of the French Club and the Indian Association here. My favourite things to do include watching TV, reading, traveling, singing & dancing (alone in my room). I’m a big fan of trying new stuff, so my advice for you is to be open to new experiences, and make the most of all the opportunities available here. You will come across some of the best people you will ever meet and have the time of your life on this beautiful campus. Bienvenue à Notre Dame!
Qiran "Susie" Li
Hello! My name is Qiran (Susie) Li, and I am from Shanghai, China. I am a rising senior studying English and Theology, with a minor in Education, Schooling, Society (ESS). I am so proud to be a Fighting Irish and a Welsh Fam Whirlwind! It is such an honor to be part of the Notre Dame family, where I have met awesome people and have had so many life-changing experiences that I know I would not have in another school. I am involved in the Celebration Choir, Show Some Skin and the Wellness Committee. I love singing, creative writing and immersing myself into art. I also love hanging out with my friends and meeting new people. I can't wait to meet you all in August! Just wanna tell you all, college is your shining moment, so find your passion and go for it!
Isaac Shaoyu Liu
Hey there. I am Isaac Shaoyu Liu, a boy from Shanghai, China who is just not little any more because I am turning sophomore now. Lucky for you guys who are just coming here. I lived in Fisher Hall my entire freshman year - close community and great guys. And I’m transferring to Zahm Hall…Don’t boo me, because both halls are AWESOME. I am a business major, hopefully digging more into finance. I'm considering design/studio art as supplement major, I am always spotted in Riley at 3 a.m. working on what even I myself wouldn’t call art. Don’t hesitate to talk to me if you have any question about business (I’m just getting started as well), art (I don’t know much about that), and basically anything about Notre Dame (that, I can do). Let's get excited about college, and embrace the four years you will never forget for a life time.
Hey, I'm Michael. I'm a philosophy PhD student (specializing in metaphysics and philosophy of religion). I'm originally from Toronto, Canada, which is widely regarded one of the most multicultural cities in the world. I'm also a product of that: I'm half White and half Chinese. I've made sure to keep the diversity in the family running by marrying a Panamanian. I met my wife here at Notre Dame; we entered as graduate students the same year and both lived in Fischer O'Hara-Grace. So keep an eye out while you're here—maybe you'll meet a special someone too! I like hanging out with my family, drumming, playing badminton at Rolfs and board games. And even though I knew nothing about football when I first came to ND (remember I'm from Canada...) I've since become a die-hard fan of our team. And welcome to Notre Dame, be prepared for an adventure!
Hello everyone! Welcome to Notre Dame Family! I'm Junchi Lu, a 2nd year Ph.D student in Electrical Engineering department. I grew up in a northeastern city of China and spent six years in Beijing before I came here. Studying at Notre Dame is such an extraordinary experience. I've met a lot of awesome people and feel so warmly welcomed. Beyond fun courses and endless research, I am involved in several professional communities (SPIE, AWIS & SWE). I also lead a cultural association (CSSA) to serve Chinese students & scholars at ND. I love adventure, sky-diving, roller coasters and road trips. Running is my favorite. The only thing for me that can compare favorably with running around the campus is cooking Asian food =)! Are you ready to jump into the Notre Dame Wonder this summer? An International Ambassador like me is always here to help. Please do not hesitate to shoot me an email or message me on Facebook if you have any questions.
Hello, my name is Winnie Mangeni and I’m a junior majoring in Finance. My hometown is Mombasa, Kenya. I live on campus in Lewis Hall and enjoy extracurricular activities such as the Historian at African Students Association. International Experiences, I volunteered at the Municipal Council for women in Xela, Guatemala, Attended Qatar Georgetown Model United Nations, and started a non-profit to support women to become financially independent in Kenya. Advice to incoming Students: Don't worry about not making friends in the first week or two, everyone is still settling in and getting to know each other. You will get your own group soon enough.
Hello friends! Welcome to the Notre Dame family! My name is Elisabeth (I’m not used to this name so please just call me Elisa), and I’m a rising senior studying International Economics with a concentration in French Literature. I was born in Congo (Kinshasa) but raised in Rwanda; I also attended high school in Johannesburg, South Africa. On campus, I lived in Welsh Family and Lyons Hall, and I can’t wait to see you explore the magnificent dorm life [there will be so much free food during and after Frosh-O ;) ] Besides the amazing IA family, I’m involved in the African Student Association, Diversity Council, Latino Student Association, Russian club, etc. I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones and any Latin dance like Bachata and Salsa. I am excited to meet you all and please do not hesitate to message/email me if you have any question. See you in August!
Welcome to the Notre Dame Family everyone! My name is Aya and I am from Nagoya, Japan. I am majoring in International Economics with Spanish concentration and minoring in International Development Studies and Peace Studies. Outside the classroom, I play basketball for Pasquerilla East Hall, work as an officer for Japan Club and Asian American Association, and volunteer at a middle school to teach English to newly immigrated students. I also nap fearlessly and passionately. But above all, I am now an International Ambassador to help you transition into ND! Like everyone else mentioned, ND is a place filled with opportunities, and chances are that you will find too many things you want to do. So my advice to you would be to know that you do not have to do everything and that it is okay to chose not to do some things. Please feel free to contact me on facebook or via email to ask me any questions you have...Or just to talk! Safe travels and I can’t wait to see you all in August.
Hello People!! Welcome to ND! So a little bit about myself - My name is Gbemisola Okunzua. I'm a Nigerian international student but have lived in the U.S since I was 9. I currently live in Bakersfield, California but at ND, I'm a senior in Farley Hall studying Chemical Engineering/Pre-Med. On campus, I'm involved with Timmy Global Health, African Student Association, and Voices of Faith Gospel Choir. I am very excited to meet all of you and can't wait to hear about YOUR stories. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime- seriously, that's what I'm here for. Before I "go" I just want to leave you with a few words that have helped me at ND - Be Yourself and Try New Things. See you soon!
Hi everyone! My name is Angela, and I'm a rising junior majoring in Environmental Science and Economics and minoring in Sustainability. I live in Farley Hall and I'm originally from Chicago. I love cooking (I'm always open to new recipes!), hanging out with my friends, travelling (I spent this past summer in Belize and Peru and I'm studying abroad in Australia in the spring!), listening to music, ice skating, playing with my dog, and shopping. I really enjoy learning about new people and places, and I love studying new languages. Here on campus, I work in a lab that studies monkeys in Southeast Asia and I'm a Teaching Assistant for freshman biology lab. I am happy to say that, from my experiences, Notre Dame is a uniquely warm and welcoming family. There is always something fun going on and plenty of opportunities to get involved and meet new people if you're willing to put yourself out there- it definitely pays off! I am excited for my second year as an International Ambassador, and I can't wait to help welcome everyone to our campus in August!
I am Rahul, and I am a second year MBA (Class of 2018). I am from Hyderabad (India), the city of pearls, diamonds, and spicy food. In my head, I am Batman meets Jimi Hendrix. In reality, I am Peter Griffin from Family Guy. I grew up in South India, and I thought I traveled extensively until I met many amazing people from more amazing places here at the magnificent campus of Notre Dame. My undergrad was in Electronics and Communication (Defacto Deputy Mayor of Nerdom), and currently I am concentrating in Business Analytics and Corporate Finance. The last one year has been the most transformational experience in my life and one suggestion I'd give to any incoming student is to just explore the University, the people, and the community. A majority of my experiences and learnings are outside the classroom. Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or email. Looking forward to hearing all your travel diaries.
Hello everyone! I'm Erin Shang, and I'm from Beijing, China. I'm a rising sophomore with a major in Finance or Business Analytics and a minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. I will be living in Cavanaugh Hall next year. My greatest accomplishment / skill thus far has been the ability to nap everywhere around campus - dorm, DeBart, OShag, dining halls, on the grass... Anyways, power naps are great and I would highly encourage you to do so. When I'm not sleeping or eating, I love watching movies, reading books, cheering for all kinds of sports games or jogging around the lake. Besides being an international ambassador, I also work as a Chinese tutor, and I'm on Notre Dame's Debate Team. I'm very excited that you all chose to come to ND (believe me you've made the right choice!) The Notre Dame community is a very unique and welcoming one that you'll find at no other places. If you have any questions regarding classes/professor recommendation, clubs, majors, or even just want to hang out, please reach out to me! Congratulations on joining Notre Dame, and welcome home!
Hello! My name is Teaghan Stack, and I am from Calgary, Canada. I am a rising junior studying mechanical engineering. This will be my second year as an IA, and I am incredibly excited to get more involved in this lovely place I now call home! I am also a commissioner for hall council in Farley, the finest dorm on campus, and am involved in the Society of Women Engineers. I enjoy skiing, hiking, and volleyball, as well as just hanging out with friends around campus. I look forward to being able to help with your transition into the Notre Dame family – you will learn for yourself what an amazing place this is! I encourage you to keep an open mind and get to know as many people as you can on campus; there is so much to learn and everyone has their unique story.
Vignesha Sudalakshmee Chiniah
Hi everyone! My name is Vignesha Sudalakshmee Chiniah and I go by Vignesha. I am from Mauritius, a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean (off the right coast of Madagascar). I have spent all my first 17 years living in Mauritius, then I went to African Leadership Academy in South Africa for two years before I came to Notre Dame as an aspiring mechanical engineer. On campus, I'm involved with African Student Association, ND Energy, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Lewis Hall activities. I love traveling to different places, learning about different cultures, dancing and trying different restaurants. Are you looking forward to starting this fabulous journey with Notre Dame this summer? Because I am!! J My advice to you would be: Don’t worry about fitting in. Give yourself some time to adjust to a new place. Embrace all that Notre Dame has to offer with an open mind. I am super excited to meet you all soon! Feel free to send me an email or message me on Facebook if you have any questions. Good Luck, and welcome home!
Hello! My name is Jocelyn Susilo and I am currently majoring in Finance and Applied Math. Although my home is in Jakarta, Indonesia, I am a proud resident of Lewis hall. Coming from an international school, I truly love meeting new people and listening to each person's unique story and this has been one of favorite things about coming to Notre Dame. Aside from being an international ambassador, I also love planning brother/sister dorm events for Lewis, going to various business club meetings, playing inter hall sports, online shopping and just enjoying life. Moving all the way to Notre Dame might be a worrying thought at first, but I believe you will all love it here just as much as I do! Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions and I can't wait to meet you all in August. Welcome home, Domers :)
Hey peeps! The name's Joseph Tang (汤依信), current senior majoring in Piano Performance/Composition with a supplement major in Pre-health studies. Born in the US, I attended an international school in Shanghai, China during my middle-high school years. Consequently, I consider myself bilingual, but I'll leave that up to you native Chinese speakers to make the final judgment ;). I was reared by the University in the cabinet-sized rooms of Morrissey Manor, but you'll normally find me in the equally cramped piano practice rooms of the Crowley Hall of Music when I'm not doing mosquito research in the Jordan Hall of Science. In addition to several community service clubs, I'm also heavily involved in Campus Ministry choirs as well as the nascent field of undergraduate music composition. Consider me a third-culture kid; my upbringing has garnered in me an incredible sense of duty to my ancestral homeland as well as appreciation for the ever-burgeoning set of unique languages cultures represented here on campus. I guess you'll see for yourself the far-reaching diversity I myself cherish so much once you join the Notre Dame community! See you guys soon!
Salut, Nijao, Salam, Hello!! I am Fatou Thioune, from Thies, Senegal. I am junior Economics major with a concentration in Financial Economics and Econometrics. I live in Farley Hall on campus. I like reading, watching TV, listening to music, and chitchatting with friends in my free time. I am involved in the African Students Association, the Muslim Students Association, and in the World Youth Alliance chapter at ND. I am looking forward to meeting you all and personally learning about you. I will leave you with a piece of advice my host mother gave me when I first came to the US for college. The key to having a great time in college is finding the right people for you. If you surround yourselves with the right people, you will feel comfortable, be inspired, and have fun your own ways. International Students Orientation is an opportunity, among many others, for you to find the right people for you, so seize the opportunity and meet as many people as you can. See you soon!
Yanjun "May" Wan
Hi, everyone! My name is Yanjun Wan, and I go by May. I am a rising sophomore studying Accounting and ACMS. My hometown is Nanjing, China. I lived in Flaherty Hall during my first year on campus but I will move to Pasquerilla East Hall next year. I will also tutor Physics at the Learning Resource Center and serve as a Research Assistant in the History Department next year. During my free time, I like reading books and playing with the squirrels on campus. Studying in Notre Dame is a unique and exciting experience, you will meet amazing people and explore infinite opportunities. Just keep an open mind and enjoy your experience here, you will love it! See you all in August. Welcome home!
Hey there, I am Hasan. I’m a PhD student in electrical engineering (specialized in control). I am originally from Shiraz, the cultural capital of Iran. Besides hanging out with friends frequently, I like to spend my time swimming, rock climbing, and playing the cello and Kamancheh. I joined the ISSA’s International Ambassador team to welcome you all to this great campus, and your new home. This is an amazingly warm and welcoming community, and I am sure you will love it as much as I do, and you’re going to enjoy it even more
For the average incoming freshman, leaving friends and family to go to college for the first time is often an overwhelming experience. But for international students, these nerves and uncertainties are amplified, as they must travel longer distances and face an entirely new culture and language.
That’s where the Notre Dame International Ambassadors step in.
The largest gathering of alumni, parents, students, and friends of Notre Dame in Asia came together this weekend in Beijing. Centered around Notre Dame International’s seventh Greater China Scholars Weekend, an annual event celebrating the top twenty high school applicants to Notre Dame from the greater China region, the Notre Dame community proved it is flourishing and excited about the future.