International Ambassador Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


I am planning to study abroad next year. Can I still be an International Ambassador?

If you will be studying abroad in the spring semester, you are more than welcome to apply for the IA position and serve in the fall semester. Unfortunately, if you will not be on campus for the fall semester, you will not be able to participate in two key components of the position – the training retreat and International Student Orientation – and thus cannot serve as an IA for that academic year.

Do I have to be an international student or have lived abroad to be an IA?

Absolutely not! About 1/2 of our IAs are American citizens. Although having experience living abroad is not a requirement, we are looking for students who possess an interest and willingness to explore the world and other cultures. No one IA could possibly speak all the languages or have visited the countries of all of our students, but they all share a curiosity about the world. We are looking for IAs who are open to learning from their peers as well as sharing their own cultures.

Can I ask a high school teacher/coach/supervisor to complete the recommendation form, or do I have to ask a Notre Dame professor/staff member?

We definitely want to hear from references who know you well, so please feel to ask a high school mentor for a recommendation. If possible, we would like to have at least one Notre Dame reference. If this is a problem for you, please let us know.

Being an IA seems like a major time commitment. Is it a paid position?

The position is currently an unpaid leadership position. The majority of the time commitment is at the beginning of the fall semester during the IA retreat and International Student Orientation. During the semester, you would probably spend about 5 hours per month on IA commitments.

I’ve also applied to be an RA. Can I still be an International Ambassador?

Due to the timing of our fall retreat and International Student Orientation, a student cannot serve in both positions. We still welcome your application and will notify you around the same time that you will hear from the Office of Housing, so you can make an informed decision.

I am excited to help new students and will be participating as a Frosh-O leader for my dorm. Can I still be an IA?

ISSA expects that our Ambassadors prioritize the IA training retreat and International Student Orientation duties between Sunday, August 17 and Thursday, August 21, 2014. In past years, we have found that these dates overlap with the preparation days for Frosh-O, and students have a difficult time participating in both programs effectively. If you are considering being a Frosh-O leader, we ask that you discuss these plans with your rector and let them know your schedule limitations far in advance. 

I’m a graduate/Law/MBA/LLM/Peace Studies student. Can I still be an IA?

Most definitely! About 2/3 of our new international students are graduate students in many different programs at Notre Dame, so we are looking for graduate IAs who can provide that peer perspective on the campus experience.

I have never held a leadership position before. Can I still apply to be an IA?

Not only can you apply, but we encourage you to! We consider the IA program to be a leadership development program and welcome students who are exploring leadership options and finding their niche on campus. We will cover a variety of topics in training and monthly meetings to prepare you for your IA responsibilities.

If I come back to campus early to be an IA, where would I stay?

  • If you are undergraduate student living in a campus residence hall, you will be able to move into your permanent residence hall room on Tuesday, August 19, when we return from the leadership retreat.

  • If you are a graduate student living on campus in FOG or the Village, you can make arrangements with your rector to move into your apartment early.

  • If you are living off-campus, you should check with landlord regarding your move-in date.

  • We will provide all of your meals during the IA retreat and International Student Orientation.

Does everyone get accepted?

Unfortunately we are not able to accept every applicant for the program. The IA application process is competitive. The IA team consists of 25-30 individuals who are a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, men and women, international and domestic. 

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