In 1850, the first international student arrived on Notre Dame’s campus from Mexico. In the decades that followed, an influx of more than 100 students from Canada, Cuba, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Panama and Poland would enrich and diversify the campus. During this time, a significant majority of international students came from Mexico, largely due to the efforts of Rev. John Zahm, C.S.C., and the “Zahm Special” rail car. Leased by the University in the 1880s, the train car would take Zahm as far south as Chihuahua, Mexico, to pick up students and provide them transportation to campus. Since then, Notre Dame has opened its doors to more than 36,000 international students.
In 1964, Notre Dame began sending its students abroad, first to Innsbruck, Austria. Programs in Angers, France and Tokyo, Japan, soon followed. Today there are 48 semester and academic year programs and 19 summer programs spanning 26 countries. Undergraduates have responded to the numerous opportunities — 75.2 percent choose to study abroad during their time at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame International as we now know it was founded in 2010 and became an umbrella for the existing ISSA and Study Abroad offices. Two years later, the first Global Gateway opened its doors in London, thus beginning the development of Global Gateways and Global Centers which have so richly contributed to faculty and student experience alike. During the summer of 2012, NDI also convened the first American Short-Term Programs, which have since hosted more than 300 participants from 28 countries.
In the years ahead, Notre Dame International will remain committed to bringing Notre Dame's mission, wisdom, and values to the world, while also enriching campus with diversity, culture, and insight from cultures from around the globe.