Jaime Spencer

Residence Halls I represent:
Cavanaugh, Dunne, Johnson, McGlinn, Morrissey, O'Neill, Pasquerilla West, Walsh

Email:
jspence6@nd.edu
 

Why did you opt to serve as a Senior Fellow for Internationalization?

My motivations for serving as a Senior Fellow for internationalization are directly involved with my minority experiences abroad and on campus. It is important to me to share my experiences internationally as a person of color because I believe small nuances like race and nationality are over-looked when preparing to go abroad. I also find that my experience in otherness on campus, and how I overcame my feeling of being ostracized could be useful to international students studying on campus feeling the same way.

I hope that my colleagues and I work together as a team to make our campus a more inviting place for international students to study. I think success means that international students have access to resources and friendly faces all around campus that are willing to answer their questions. I also hope to promote study abroad programs that are not as popular, and boost the importance of visiting non-westernized countries for interpersonal challenge and growth.

Talk about your international experiences and why they are important. How have they served you (academically, personally, professionally, etc).

My international experiences at the university of Notre Dame include a service trip to Quito, Ecuador over fall break of 2018, a summer study abroad program in London during the summer of 2019, and fall semester abroad on the Jerusalem Global Gateway program in the fall of 2019. My international experiences were very different geographically, and similarly they are important to me for different reasons. My trip to Quito played a major role in my discernment to work in public health from a global perspective. The skills and experiences I learned in the small villages are invaluable. In London, I was afforded the opportunity to look at health systems from a historical perspective. In Jerusalem, I explored my faith while also diving deep into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which not only challenged my perspective on oppression, but also redefined my ideology on peace and how to achieve it. I think all my experiences have contributed to my readiness for looking at health inequalities not only from a medical perspective, but also from a social policy perspective. I have learned to think more critically about how these disparities are created.

Why do you think it's important to focus on internationalization at the University of Notre Dame?

With the rise on technology in recent decades, the connection we have to each other across the world is more tangible than ever. It is important as student of the University of Notre Dame that we immerse ourselves in the perspectives of others as we go out into the world and meet people of different nationalities, race, socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, religions, and traditions. Too often are students engulfed in what if effectively a "Notre Dame bubble" where perspectives begin to sound like an echo chamber or bias confirming. Internationalization not only prepares domestic students to communicate with those from other countries, but it also creates a welcoming community for international students to feel safe and confirmed in their unique experiences, perspectives, and gifts they bring with them to campus.