Maria Maxwell


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

I admire the mission of Notre Dame International to connect people from all corners of the world and make the “other” familiar. I find beauty in the merging of culture, language, and experience – that is to say, what makes us human. The way I see it, this role is a means to further Notre Dame’s mission while having the chance to learn a great deal in my own right.

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

I have lived outside of the United States for the better part of my life, venturing to spots such as Belgium, Poland, and Israel. In fact, my greatest culture shock to-date was moving to Virginia briefly as a ten-year-old; my mouth was agape the entire ride from the airport, incredulous at the fact that all of the road signs were in English. Through Notre Dame, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Rome, Italy for nine weeks as a part of the Architecture curriculum and, most recently, Nairobi, Kenya to visit the site of a hospital we designed for a studio course. Experiences such as these can, and do, make an impact. For my part, I believe I’ve honed my critical thinking skills, engaged in meaningful conversation with new friends around the world, and created memories that will not soon escape me.

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

St. John Paul II reminds us that the Catholic social teaching of solidarity is not a passive “feeling of vague compassion,” but rather a firm commitment to the common good. We are all tasked to care for one another and practice an active solidarity – one that embraces our international community wholly. The University has demonstrated this commitment through (but not limited to) its research and study abroad efforts, and now each of us are challenged to make this same commitment in our own communities.