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International students drawn by new programs

Christian Myers | Friday, October 5, 2012

While campus bustle during the summer months, a group of international high school and college students found a wealth of ways to keep busy during their summer at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame International introduced three new programs for students from foreign countries during the summer of 2012: International Leadership, Enrichment and Development (iLED), International Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (iSURE) and International Summer: America and the World Today (iSAWT).

Dr. Jonathan Noble, assistant provost for internationalization and the director of the Notre Dame Asia Office in Beijing, said the purpose of the three programs was to improve the image of Notre Dame across the world.

“The programs were initiated with the goal of enhancing Notre Dame’s international collaborations and international reputation,” he said.

The programs provided different opportunities to different types of students, Noble said.

“iLED aims to introduce outstanding high school students from around the world to academic life at Notre Dame, iSURE provides international engineering undergraduate students with the opportunity to work with research mentors and teams and iSAWT aims to introduce international university students to American life and culture,” he said.

Noble said more than 40 students participated in the three programs. Among these students were U.S. citizens who live overseas, as well as citizens of China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Canada and Colombia.

Each program benefitted students beyond learning the particulars of the curriculum, he said.

“iLED helps high school students better prepare for university academics, and it aims to help them think more deeply about different academic disciplines,” Noble said. “iSURE prepares engineering students for graduate studies and post-graduate research while introducing them to research practice and methodologies in the United States. iSAWT provides international students with a greater understanding of American life, society, and culture.”

Notre Dame also benefits from these programs, he said, since they provide an opportunity for academic departments to show distinguished international students what they have to offer.

“iSURE, for example, aims to enhance graduate student recruitment opportunities,” Noble said.

Noble said high school students who participated in iLED were recruited from a group of top international high schools.

Notre Dame selected the college undergraduates in the iSURE and iSAWT programs from two universities with whom Notre Dame has existing relationships, he said.

“iSURE and iSAWT were created on the basis of growing partnerships with Tsinghua University in Beijing and Keio University in Tokyo, respectively,” Noble said.

All of the more than forty students met specific selection criteria and were selected by faculty and administrators involved in the programs, he said.

Noble said the plan going forward is to expand these newly established programs.

“There are plans to diversify student enrollment so that more students from different countries and from different high schools and universities can participate,” he said.