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Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame exchange students

Kelly Konya | Friday, April 26, 2013

 

Saint Mary’s Registrar Todd Norris said that in the spring 2013 semester, 152 Saint Mary’s students registered for classes at Notre Dame.

Sophomore Audrey Kiefer, who is taking an Italian course at Notre Dame this semester, said she enjoyed the opportunity and hopes to continue taking Notre Dame courses.

“It’s an awesome opportunity, and to me really the only difference is the guys being there in class,” Kiefer said.  “I am excited to take more Notre Dame courses in the future, and I would encourage any Saint Mary’s girl to try it out.”

Norris said Saint Mary’s seniors are allowed to register for two Notre Dame course per semester and other students are allowed one per semester.  

Senior Academic Advisor for Saint Mary’s, April Lane said most students who take advantage of this opportunity want to take classes that are not offered at the College or to experience taking a class with new students and professors.

Norris said Belles took the Notre Dame classes “Irish Ghost Stories,” “Wind Ensembles,” “Maritime Affairs,” “Abnormal Psychology” and “National Security Affairs,” among other classes during the spring 2013 semester.

Norris also said certain groups of students have a greater tendency to take Notre Dame courses than the average Saint Mary’s student.

“There are a few groups who consistently take Notre Dame courses, like ROTC, Music majors, and Engineering students,” Norris said.

Kiefer said she was worried at first that she might have to confront preconceived ideas about Saint Mary’s students.

“I thought it would be intimidating, and that I would have to overcome stereotypes of being a ‘Smick Chick’ at first,” Kiefer said.  “But after about one month of classes, I think everyone forgot I was even from Saint Mary’s.”

Sophomore Battol Alsawalha, a student in the dual engineering degree program, said she has not faced any negative stereotypes in her engineering courses. 

“When working with my group members throughout the year on different projects, they never treated me differently or belittled my work just because I was a Saint Mary’s student,” Alsawalha said. “Actually, many ND students are interested as to how the dual program functions and ask me about it when they find out I am from SMC.”

Senior Leslie Wilson, who enrolled in an Irish Folklore course this semester, said she had not taken a course at Notre Dame before registering for this course. She said she chose the class because she had studied abroad in Ireland.

“I found that the course was very interesting and I wanted to take it because I had studied abroad in Ireland my sophomore year,” Wilson said.  “The subject interested me because it focused on an Irish subject, and there aren’t any Saint Mary’s courses like that.”

Other students choose to take courses that count toward graduation requirements, since many Notre Dame courses do not fulfill Saint Mary’s major requirements.

Sophomore Nicole O’Toole said she registered for a political science course titled “American Marriage” to further her interest in political issues.

“I love being in the mix with Notre Dame students,” O’Toole said. “At Saint Mary’s, most of my classes are filled with girls who are very similar to me. It is fun to be in a different setting with people of different backgrounds, races, religions, and, of course, genders. I think it really challenges me.” 

Sophomore Grace Harvey, who enrolled in a Catholic Moral Theology course, said her Notre Dame course is less conducive to socializing than her Saint Mary’s courses.

“My lecture is double the size my classes at Saint Mary’s, so many of the students do not interact with each another unless they were already friends coming into the class,” Harvey said. “I feel like at Saint Mary’s, we linger behind once class ends to talk to friends, but at Notre Dame, students attend class and leave quickly, like class is strictly business.”

Alsawalha said the size of her classes doesn’t make a difference in terms of access to her professors.

“Professors always provide office hours for all of their students to come and see them,” Alsawalha said.  “Obviously, the way classes are conducted is very different between the two schools, but both provide an equally incredible teaching environment.”

Harvey and O’Toole said their Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s courses are equally challenging.  Harvey said the difficulty levels of her courses vary with each professor’s different teaching styles.

“It’s hard to compare course work because it all really depends on the professor,” Harvey said.  “My Notre Dame course is challenging for different reasons, like the take-home tests and the longer readings are both things I don’t have in my Saint Mary’s business courses.”

O’Toole said because her Notre Dame course is mostly discussion-based, the content of the course is both challenging and rewarding.

“It is interesting that my professor at Notre Dame completely leads the discussions and calls on each student by name,” O’Toole said.  “It definitely makes you want to be prepared for class, whereas at Saint Mary’s we usually respond to each other freely.”