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International life lessons: Dorms 101

Brendan Keeler | Tuesday, November 16, 2010

People say that abroad experiences are supposed to open up new perspectives and enlarge your world because of their differences.

Well, they’re definitely right that studying abroad is different from South Bend, Indiana. Here in Perth, Australia, the weather is warm all semester, drinking is legal at 18, and people stare at you funny for eating peanut butter and jelly. Craziest of all, however, is that dorms are co-ed.

For many people reading, this may shock and surprise you. “Impossible,” you might say. Contrary to popular belief, males and females in their late teens and early 20s can live together, in the same building, with little to no supervision.

Despite what I expected when I first arrived, this living arrangement did not lead to unbridled debauchery, (more) binge drinking or rampant intercourse.

While there were certain revelatory insights (hint: girls, in fact, do not poop Starbursts and rainbows), living with the fairer sex actually led to, gasp, closer friendships and more straightforward relationships. Dorm life, as it were, actually benefited from having ideas coming from female perspectives. Dorm events, at least in my opinion, were more exciting, fresh and fun as a result, although the active role of legal drinking may have had a role to play to this extent.

So Notre Dame, fresh off of a new experience, as my world has definitely been enlarged, I can only wonder if it matters. In the spirit of opening new perspectives, why not consider a co-ed dorm when it comes time to open up another residence for the young inhabitants of the University? And no worries, I won’t complain if you name it Keeler Hall.

Brendan Keeler


off campus

Nov. 11