Saint Mary’s commits to supporting international students in unprecedented times
Genevieve Coleman | Tuesday, August 4, 2020
This year, Saint Mary’s will welcome six international students and two international sisters. These Belles hail from China, El Salvador, Ghana, Germany, Mexico and Uganda.
Alice Yang, associate director of International Education, expressed the importance of the College’s integral mission of protecting all students during the pandemic.
“The coronavirus has disrupted our world in unprecedented ways, including higher education, but our commitment to students’ health and safety remains our top priority,” she said.
To uphold this commitment to students’ health and safety, Saint Mary’s will accommodate international students who choose not to take classes on campus by allowing them to take online courses in their home country.
Yang acknowledged the faculty and staff who have facilitated these online courses for international students.
“The College is trying to be flexible during COVID-19 and does everything to meet our students’ needs. The Office of Student Academic Services and our professors are very supportive of our students,” she said.
Saint Mary’s also assisted international students who could not return home when campus closed in March.
“The College continued to offer housing for [international students] who had nowhere to go in March when the College closed the campus,” Yang said. “[Our students] even joined the Notre Dame international students in the Morris Inn for a while. A few students have been living on campus … even though they have already graduated.”
In light of the changing Immigration and Customs Reinforcement policies this summer affecting international students, Yang hopes to express Saint Mary’s tolerance toward all students.
“The College wants to do what it can to make [international students] feel welcome on our campus,” she said.
In addition, Yang emphasized the necessary role international students play in educating their peers and the entire campus community.
“It is so important to host international students on campus. They enrich our learning environment, bring diversity and different cultural perspectives to classroom discussions, offer international friendship and language exchange and help our students and community learn about the rest of the world,” Yang said. “They are not only students but also culture and language teachers.”