Diana Spencer

Diana Spencer
Class of 2022
  • Major: International Economics/Global Affairs
  • Citizenship: Senegal, Cabo Verde
  • High School: South Africa
  • Contact: dspence4@nd.edu

What is your favorite campus tradition?

Obviously, I love football weekends! Although I am not a big football fan - I still do not understand it - I love seeing people coming from all over the country to support Notre Dame. The family spirit is so strong; it makes me realize that I am part of something beautiful.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

I love being outside and inside the Main Building. First, because the dome is my favorite view - whether I pass by it in the morning or at night, seeing it shine truly motivates me. It is, for me, a symbol of hope; as long as the dome shines, there is no reason not to thrive (This sounds more cliche than I expected, but believe me) Second, my favorite class and the merit scholars lounge are both in the Main Building. I just love going there.

What is your best Notre Dame memory?

During Welcome Weekend, the whole Class of 2022 went to the grotto to pray for the school year. We all walked together,  lighted candles, and sang as we started our Notre Dame journey. It was powerful to see so many people, from different cultural and religious backgrounds, pray together.

What is your favorite Dining Hall Meal?

I love the Indian station on Monday evening!

What is your favorite thing about dorm life?

I love the sisterhood/brotherhood that connects the residents of different halls. In my Hall, Cavanaugh, first-year students are assigned a “Big” - big sister - who helps them transition into their new college life. During exams, my Hall provides us with snacks and support throughout the week. Halls are just amazing support systems!

What clubs/activities are you involved in?

During my first year, I was part of the Economics Club and the African Students Association.

What made you choose Notre Dame?

I was not only interested in Notre Dame’s amazing academics life, but also in the spirit of community. I wanted t

What is your favorite part about being an international student at Notre Dame?

I love being around people who know little to nothing about my culture. Although it was frustrating at the beginning, I have learned to become an ambassador for my country on campus and change the narrative. It is exciting to teach people about Senegal and Africa as a whole through my actions, my anecdotes, or even my social media posts. They slowly realize that the African continent is so much more than what they see in the media; and that temporarily fills me with satisfaction.

How did you adjust to life on campus?

It was hard to adjust to campus. My Fall Semester was not the greatest time of my life. Yet, I learned during that semester that the resources on campus were there to help me. The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, for example, offers counseling and resources to help students improve their mental state.

How do you celebrate your culture/heritage at ND?

I celebrate my culture by wearing my hair natural, by wearing African prints, and by mentioning some aspects of my culture in class. It is awesome to learn about a new culture, but I do it while acknowledging my own.

What advice do you have for international students?

Bloom where you are planted. It is not always easy to find yourself in a new country, surrounded by people who may or may not always understand your accent, but it is totally worth it. Take each challenge as an opportunity for you to become more resilient and open-minded.