Krista Lourdes Akiki
What is your favorite campus tradition?
The Midnight Drumming Circle on Home Game weekends
What is your favorite spot on campus?
It’s a tie between the Grotto and the cafe in O’Shag
What is your best Notre Dame memory?
Midnight ice cream walks with my roommate and my first time doing touchdown push ups
What is your favorite Dining Hall Meal?
The fried ravioli
What is your favorite thing about dorm life?
Being surrounded by such powerful, smart and talented young women who will never hesitate to help out, hang out or cheer you up…We take care of each other here, and that is just priceless especially for someone who’s so far away from home.
What clubs/activities are you involved in?
I’m President and Founder of the Women in Leadership Club, and VP for She’s the First and GreeND. I’m part of the Entrepreneurship Society of ND, the Pre-Law Society, Undergraduate Women in Business and Arabic Club. I’m also a columnist for the Observer and a research assistant. I work as a Help Desk /and/ Classroom Support Consultant at OIT.
What made you choose Notre Dame?
I could go on and on with my answer for this question. But to be honest, Notre Dame is second to none when it comes to fostering a sense of community, belonging and responsibility on campus. The support system and safety net I have found here blurr away the problems I face from being so far away from home.
What is your favorite part about being an international student at Notre Dame?
Honestly the ability to immerse myself in a completely different culture all while still being able to adhere to my own cultural practices and share these practices with others. People have been and still are very welcoming; they genuinely want to know more about the country you call home and want to partake in your traditions. Plenty of my friends get as excited as I do about Lebanese and Arab food!
How did you adjust to life on campus?
I tried to find the balance between hanging out with other Arab students and with other American or International students. I addressed stereotypes or comments lightly and gracefully trying not to take things too personally. I also prioritized my well being and mental health: I recognized that it was okay to feel homesick or tired and gave myself the patience and space to take breaks and breathe. My RA and my professors were also very patient with me: they made sure I knew they were there whenever I needed guidance or just wanted to talk. Talking about home and what I loved about my culture also always put me in a good mood. And at the end of a tough day, I always blast some Arabic music and call my sister and my 2 best friends from back home.
How do you celebrate your culture/heritage at ND?
Well, for starters, a big Lebanese flag is hung up in my room. I also have plenty of pictures from back home that I like to show to friends when they ask about what Lebanon looks like. I’m also a big advocate for Lebanese food; if you’re having a tough time, I will take you to Elia’s and feed you some tasty Lebanese comfort food. I also joined Arabic Club whose goal is to spread the beauty of Arab and Middle Eastern culture. I always invite friends to these meetings!
What advice do you have for international students?
Studying abroad so far from home will not be easy, but it will be worth it. The experience will test your strengths and push you beyond your comfort zone. But remember, all things magical happen outside your comfort zone.