Lauren Boutros

What is your favorite campus tradition? Singing the Alma Mater

What is your favorite spot on campus? South Quad

What is your best Notre Dame memory? A midnight trip to the grotto and walk around campus 

What is your favorite Dining Hall Meal? Grilled chicken and hummus (on the days I want to remember home!)

What is your favorite thing about dorm life? The sisterhood in Badin is remarkable. Particularly strong bonds.

What clubs/activities are you involved in? Folk Choir, Notre Dame in Solidarity with Syria, International Student Admissions Board, French tutoring through the Center for the Study of Languages and Culture, and independent music production.

What made you choose Notre Dame? The Notre Dame community and the importance given to social concern and community service. Also, early contact with enthusiastic and supportive professors and the clearly abundant opportunities on and off campus. 

What is your favorite part about being an international student at Notre Dame? Being able to share the viewpoint and exposure that growing up in Lebanon has given me. I've come to understand and appreciate the responsibility that I have to humanize the Middle East and contribute to the mosaic of backgrounds here by sharing stories and experiences with my classmates. It's a little like bridging an anticipated gap between cultures.  

How did you adjust to life on campus? It took a couple weeks for me to adjust to taking classes in English (especially in the sciences). Socially, though, it was such a smooth transition because I was aware of the incredible network of people standing behind me and lifting me up, both here and back home. Notre Dame is a community that thrives on mutual support—people want you to succeed and find joy. You are never alone here!

How do you celebrate your culture/heritage at ND? By sharing it! I love finding people who speak/are learning Arabic. I love sharing Lebanese food with people, I love talking about my country, I love wearing traditional Lebanese clothing on certain days. I embrace it fully. 

What advice do you have for international students? Don't be afraid to branch out with social groups. Leave your comfort zone, because that's where you will grow as a person. Don't be afraid to make friends with people who know nothing about your culture. Chances are, they are fascinated and want to get to know you just as much as any other person.