Zahara Kagalwalla

Zahara Kagalwalla
Class of 2021
  • Major: Marketing/Gender Studies
  • Citizenship: India
  • High School: India
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What is your favorite campus tradition?

My favorite campus tradition is definitely singing the alma mater after football games. It is a really special feeling of togetherness with the rest of the Notre Dame community. Everyone is holding each other and swaying as we sing; it is beautiful.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

Definitely St. Joseph’s Lake. It is always serene and has an terrific view of the rest of campus, particularly the Dome.

What is your best Notre Dame memory?

My best Notre Dame memory is sitting on a bench on God Quad for hours one night, and just having life talks with my best friend (of course with Starbucks + snacks). The simple pleasures are always the most memorable!

What is your favorite Dining Hall Meal?

I love the blueberry muffins and s’mores bars, and I gorge on the cookies as daily treats.

What is your favorite thing about dorm life?

The annual overnight dorm retreat is always a great time! It gives you an opportunity to take a step back from hectic college life and really bond with your roommates.

What clubs/activities are you involved in?

The Student International Business Council is a really enriching experience that I have been involved in for 2 years. It involves doing semester-long projects in fields like accountancy/STEM/marketing, etc., and you get to present your findings to company executives at their corporate offices. It is pretty cool.

What made you choose Notre Dame?

The community vibes here. Everyone is friendly, caring, and always willing to help. It feels like an extended family!

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

The events that take place on campus throughout the year to bring together international students are definitely my favorite part. There are bonfires, football sessions, organized shopping trips, and dinners for the international community which are amazing opportunities to bond!

How did you adjust to life on campus?

During my first few months on campus, it was definitely a drastic adjustment phase for me. I adjusted by keeping myself surrounded by friends constantly. I would call back home to catch up with family and friends from often, and on-campus I’d always be down to catch a meal and attend different events with the people I was meeting in my dorm/classes. This eased the journey for me and kept it from getting lonely.

How do you celebrate your culture/heritage at ND?

I religiously go to the dining hall every Monday for Indian night and eat the naan, chicken masala, and chaat! I always attend events organized by the South Asian Student Association to get together with the community (the annual Holi is a must!).

What advice do you have for international students?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the ND community for anything you need; everyone is super receptive! If you having any questions, just want to chat, or are feeling a bit low, your professors, hall staff, and upperclassmen are always around to help.