Growing up in Austin, TX, with the city’s large Spanish-speaking population, Natalie Reysa ‘21 developed a passion for learning the Spanish language.
As a Notre Dame student, she majored in political science and Spanish, expanding her understanding of both subjects through study abroad in Santiago, Chile. While in Chile during her junior year, Reysa lived with a host family, studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica, and volunteered with a local children’s center.
She also took advantage of the support provided by Notre Dame’s Global Center in Santiago. Notre Dame International (NDI) oversees 11 Global Gateways and Global Centers in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Jerusalem, Dublin, at Kylemore Abbey in western Ireland, London, Rome, Mexico City, Santiago, and São Paulo. Centers and Gateways are intellectual hubs supporting regional networks of students, faculty, alumni, and international scholars from around the world.
Among their many resources, Center and Gateway staff serve as the people on the ground for Notre Dame students studying abroad.
In Santiago, Reysa could talk with Global Center staff about any issues that came up, from the coordination of her VISA and other travel documents to assistance navigating a new university campus.
Santiago Center staff also worked to further students’ travel and build community. Reysa participated in a trip to the coast designed so students could explore other places within Chile. She and other students also attended monthly get-togethers at the Center facilities, and the Center hosted a large party with all the students and their host families.
“It was an adjustment going to school in another country...Classes and everything were in Spanish, so you’re really immersed. At the [Center], students would be able to get together at different events, like a potluck, just to touch base [with the community],” says Reysa.
These services are just a glimpse of the resources Global Gateways and Centers provide for all the populations they serve.
“The Gateways and Centers do a lot more than support students studying abroad. They do a wide range of things for the University,” says Hong Zhu, senior director of global education with NDI.
Below, we answer some basic questions about Notre Dame’s Global Gateways and Centers.
What is the difference between a Global Gateway and a Global Center?
The Gateways create unique opportunities for Notre Dame to engage the world and the world to engage Notre Dame through scholarly collaboration, undergraduate and graduate study, as well as cooperative programs with governments, foundations, corporations, alumni, parents, and friends of the University.
Global Centers provide a more focused and intensive means for academic and cultural exchange encompassing a more defined geographical area than the Global Gateways. NDI leads six Global Centers located in Santiago, São Paulo, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and at Kylemore Abbey in western Ireland.
Can students take classes at Gateways and Centers?
Yes, the Dublin, Jerusalm, London, and Rome Gateways all offer courses during the academic year and summer. In addition, Global Centers, such as Beijing, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Santiago, and Kylemore Abbey, also host summer study abroad programs each year.
Many of the courses offered at the Gateways and Centers help students understand the history, philosophy, theology, and culture of the particular region. They range from Who Are you, Israel? in Jerusalem to Introduction to Ireland in Dublin, All Roads Lead to Rome in Rome, and Chilean Politics and Society in Santiago.
What kinds of opportunities exist for undergraduates at Gateways and Centers?
In addition to receiving on-the-ground support while studying abroad, undergraduate students make use of Gateway resources for study, research with faculty, conferences, and connecting with scholars and alumni in the country in which they are studying. The Gateways and Centers can also facilitate opportunities for internships or community engagement activities.
Each Gateway and Center offers a different variety of experiences and connections.
How can I learn more?
Check out Notre Dame’s Global Network to learn more about our 11 Gateways and Centers and to visit the website for each location.
Image at top: Main gate of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute and Global Gateway in Jerusalem.