Where Can Notre Dame Take You?

Author: Ceci Guarnuccio

While I love being a part of the Notre Dame community here on campus, I chose to come to Notre Dame because of its commitment to a broader education outside of the classroom. For me, that meant experiencing personal and academic growth internationally, and Notre Dame has definitely helped me do just that. With the help of various groups here on campus, I have had the chance to explore a multitude of different countries and cultures, challenging myself to go out of my comfort zone and embrace many unknowns.

Cannes, France - Summer 2022

During my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to connect with a recent alum during which she shared some of her experiences from her time at Notre Dame. One of which sounded incredibly appealing to me, so I quickly applied and was accepted. This experience was an internship with the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The opportunity provided me with access to the Festival itself, the opportunity to work with American film companies, and networking opportunities with fellow entertainment students and current professionals. Not only did my Notre Dame connection help me learn of this opportunity, but it was because of Notre Dame that I was able to live in France for the two-and-a-half-week program. The Nanovic Institute for European Studies offers students from any academic discipline to apply for a European Internship Grant to help fund their work in Europe. Thanks to being awarded this grant, I had the opportunity to attend the Cannes Film Festival, deepening my understanding of French culture and global cinema as a whole.

Rome, Italy - Fall 2022

Ceci and her fellow ND classmates in front of St. Peter’s Basilica while touring the Vatican
Ceci and her fellow ND classmates in front of St. Peter’s Basilica while touring the Vatican

Like almost 70% of students here at Notre Dame, I decided to study abroad while earning my degree here. With the help of Notre Dame International’s Rome Undergraduate Program, I was able to spend the fall semester of my junior year living and learning in Rome, Italy (and don’t worry, I didn’t miss football too much). From an academic perspective, I took classes at both Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway, a mini Notre Dame campus located in Rome, as well as at John Cabot University, a partner university that enabled me to take courses that will still count towards my Notre Dame degree. I learned about fashion retailing in one of the world’s most fashionable cities and explored ancient Roman cathedrals and monuments rather than simply reading a textbook. Simply put, it was truly an educational experience that was unbound from a classroom setting. Wanting to take advantage of my European home, I also spent a great amount of my time personally traveling, visiting over 11 different countries during the semester, experiencing an abundance of new cultures that have provided me with a more global perspective and just some fun memories with new ND friends.

Brussels, Belgium - Fall 2022

Ceci and fellow EU Scholars sit in the European Parliament in Brussels
Ceci and fellow EU Scholars sit in the European Parliament in Brussels

After having become better acquainted with the Nanovic Institute thanks to my grant from the previous summer, I continued to follow the Institute, looking to see how else I could work with them to further expand my knowledge. One such opportunity came up while I was studying abroad in Rome. Myself and fellow students from both the Rome Global Gateway and the Dublin Gateway applied to participate in EU Scholars, an immersive 5-day experience in Brussels, Belgium to learn from first-hand experiences what the day-to-day operations of the European Union look like. During our time in Brussels, we had the opportunity to meet with representatives and ambassadors from the US, Ireland, Denmark, and Ukraine, to name a few, engaging in conversations about how this complex multinational body functions and supports the diverse group of people and cultures it represents.

Singapore - Winter 2023

Most recently, I had the opportunity to travel with one of Notre Dame’s largest student clubs on campus, the Student International Business Council (SIBC). Having spent the 2023 calendar year serving as the Director of the Marketing Division, I and the other members of the Board of Directors had the privilege to finish our terms by engaging in a global business experience. For such a trip, we traveled to Singapore for a portion of our winter break, meeting with Notre Dame alumni currently working there. Through conversations with alums working at Bloomberg, KPMG, and Johnson & Johnson, we developed a deeper understanding of how business is conducted in Singapore and its larger role in the Southeast Asian economy. While there, we also connected with business students at one of Singapore’s top universities, the National University of Singapore, providing us with the opportunity to meet students our own age while learning how their academics and cultural backgrounds were similar and different to our own.

As these experiences show, a core part of my Notre Dame experience was making the most of the international opportunities that Notre Dame provides its students. I knew early on in my college experience that I wanted to push myself to really explore all that the world has to offer, and coming to Notre Dame has certainly allowed me to do that. Though these may be only my own individual experiences, I hope these will encourage you to consider, “Where Can Notre Dame Take You?”