Notre Dame de Namur University has had seven students working on their degrees in five countries around the world this year. Studying abroad is a way to learn about other cultures and balance out an on campus education with real world experience, giving students an opportunity to expand their reach beyond Belmont.
There are opportunities for students to travel to places like Spain, Africa, Ireland, France, China or even spending a Semester at Sea. Many of the freshman coming in are very interested in the concept of studying abroad, but get sidetracked with work, family, or are put off by the amount of money they assume or the paperwork. However, most of the programs end up being cheaper than a semester on campus at NDNU, even after including room and board.
Study Abroad Advisor at NDNU, Ann Fathman said, “It can be cheaper than going to NDNU for a semester, even if you include spending money and things like that, it will not cost a student that much, depending on what program you are in, Argentina and Mexico are much much cheaper.” Fathman feels that studying abroad is the most enlightening part of a student’s career and is eager to crush misconceptions that keep students from enrolling.
Students have the opportunity to study in Africa, China, Europe, Mexico, and even spend a Semester at Sea. NDNU Senior Gianna Emme spent her Semester at Sea on a cruise ship around the African Continent, stopping in Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Africa, Morocco, and many other places. “I walked away with a new perspective on life. It’s not all about the material things that one has in life. I saw a lot of poverty while I was in the countries and will always remember how Semester at Sea changed my life forever.” said Emme.
NDNU Senior Meleena Leon spent eight of her weeks taking general education and major specific courses at Oxford University in England. After the traditional term ended, she spent time with a tutor one on one, working through two classes that pushed her and left her with lasting connections professionally and personally. “The tutorial system allowed me to explore the ways in which I learn best and in doing so I was able to challenge myself as well as the tutors I worked with.” said Leon. This experience gives students a chance to bond, and form into an unlikely little family with relationships that last forever.
NDNU Senior and Business Administration Major, Marcela Rodriguez studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. “Studying abroad opened my mind to so many new things, encouraged me to try things I would have never thought of, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and now that I am back I feel like I can go out and do everything I’ve ever dreamed of.” said Rodriguez.
Many students consider these programs out of reach because living in the Bay Area is expensive, but it can actually be more affordable to study abroad in another country where the cost of living is far less. The average student at NDNU in Belmont pays $33,926
per semester before the cost of room and board, whereas a student studying for semester in Barcelona with American Institute for Foreign Study would spend $15,650, all expenses included. There are also many grants; Pell Grants and Cal Grants for example, and scholarships that transfer over to support a semester abroad. Contrary to popular belief, all credits will transfer. This is ensured by the student’s guidance counselor, and any major can study abroad. From Nursing programs to Business programs
“I spent 5 months in the Gold Coast of Australia, and it was the best five months of my life. So many aspects of my character and who I am seemed to be sharpened by the experience,” said Conrad Clevlen who studied Psychology in Gold Coast, Australia.
Operating as a private Catholic institution allows Notre Dame de Namur University to offer certain social needs students may not receive in a public-school system, but does it fulfill their student connections?
Every week at NDNU students receive various emails from the NDNU staff revolving around emergency matters, news about the campus, and newsletters with events and personal stories. NDNU staff spends a lot of time on these e-mails hoping that they can make a difference on campus, but are they really concerned with knowing if the students have actually read them or not? Do students feel like they have a connection with the staff and that their voices are being heard?
Fabiola Malfabon, a senior communications student said, “I only read the NDNU newsletters sometimes if they catch my attention, but if it is just news it does not really interest me. When there are cool pictures or fonts I am more interested in reading them.”
Malfabon did not check her NDNU student email, where newsletters are sent, until her senior year. “Since it is my senior year I wanted to be more on top of my work and that led me to read the newsletters and NDNU emails.”
Grace Kim the Assessment and Outreach Librarian in the Gellert Library observes and researches ways to better communicate with NDNU students, “I create surveys for students so that they can give feedback on ways we can improve our services or if there is anything they would like to see in the library that we do not already provide. I send the surveys out to Zack from the Marketing Department so he can put them into the NDNU newsletters.”
Although Kim, researches the best ways to effectively reach out to students by having student workers take her surveys, and John Hofmann, the Institutional Research and Assessment Director to asses her work, the feedback she receives after the surveys are put on the newsletters is minimal. “I do feel like the library staff is making a difference but at the same time the survey response rate is 20% which I heard is normal but I would like it to be at least 80%. It would help us if students could reach out and tell us what we can improve on. I want students to know that just because we are not reaching all of the them; it does not mean the library is not doing their part,” said Kim.
“I feel that the most valuable engagement I get with students is when they come up to me and ask me questions at the Reference Desk,” said Kim.
According to a Peterson’s, private universities offer smaller class sizes and easier access to professors, which can be beneficial to a student’s educational experience. As mentioned on the NDNU website in Hallmarks of a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community, “We actively support the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, psychological and social growth of the members of our learning community.”
Carrie McKnight the Director of Career Services, said “I help students with career planning, internships, programs, and set up events on campus. Students have mentioned that they would like to see more connections with big employers like Facebook and Google. Since we are a small school it is sometimes hard to make contacts with big corporations.”
McKnight would like to notify students that, “We are here, Career Services is open to students who want to plan their future and Sr. Dorothy Stang Center is open for students when they need someone to talk to about concerns on campus.”
Although NDNU is a small private school in Belmont, McKnight believes we can take advantage of the size to reach out to students more effectively.
“I think that we are a small enough school to have students have their voices heard. It also depends on how active the students are,” said McKnight.
With the hopes of attracting new students to Notre Dame de Namur University, the lack of a football team could make the school less attractive to certain potential students.
According to ESPN, football is the most popular sport in America. Having an NDNU football team would attract many fans and spread word of the small private university in Belmont. As the most loved sport in this country, could football elevate the morale and spirit of the student body? Could having a football team at NDNU raise money?
Stephanie Gomez a junior at NDNU who lives on campus stated, “NDNU would benefit from having a football team; I think we would still have a cheerleading team if we still had a football team. The cheerleading team did not have enough people wanting to participate and the ones that did were not taken seriously.”
Gomez expressed, “The cheerleading team was student run so no faculty were involved. People stopped showing up to practices. A football team would attract more students and gain so much revenue from people coming to games and buying tickets. The school used to get money for Ralston Hall Mansion from people renting it out and getting married there. When the school closed it down we lost a lot money.”
NDNU’s campus is 50 acres. While there might not be enough space on campus to have a football field, an agreement to borrow other schools’ football fields is viable. In fact, the NDNU softball team has resorted to borrowing another school’s field for practices and matches. A similar agreement could also benefit an NDNU football team.
Staff member Zack Rogow, Assistant Director of Communications and Media Relations at NDNU mentioned, “This might be too small of a university to field a football team it is a very expensive operation to fund and I don’t think it makes sense for a university of 1700 students.”
Menlo College is a private institution with a total of 765 undergraduate enrollments and a 40-acre campus. Menlo College used to have a football team and they even have a football field.
Scott Kimmelman, the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at NDNU, stated that, “College football teams have 80-100 athletes, and our campus would struggle to support an additional 100 athletes. We do not have a facility for a football team; the soccer field wouldn’t be big enough. Menlo College got rid of their football team, for similar reasons.”
NDNU does not have the means or resources to support a football team of eighty to a hundred athletes.
“It is tough to support that size of a team on campus and Menlo College actually had a football field. A football team is usually the biggest draw for schools. I don’t know what type of impact a football team would have here, because if we were to play off campus we would need people to travel to the game,” said Kimmelman.
Through wins, losses, cheers and tears, the Astros gave hope to Houston. This World Series will bring in new hope and economic support for the Houston tragedy that just took place a month ago. From the hurricane wiping out the city, Houston has an extra reason to celebrate the Astros’ presence in the World Series.The baseball team were still focused on their goal while empathizing of the losses of lives and homes.
NDNU Softball Player, Senior Taylor Haynes said “I have a lot of family in Texas that were affected by the Hurricane, I think that this support from the team is making huge impact in the community. Its always nice to see a community get their spirits lifted.”
Many Astro player shave given back to the community such as Pitcher Lance McCullers, who has a soft spot for dogs, visited an animal shelter and worked with local charities to help rescue and treat pets in the aftermath of the flooding. Dallas Keuchel met with local police, and Carlos Correa distributed mattresses to children. Justin Verlander donated $100,000, as gift that was matched by the team, to military veterans displaced by the hurricane, and contributed $30,000 and thousands more in shoes and athletic gear through his promotional agreement with New Balance.
With only three home games, it will generate an estimated $20 million to 30 million in economic spending. Not to mention the gear such as hats and jersey will help bring in revenue.
Joe Musgrove, Reliever for the Astros stated “We play for the city, and you start to fall in love with the fans. We’re giving them something to be proud of, and you can see how we’ve been a centerpiece for the city to rally around. The special year we’re having will be that much more special if we can bring back a championship. Because this is one of the reasons why we are here, we want to win the World Series and give it to our city.”
NDNU Mens Soccer, Senior, Chandler Alo said, “ I think that sport actives brings people together and with this horrible destruction in Houston it’s exactly what the community needed to come together. I hope the Astros win so Houston gets some hope back into their community. It would be a good thing to see.”
Throughout this time Astros have played through this tragedy and represented the hopes and dreams and given people a ray of sunshine during a tough time in the Houston community.
According to baseball statistics, the World Series winning team will get to take home 36% of the money that goes into the “players pool” of playoff revenue. Typically, players are fairly generous when it comes to sharing that revenue with anybody who played on the team that year, and they can also give some of the money to other figures, like ball boys or clubhouse workers they feel are particularly deserving, plus on top of that they will donate it back to the Houston community.
Assuming that this year’s playoff pool rivals last year’s record $69.8 million and this is a safe assumption given that big-market teams which the LA Dodgers are categorized as one will help Astros revenue bring in higher amounts.
Experiences of Students from (NDNU) When Serving Meals during Call to Action Day
Call to action day is an activity where students from NDNU collaborate with other organization to provide various services to the community rather than attending classes.
Activities are planned in different locations such as San Bruno Mountain which is located in Brisbane and the time of visit was from 8:30 to 2 pm. Community services are essential as student benefits emotionally and academically. The primary aim of such activities is to ensure that community is a better place for everyone.
Student Alba Faisal actively participated in community services since she joined the university. She noted that she had gained a lot from these activities since she has learned how other people need such services. She shared her experiences at treasure street shelter which is located at Redwood City and time 8:30 to 2:30 pm. Alba Faisal said that she has learned how to respect others and he has developed awareness of healthy life choices. There is need to have more of these events for the sole reason of helping other disadvantaged people in the community.
Nwaf Alqahtani a student at NDNU also shared his experiences in community services, he said that this was his first time to participate in this great event and these activities helped in expanding the mission of the organization by motivating young people. He was encouraged when the team visited ecumenical hunger program which is located in East Palo Alto by 10-3pm.The event helped in the cultivation of new generation, creates new partnership, increased public support and visibility in the community and generates new ideas, energy and enthusiasm.
Jenan Alawami was not left out in this exceptional event which has been organized by the university in community service. Academic learning can be significantly improved through service-learning. She shared his experience at O’Donnell Part which is located at Belmont by 9-2pm, and she suggested that there is need to have more of these activities. Community services can help to promote a sense of connectedness to the university and the community.
The activity which was conducted at Second Harvest food bank which is located in San Carlos by 8:30-3pm also gives much insight into community service. Students noticed that service-learning provide an opportunity for civic learning as they are provided with the knowledge to continue supporting the society and community as a whole. Additionally, community service gives the organization a better reputation as the community view the university as resources but not a problem. Similarly, such events help to develop a positive relationship with the community, and a new generation is created as a result.