The Office of International Relations (OIR) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) wastes no resource in providing exceptional opportunities for students to expand their educational and experiential reserve through international research collaborations as well as student exchange programs. These enriching opportunities have garnered consistent success from NDU students across the board, becoming tools of discovery, global understanding, and academic advancement.
With respect to the NDU Student Exchange Program, several students each semester are selected to embark on these exciting journeys of academic growth and self-development in various contexts. In recognition of their success, the OIR hosts gatherings for the students in appreciation of their achievements, which are significant factors to the internationalized success of the University. NDU Chemical Engineering student, Christina Chalhoub, received an opportunity courtesy of the US Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD), spending a semester abroad at Wayne State University, Michigan. “The four months that I spent in the US have given me much more than a classroom ever could and have forever changed my perspectives on so many things,” said Chalhoub. “The people you meet, the friends you make, the places you explore, and the lessons you learn become a part of you that you will carry for a lifetime.”
Similarly, under the Erasmus+ Programme, another Chemical Engineering student, Jane Aghjayan, spent six months at Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), Italy, where her academic prowess landed her the opportunity to contribute to a research project conducted by Ph.D. students at the recommendation of a Politecnico professor, despite only being an undergraduate. Aghjayan, in addition, was inspired by the community she found in Italy, so much so that she arranged a meeting at the Lebanese Consulate and became the Vice President for the official Organization of Lebanese Students in Torino. Back in Lebanon now, Aghjayan has stated, “I continue to engage with them through online meetings regularly, and there might be occasional travels back and forth to facilitate in-person gatherings.”
A subset of Erasmus+, the Sustainable Wastewater Treatment for Hospitals (SWaTH) project saw to the participation of Chemical Engineering student, Mia Hajj, whose contributions over the course of three weeks centered on the photocatalytic degradation of pharmaceutical compounds in water. “I played a key role in developing catalysts through the wet impregnation method,” she said, the project granting her access to cutting-edge research equipment and facilities in renowned laboratories. “These three weeks not only enhanced my academic understanding but also provided hands-on exposure to advanced research methodologies.”
These are only a few examples of what the OIR offers NDU students, who all return to share the same foregone conclusions: that they were proud to represent the University and Lebanon abroad, enjoyed the diversity and exploration of other cultures, and gained the unique opportunity to develop their skills and widen their networks.
Here at NDU, the OIR not only welcomes but strongly encourages all students from every major to delve into these unique chances to test their knowledge, leave their comfort zone, and allow themselves to flourish.