My Transition From Africa To Columbia Student

I’m originally from West Africa, Mali. I grew up with my grandmother in Senegal, which is also West Africa. When I was 7 years old, I was brought to France by my aunt, my mother’s sister, after my mother passed away. And I lived in France for 10 years so I had to transition from Africa to Europe. I learnt French and went to school. After I lived in France for 10 years I decided to come and visit the United States.

I first came as a live-in nanny. I worked for a family up in Long Island, taking care of their children and helping with the household work, in exchange for a room and about $300 a week.

I did that for about a year or two and then I decided to go back to school. But my going back to school wasn’t anything like, “Oh, I’m going to be a social worker”, it was mostly because I wanted to learn English. Columbia School of Social Work was one of the first schools that accepted me, and when my teachers and everybody around me knew that I was accepted, they all rallied around and were very excited for me.