Skip to Content

Abibatou Diallo's Story

“I’m from Senegal, which is a country in West Africa, and I’m an International Student. I’ve always wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue my studies. I love how the curriculum in America is so diverse, but you can choose to study one subject and specialize. But because of finances, I didn’t think it would be possible, so I started at a public university in Senegal.

When COVID hit, we stopped classes – a lot of people who go to public university in Senegal are from rural areas and don’t have internet access, so we couldn’t pivot to online learning. But that was an opportunity for me to figure out what I wanted to do. My aunt was willing to be my sponsor, so I started looking at options, and reached out to a few schools – Normandale is the only one that wrote back. I was so happy!

Last year, I started. My experience here has been great. My professors are so great, and they activate something in me – I’ve never been good at math, but I had [an instructor] who just awoke my interest and helped me, and now I love math, and I’m great at it!

I love science, I love food, and I love cooking, so I’m studying food science. I wanted to be in a field where I wouldn’t just study theory but could use my creativity too. My first year at the University in Senegal was tough, and I felt so disconnected. When I came to Normandale, I told one of my instructors that I was having a tough time, and she told me that what I was doing was amazing and that I was giving myself the gift of achieving my goals. That really helped me believe in myself and work hard. This semester I’m taking 18 credits, which I didn’t know if I could do – but I’m doing really well! I know myself better now and I know I can anything if I believe in myself.” – Abibatou Diallo, Normandale student. Abibatou works as a Peer Tutor at the Tutoring Center.

upper arrowtop