When I left home for Albany (NY), I was excited but my fear overpowered my joy of pursuing an MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at SUNY Albany. This is because I was a mummy’s girl. However, upon my arrival in Albany, I met a wonderful woman whose kindness and open mindedness changed my life forever. She is the incarnation of the Fulbright spirit of mutual understanding. This woman is Lynne Ogren, a Fulbright alumnus herself, whom I dearly call my American mum. Lynne has welcomed me in her heart, family, in her friends’ circle, and introduced to another great lady Denise!
Had not been thanks to Lynne, I would have left the USA the first week of my arrival. I was full of anxiety and felt lost. She helped me find an apartment, went on shopping with me and has always been with me through the two years I spent in Albany. Thanks to her, I was able to overcome my fear of the unknown, and the cultural shock which paths the stay of a foreign student on the American soil. I not only graduated with an MA but also got the chance to be one of the fellows of the prestigious program of women’s fellowship on Public Policy and did a 6 month internship at the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Today, I am a happy mum of a baby girl I named after Lynne. I am also happily married to a Fulbright Alumnus thanks to the Fulbright program. I have my dream job managing a project on maternal and children’s health for Jhpiego.
Aissata Ba – Fulbright to USA 2016