“I am from Guinea Conakry [The Republic of Guinea]. The national language is French; some speak French, but in the villages not everyone speaks French. My native language is Soussou. My father is Soussou, and my mother, she is Poular. They don’t speak the same native language. I can speak a little bit of my mom’s native language, and I am fluent in Soussou. But we have other native languages; Malinké, Kissi, Guerzé; I think 50 or 60 native dialects in my country. My husband and I, we speak the same native language. He and I are both Soussou. And we have the same last name!
Before I came to the U.S., I was studying business at a university. When I finished at university, I got married and suddenly I got my visa. My husband told me to come here, to the U.S., because he was alone. So I’m here because of my husband. I’ve been here for three and a half years.
I think I heard about OLC from my husband. He had some friends who were taking classes here before they started class at the University [of Arkansas]. That is why he brought me here, to improve my English. Before I came here, my English was really bad. Before, I couldn’t have conversations with other people. It was weird for me. When I saw everybody speaking English, I did not know what they were talking about. I couldn’t have conversations with people, so I was uncomfortable. But now, I’m thankful for those teachers who took the time to help me improve my English. Now I can have conversations with people. It made me feel good when people were talking and I could contribute, could talk with them. We can discuss things.
I really, really like OLC. I encourage other people to come here. OLC is a place where you can gain knowledge, and some friends from different backgrounds who can become your family. You can learn about their culture, their religion, share some food with each other. We learn in peace; people are friendly.”