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How did I get a scholarship to continue my studies abroad? Mamie Diagne, a young African student in Morocco, shares her story.

1- Who is Mamie Diagne?

My name is Ndèye Mane Diagne, I am 27 years old, I have been living in Morocco for 8 years. I am single and I work in a call center in Rabat for a French company called Total Direct Energy (electricity and gas supplier). I love writing, dancing, singing and making videos. Being an introverted and silent person, I like to be alone in my room so that I can do silly stuff (dancing and being a diva).

2- What did you do before you left to pursue your studies abroad?

I was also studying before coming to Morocco. To be precise, I got a scholarship in 2012 after my bachelors and that’s why I came to Morocco.

3- Why did you want to go abroad?

When I got my bachelor’s degree and the scholarships, I preferred to come to Morocco because the educational system is well organized here. I could not afford (financially) to study in a private school in Senegal and I did not want to have a bachelor’s degree in 4 or 5 years because of the permanent strikes in the public universities in Senegal. Deep down, I was convinced that I was going to continue my studies with peace of mind in Morocco.

4- How was your trip organized?

I received the scholarship through the Scholarship Department in Dakar and the trip was organized by them too. Once I got the scholarship, I knew which city I was going to study in and the course I was going to follow. After a few weeks, I was informed about the date of my trip. The scholarship office took care of all the administrative procedures and purchased my plane tickets. Upon arrival, my classmates and I were taken care of/guided by the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (MAIC). MAIC, with the help of former students in Morocco, advised us of the further steps that we needed to do, such as registering at the university and searching for housing/apartments.

5- What were the realities once you arrived?

At first, I found it difficult to adapt. I was in a city where there weren’t really many black people compared to Rabat and Casablanca. So, I was constantly harassed on the street, including on my way to university. I was discouraged, disgusted and regretted coming. However, I wasn’t disappointed about my studies. Based on my experience, Morocco is very strict about studies. The courses went very well; there were no strikes (which I was afraid of), yet I was in a public university. However, I finally got my license in 2016; the third year was difficult and I was depressed at the beginning of the year. This delayed my graduation by a few months.

6- What are the advantages and disadvantages being student abroad?

As a student, I did not struggle financially because I had financial scholarship of my country and the MAIC. I quickly found a decent job after graduation and I am able to earn a good living. I manage to pay a monthly rent, my bills, I support myself and I help my mom (financially). The disadvantage is that I don’t work in my field of study because I have a bachelor’s degree in English, specifically in linguistics, so I find my job boring. Currently, I want to go back to school, get a master’s degree and go back to Senegal.

7- What are your future ambitions after finishing your studies?

I would like to obtain a master’s degree in Translation and Interpreting or Communications because later I would like to open a communications agency. I have also started steps to continue staying abroad (outside Africa if possible).
I would like to be an internationally renowned translator/interpreter and also an entrepreneur. Being a feminist, women will be emphasized in my future company: 100% or 75% of my collaborators will be women In Sha Allah. This may seem sexist but I would simply like to contribute to strengthening the professional integration of Senegalese women and their empowerment. It might not necessarily be a communications company. But what is certain is that I do not intend to limit myself to working in my field of study.

8- What advice would you give to a young African who dreams of pursuing his studies abroad?

A piece of advice to my brother or sister who will read to me: if you dream of pursuing your studies abroad, I say you to go for it. Do everything you can and stay honest above all, to reach your goal and make your dream come true. Be patient, but not lazy because as they say, “Everything comes to those who know how to wait” but “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”. If you have ideas, make them come true and be a model of success. I hope to apply my own advice (laughs) as my idol Beyoncé said in her song Bigger: “I am not just preaching; I am taking my own advice. So, go ahead and chase your dreams.”

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