My Study Abroad Experience: A story of a brilliant student from Ivory Coast

 In African International Schools, Education in Africa, Enko Blog, Enko Riviera, IB, International, International education, Study abroad experience, University guidance

Meet Fatima Konate, a young and brilliant lady from Ivory Coast. Like many other young Africans, Fatima had a dream: Becoming a great businesswoman. After attending Enko Riviera in Ivory Coast, she went to Canada to further her studies. 

Fatima Konate tells us all about her study abroad experience from her admission into a prestigious university to her struggles. Get inspired by this life-changing experience!

Unlock Your Potential

Can you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Fatima Konate, I currently study Finance and Business at the University of York in Canada. I chose this programme because I have always been passionate about business and wanted to do something new. I did my DP1 and DP2 at Enko Riviera where I studied courses like economics, maths, etc. that really prepared me for my university programme and my career goals. 

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How did you get admitted to York University?

Enko Education through its admission department and Knowledge for College played a major role in my admission process. Shelly Jain, Deputy Head of University Admission at Enko Education helped me in every aspect of the application process at York University including scholarships. Thanks to Enko, I had the chance to get a scholarship of 6,000 Canadian dollars. But Enko’s support went beyond university admission. Mrs. Shelly also helped me in applying for residences and encouraged me a lot about everything.

Did you take a language test like TOEFL before traveling?

No, I didn’t. Before Enko, I did not master English. During the two years I spent there, I learned to speak English fluently. And when the university saw that Enko was my former school, they did not ask for an English Test language, as they knew that Enko really focuses on empowering its students as far as foreign languages are concerned.

Embracing people’s differences

How did you cope in a new environment with a different culture?

Canada is an open country where you find people from different cultural backgrounds. The country is diverse and super interesting so I could easily adapt myself. Moreover, schooling at Enko Education was an excellent preparation to face multiculturalism. Back at Enko Riviera, I had classmates and teachers from different cultures and the school really educate me on such issues. 

You also find a lot of international students here so it feels like home. There is even a high chance you met people from the same background. For example, some of my friends from Enko Riviera also study here.

What are the benefits of studying abroad?

Coming to Canada has been of great benefit to me, especially for my career. I have always had an idea of the business I wanted to do with a specific approach. But when I came here, I saw people setting up the same type of business with a different perspective which is way better than the one I had. And I am really planning on using everything I learned here to develop my business ideas.

How did studying abroad contribute to your personal development?

Breaking out of your comfort zone is no easy thing. I came here when I was very young. With no parents around, I had to take care of myself. I became mature early. I learned how to focus on my studies and things that really matter. Studying abroad helps in being responsible and conscious. 

What were the challenges you faced? 

Food was one of the first struggles I had when I reached here. In West Africa where I come from, we eat a lot of cooked food. Meanwhile, I could not cook here as my residence did not have a kitchen. Also, the weather was really harsh on me in the beginning. My first winter here was far from the most pleasant experience. But as time went on, I could adapt myself. 

Is studying abroad a life-changing experience?

Yes, of course. Studying abroad gave me a deeper understanding of other cultures’ perspectives. It changed the way I look at people and the world. It helped me in becoming more open-minded. I have started understanding and thinking like people around me so that I would not be too judgmental.

Are you inspired by Fatima’s story? If just like her, you dream of studying abroad, joining an IB programme (International Baccalaureate), and getting access to international education. 

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