Meet Oumar

Hi! My name is Oumar. I am from Mali, a country in West Africa. I go to James Madison University. This is my first year in the United States. I love sports, especially basketball and soccer. Soccer for me is like something innate. As a matter of fact, in Africa soccer is a passion. Before they can even walk well, children learn how to play soccer in the street. There is a tournament between neighborhoods all the time and the winner team takes all the contributions brought by other competing teams.

In my family we have four children. All of us are boys. It’s considered to be quite a small family in West Africa but rather a big one for Westerners. I have two big brothers and a little brother. My little brother is always looking up to me, I am his role model. That’s why since he was born, I always did everything carefully because I knew my little brother will be watching me and for the first time that somebody is taking example on me. He brings lot of happiness in my life and helps me become mature and responsible.

When I came to US, I was a little bit lost. Even though I had come here to visit when I was little, the idea of coming and live here was quite challenging. United States is a country completely different from mine. People, the culture, the way of thinking, everything seemed so different and I knew it was going to take a long time for me to get used to that and I also knew that I could never be so familiar with that country to call it home. Being in the International Study Center at James Madison University I think, was the best thing for me. I was surrounded by other international students who also lack in English and we exchanged our culture during classes and outside classes. An interesting thing about Study Group managed International Study Center is, while you learn English, you also take some academic classes that are going to make your English even better and make you more familiar with JMU.

Since I was little, I always loved English. I’ve learned English in Kenya, one of the numerous countries I’ve been to. Learning English wasn’t obvious for me. I’ve always been in a French system and did everything in French till 12th grade. I didn’t miss an opportunity to practice my English. All the time I met a person who speaks English, I will talk in English even though I made lots of mistakes. Thus, my English level was a little better than most of my classmates. But I don’t complain for having been in a French system. Discipline, respect and course diversity were all the things I’ve learned. But I always knew I wanted to study in America. I have a passion for this country.

In high school I decided to specialize in science. Therefore, when I came to JMU I chose Biology as my major. I love biology and everything that deals with human body. The human body is a mystery to me and I want to know as much as I can about it. Later in the future I want to be a doctor. I am thinking of taking either pediatric or cardiology as a specialty. As a matter of fact, I love kids and all my friends soon or later say that I am a big baby myself. To reach that goal, I know I have years of studies to do but when I think about all the people I could help if I become a physician, the length of studies doesn’t scare me. I am scared of being discouraged because I know that I have a long way to do and that it is really competitive but as my dad told me, work always pays.

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14 thoughts on “Meet Oumar

  1. Hello, my name is Keisuke. I’m from Japan. It’s nice to see you. I enjoyed reading all about you. Your younger brother is so cute. I have two brothers and I’m the youngest, so I could understand why he was seeing you everytime. I also tried to learn something by seeing my brothers. But I thought you are a very good brother because you always did something good for your brother. I really respect you.

    In addition, there is one more thing I could respect you. It is your attitude to English. You always tried to speak English. I love English too, but I didn’t try to speak so much. Thanks to you, I could notice what I have to do more to improve my English and also other things.

    And I was curious when I read about soccer in your country. Is it serious for money or just for fun?

    Anyway, I hope your dream would come true!!

    • Hi Keisuke.
      sorry for the late response. Thank you very much for your comment I appreciate it. Really nice to meet you as well. Yes, my little brother means everything to me and I’m sure your big brothers will say the same thing about you too. As a matter of fact me and languages, it’s a long story of love. Actually i can speak 4 other languages: French, Spanish, and 2 other african languages. I was really motivated during my life when it comes to languages. And about soccer in Africa it is just about fun that we play. But as people have been doing that for a long time, it became part of the culture and they bet money or other prizes as they grow older. This is for soccer game competitions we do in the street. I guess you like soccer
      so are you planning to come to America or are you here already?
      oumar sacko

  2. Hi, Oumar! fancy seeing you!
    I’m korean who now studies in the USA,too. I felt so happy while i read your stories about your family. You made me smile ;-) and i could see your cordial mind for your around people!

    As a same person who much loves my family, I couldn’t but thinking of my parents, grandmother, brothers and puppy,as well!
    Thanks for giving me the time to feel grateful for my people.

    Also, i like your way of thinking,too! You look so positive and enthusiastic about studying ;-) happy to learn from you.
    hope you are the same person forever!

  3. Hi Sophia,
    thanks for the comment and sorry that i couldnt reply sooner. Glad to know that you liked my article. Indeed family is really important to me. It’s always nice to know someone with whom we share the same ideas. It’s hard not to be enthusiastic, I dont have other options besides studying hard and get myself a spot up there :) Hope your studies are doing well in the US.Come to JMU!!! You will love it.
    take care

  4. Hi Oumar!!!
    My name is Sebastian and come from Germany. I hope, are you doing well? I have readed your history with greatly interesting. I find good that you explain your problem with the english languages. I haven’t never interested for English, but I have to learn english for my University… Do you have tips for me. How I fast learn English.
    My greatly passion is soccer too. I’m playing in the Amateure league in Germany and my position is right defender. What kind of soccer team do you prefer?
    take care

    • Hi Sebastian,
      sorry for the late reply. Thanks for posting on the blog i appreciate it. I am doing well thank you. Just trying to keep up with the studies here as it’s getting harder. Concerning your question about english, i would say the best way is to interact a lot with english speaking people. It’s important not to get discouraged or give up because after all the learning process is little by little. You can also watch lots of movies in english and english subtitles, those help a lot. Waw that’s crazy. You should come here in the USA and play soccer for a University you will probably end up being recruited by MLS( soccer league in the USA) and make good money like David Beckham haha. My favorite soccer team is Barcelona, they are really good. But i havent watched it for a while. how about you.whats your favorite team?
      take care

  5. Hi Oumar
    I’m from Africa, but I’ve lived in England for like most of my life and reading your blog has made me want to come and study at JMU even more. I loved reading about your family and background and also your tips on starting in uni; reading about your college life has got me even more excited for going to America ( which is the place I would love to live in). I hope everything works out for you in the future. :)

    • Hi Christine, thanks for posting by. What part of Africa are you from? Glad that i had that impact on you. Studying in the USA is great, ive always wanted to come here for my studies even though i received a french education. I’m sure if you come to the US to study you will enjoy it just as much as i do.
      thank you
      take care

  6. Hi Oumar!

    My name is Lalla Arkia Maiga. I just read your bio and parts of your blog. I loved every part of it and I am really impressed by your determination and hard work! I am also from West Africa. I am currently enrolled in a school in the US and thinking about transferring. I only found out about JMU today, and reading your blog makes me want to learn even more about the services offered by this institution! I am also studying Biology to go on to medical school, and become a doctor. It looks like I would be very successful if I follow your path! It also seems like you are having a wonderful time at JMU, and I really wonder if this would also be a good choice for me. Please tell me how you managed to fit in the American society? What did your American peers think of you?

    • Hi Lalla Arkia Maiga. Thank you so much for your comment and compliments. Nice to know there are other west Africans in the States representing the continent. As international students, determination is the key to success. As i said in one of my articles, we came from so far, we left our family back home so to make that trip worth it we have to give all we have. Concerning transferring to JMU i am sure you will love it just as much as I do. JMU offers a really good program for pre med student. PLus the teachers are really nice and give really good recommendation letters for whatever you are planning to do later on in the future. To fit in the American society, I would say the best thing is to socialize with people and be part of some organizations. Because not only it permits one to know lot of people but you also learn a lot from it. My American peers welcomed me. I really feel that JMU is one of the most welcoming place especially for international students. Lot of people ask me about where I’m from how it is over there and I am always pleased to teach them about my culture.
      Once again thank you for stopping by and good luck in the future.
      Oumar Sacko

  7. Oumar,
    I just read your blog post about your arrival at JMU and enjoyed your baby bird metaphor! I hope that you are continuing to prosper at JMU. It is a great place (nest) for students and not so bad for former presidents either.

    Lin Rose

    • Hi Dr Rose,
      Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I am really glad that you enjoyed my blog. Yes, I am studying hard and hopefully I will get there soon (as they say in french, “little by little a bird builds its nest”.) I definitely agree on JMU being a perfect place to stay.
      Thank you
      Oumar Sacko

  8. Hi, Oumar!
    How are you?

    I’ve red your text and identified myself with it!
    I’ve been studying in America for six months and also it was very hard to leave my brother and my family backwards!
    But this experience is being the best possible, I met thousands of cultures, it looks like I have been in several countries and have not left my place.
    And will be even more profitable in the future and I’m sure that will open several opportunities for me, for us!
    Talking about soccer, I invite you to participate in a soccer street tournament in Brazil, my country! The best of the world! haha

    Good luck, dude!

    Andre L.

    • Hi Andre!
      Thank you for leaving a comment! Yes I definitely know what you felt like when you left your family to come here. I also agree about the USA being a melting pot. Even though I visited so many countries, I have to admit that I’ve discovered more cultures while I’ve been here. Okay I will come play soccer in the street in Brazil. I’m sure I don’t have their level yet but I know some Ronaldinho moves too. I used to play in the street back in Africa. I hope your studies and everything goes well for you
      take care
      Oumar Sacko

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