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Student Spotlight: Serigne Bassirou Lo

Serigne Lo started studying English at Siena Literacy Center in November, only two weeks after he arrived in the United States from Senegal. Although he studied English on the computer back in Senegal, Serigne continues to challenge himself to improve.

“Learning English is not easy,” Serigne said. “I have one language in my thinking. I think in the other language, in French, or in my native language [Wolof].”

Serigne’s love of learning makes him a wonderful student, according to his tutor, Kevin Gordon. “Any unfamiliar word is neatly written down in his notebook for later study,” Kevin said. “Books we were unable to get to during our tutoring sessions are scooped up and read at home before we meet again. Biographies about people who have made a difference in the world are his favorites.”

Serigne chose to come to the United States to stay with his uncle because he felt he would be safer and find more opportunities here. “I have freedom,” he said. “I can say what I’m feeling.” He is in the process of applying for asylum, and has been able to work with Siena’s community resource navigator to find additional resources.

As his English improves, Serigne hopes to get his GED and go to college to become a nurse practitioner. He was inspired to go into medicine after a good friend of his died of blood disease. “I always like to help people,” Serigne said.

Serigne hopes that others will continue to take advantage of the services offered at Siena. “My main challenge to new immigrants is to come here to learn,” he said.


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