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ELC Los Angeles Student Spotlight: Mohamadou Bachir Gueye March 15th, 2016

Mohamadou Bachir Gueye was born in Senegal and lived there until about three years ago, when he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19. He started studying English at ELC when he decided that he wanted to improve his English to pursue higher education — but, this was not always his plan!

Why are you studying English in Los Angeles?

I am here to work on my BA. I first entered the academic system in 2014 and realized that my English was not as good as I thought it was. I was going to Santa Monica College and my GPA took a hit, and the reason why is because I was not understanding the classes.

I chose Los Angeles because I wanted to be an actor and had a reality check. My perspective on the acting world in Senegal was from what I saw in the movies, but I came here and realized it was not for me. Now I’m working on improving my English for academic work. Either opening a business or getting a diploma.

What were you surprised to learn about life in the US?

I definitely had a culture shock. The culture in Africa is very different from culture in the US. There it is very family-oriented, so it is very difficult for me to be away from my family. And at first it was very tough to make friends. I had to adopt the culture and open up a little bit. I was a bit close-minded.

Which teacher at ELC has made the most impact on you?

Teacher Chanel because I am close to her in age and can relate to her. She thinks out of the box in everything from her style and how she dresses herself to the way she teaches. She has a very different approach to life.

What is your favorite place in LA?

Century City. I made it my comfort zone. Whenever my parents come to visit, I hang out with them in that neighborhood.

What do you miss about your country?

Family is the foundation of the society, so it is hard to be away from my siblings.

What is your favorite phone application?

It used to be Facebook, but now I use Instagram because it’s easy and more straightforward. Facebook has become an advertising platform.

Do you think social media brings people closer together?

It depends on how you use social media and how you interact with people. Facebook groups can call people to connect and rally. They can give people the opportunity to get together and connect based on their interests. Or, you can use it to just look at each other’s pictures.

What is your advice to someone who wants to study English in the US?

You have to be open minded; learn to absorb the language and absorb the culture. Don’t just go to class and learn vocabulary. Go out and talk to someone!

What has been your greatest moment in LA?

Well, the food is different here. When I first arrived, McDonald’s was my favorite place to hang out and I gained a lot of weight. My father came to visit me and was very disappointed. My happiest moment was dropping the weight.

Mohamadou Student Spotlight