Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
Web Tools and Search Bar
International Student Excels at Western
June 6, 2012
MACOMB, IL – Coming to college for the first semester can be intimidating enough without adding the stress of learning to speak English at the same time.
When Assanatou Sow (A-san-a-tow So), of Mali (West Africa) came to Western Illinois University in 2007, she packed with her a desire to learn American literature and the English language. After spending time in Western's English as a Second Language (WESL) Institute, Sow is preparing to graduate from WIU in December and has earned a Centennial Honors College scholarship for the fall semester.
"Assanatou joined the Honors College last August, and in that short time, she has established herself as a leader," said Centennial Honors College Academic Adviser Molly Homer." She helped revitalize the Student Honors Association this spring by serving as the SHA Journalist. I know that she is not just active in the Honors College because I seem to see her everywhere I go on campus."
Sow, who speaks five languages, said she chose Western because of its WESL program, and because she was able to get a student visa to study here.
"I came here at 18 and I didn't know anyone," Sow said. "Within WESL I found a family…there were lots of extracurricular activities, trips to different places and a mentoring program."
One of Sow's professors, Mohammad A. Siddiqi, director of Western's journalism program, said Sow is one of the "most hard working and sincere students" he's ever taught.
"She is very personable and diligent," Siddiqi said. "She takes challenges in both her academic career and extracurricular activities and meets those challenges with rigor and quality."
Rick Carter, executive director of the WIU School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, said Sow is a "successful example" for other international students attending WIU.
"The Center for International Studies is here for all international students starting from the international admissions, welcome orientation, WESL; all the way through to graduation," Carter said. "We strive to be a central point of contact for Western's international students with the resources and support required for successful college students."
Sow is also a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and has served as an organizational executive board member and treasurer. Two of Sow's research projects were also presented at the Honors College Research Day in 2011 and 2012.
"In general I enjoy my studies and I'm always learning new things," Sow said. "I most enjoy my journalism classes; ever since I was 8, I was interested in journalism."
After her graduation from Western, Sow said she hopes to move to France to attend law school. She would like to eventually work within the United Nations.
For more information on WIU's WESL program, visit wiu.edu/international_studies.
Posted By: WIU News, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606