Feature

Thank You USA

Jean Desire Kouassi
Jean Desire Kouassi, Kirkwood Exchange Student from Côte d’Ivoire and former Communiqué Social Media Manager

Becoming a graduate from Kirkwood Community College on May 16, 2020, it was a very challenging last semester and last days experience in the United States.  

As COVID-19 struck and forced facilities to close and to move from in-person classes to online classes, it became necessary to adapt and readjust the learning process.  

I used to be an in-person class learner, so moving to online classes became challenging. But thanks to God, I have been able to complete my program and be graduated. I learned a lot about myself, my limits and how I could overcome it. 

Plans for returning back home started being implemented by the Department of State since I was an exchange student. Some of my friends and roommates left early because their countries still had borders open. But in my case, and same for all Ivorians living in the U.S., we waited until June 2 to be able to get a repatriation flight to get back home.  

The experience of leaving the United States in these conditions made me feel sad since it was not the plan I had in mind while coming, despite the fact that I was excited to get back home and to be able to meet my family, friends and loved ones.  

CCI students from Cote d'Ivoire.
A group of CCI exchange students from Cote d’Ivoire.

Back in Ivory Coast since June 4, I feel like I have never left my home. After being in quarantine, I was able to be with my family. Everything seems normal to me.  

My family and friends asked me thousands of questions about the U.S. and wanted to know everything. So, it was a series of meetings, calls and chat almost all day long to talk and repeat the same thing to anybody I met.  

Apart from it, I kept working on projects with companies, NGOs, Foundations and International Organizations. I have also been able to share my experience with some students from communication schools.  

The skills, knowledge and experiences acquired during my classes, volunteering activities and my internship at the Communiqué led me to set a project. I am currently working on a project entitled Ethical Digital Literacy – Put Human Before Resources.  

The project focuses on training students, youth and anybody interested how to use social media platforms and other digital platforms with an emphasis on human-centered design. The core actions of the project will be on understanding data privacy, digital freedom and ethics. 

Thank you for this 360-life turnaround experience! 

Image courtesy of Jean Desire Kouassi

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