What is your background?: My name is Esther Okie and I am from Cote d’Ivoire, a west-African country. I studied Management at the University Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Cocody, Abidjan.
My family and I live in Abidjan, the economic capital and largest city of Cote d’Ivoire. I have four brothers and I am the second child of my parents.
What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: I am part of an international exchange program called Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). I have been selected to participate in it and this program includes many participants from different countries such Cote d’Ivoire, Columbia, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, and Ghana. I arrived on January 3, 2021, in Cedar Rapids and I started my first semester at Kirkwood on January 25. CCI participants do not have the opportunity to choose which college they would like to attend and I absolutely do not regret studying at Kirkwood. It is a great opportunity for me.
What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: I am studying Project Management. I found my interest in it when I worked in a Non-Government Organization in my country. In this organization, I learned how to write a project and I participated in many activities to defend children and women’s rights. I want to get knowledge and skills in this field, be able to manage different types of projects.
Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: Yes, I am. Firstly, I participated in the International Education Week by sharing my culture. In addition, I am a volunteer at the Greenhouse. I like the nature and that is a great opportunity to participate in their activities, learn more, and develop new skills.
Are you involved in anything off of campus?: I am involved in volunteering activities with other CCI participants in some organizations. In addition, I am a volunteer at Catherine McAuley Center where I help in the food pantry and the donation room.
What do you do for fun?: I like to spend time with my adorable roommate from Columbia. We watch movies, learn from our different cultures or go out to discover new places. I also like to spend time with my wonderful mentor family and friends with whom I learn new things on American culture. With them, I discovered several activities and games such as sledding, basketball, and playing pool.
Where do you see yourself in five years?: In five years, I see myself as a project manager of an organization to participate in the development of my beautiful country.