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Student follows dream from the Ivory Coast to college in the U.S.

Outstanding Student, Hilary Houenou

By Juana Jones
On April 17, 2019

Hilary Houenou is an international student majoring in graphic design. She originally started in marketing where she earned a certificate.  She will live in the states for one year after graduation before returning to her home country, the Ivory Coast.

Q: Why did you choose Kirkwood Community College? 

A: Two years ago I participated in the program back home that was made by our United States Embassy. They selected 1,000 students from my country and many others to be sent to America to learn English culture, a major and work on a project for their community. I was one of those who came to Kirkwood. 

Q: What are your plans after Kirkwood? 

A: Since I am graduating this semester and I’m an international student, I have to get a work permit and work for a year. Then I will go back to my country and work on a community project.  

Q: What is your best memory at Kirkwood? 

A: Meeting American students and learning about them as well as seeing how different it is than on TV because I’ve never been in America before. What we see on TV is just America with people who don’t show much interest to others. When I came here I found they’re actually open and love to learn about you. They love to share their culture with you, they love to share with you and they’re just lovely people to be around. 

Q: What inspires you? 

A: I have loved drawing since I was younger and growing up and I loved to meet people, too. I was just going into marketing. I started marketing at Kirkwood and got a certificate. Graphic design was the perfect fit because I can draw and produce what people have in mind make it beautiful and we can sell it. 

What inspired me to do good in life was I see my parents and my dad is the only one working. My dad had dreams but had to give up on them for our family. Listening to his story, I thought I should do good so I could at least give back for all the sacrifices he made for our family. 

Q: Tell us about who you are outside of Kirkwood? 

A: I feel like I’m just a stay-at-home person  reading books, drawing or just being on my computer playing video games. If I’m in the mood for going out then I’m a very social person. I’m fun and I share my culture with people.  

Q: What does being an Outstanding Student mean to? 

A: It’s a motivator because I’m a competitive person. I always wanted to be perfect and I always wanted to be the best. Because I’ve been working hard my whole life on that and seeing today that I’ve been nominated an Outstanding Student for graphic design. It’s just like having a crown on my head saying all these things you’ve been doing from day one to today this is your reward. Good job and keep going.

Interview conducted by Juana Jones, Co-Managing Editor

Outstanding Student Hilary Houenou, graphic design, works on a class project.
Photo by Jeff Sigmund.

 

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