Sandrine 

West Africa

Global Health Researcher

I remember coming to the States and not knowing anything. When someone told me I was coming to America I was very excited. I was like, “Oh my goodness!” Because I loved music, I loved entertainment and I wanted to pursue medicine. The other part was not knowing how to get started and being in a place where I was away from home, away from the culture, away from friends and starting over. 

I had to learn English, as my native language is French. I really wanted to be educated. . I wanted education so bad because my parents had told me how important it was. And for me to get an education I had to understand English very well. What I did is I shut myself away from French for a while and I tried really hard to learn English at my best by reading a lot of books, listening to music, and communicating with people. 

Coming to America, I did not know college existed. I just knew that I will go to middle school and high school and that’s it. So throughout my high school experience I just knew that I always had to perform well in school. And then in my third year in high school I learned about college through the AVID program. It’s a program that helps high school students get to college. 

They looked at my transcript, they looked at my hobbies and activities because I was involved in sports. I played tennis, basketball and badminton. They told me you may be eligible to go to University of California and I got into UC at Santa Cruz. I knew that I wanted to follow a path in medicine because I was interested in helping communities affected by poor health care back home. 

When I went to Santa Cruz, I majored in chemistry because I knew it was a subject that would allow me to understand the fundamentals of medicine. It was very, very tough, but I persisted and was able to finish it successfully.

And then after that, and also throughout the program, I did some internships. I went to Stanford School of Medicine for a medical internship which allowed me to kind of find what exactly I wanted to do in medicine. That’s when I knew that I was interested in global medicine and international health. When I graduated, I applied to the global medicine program at USC; very, very competitive program to get into. But with God’s help I was able to get in. I just finished in May (2018) with a Masters in Global Medicine. I want to be in a position where I’m able to set regulations and choose the best health care for populations.

I’m very, very passionate about what I do, and I really would love to see myself in leadership in health care because I do value human health. I do believe that if you’re not healthy you can’t function properly. And I think that being in a position of leadership would allow me to make changes that can improve lives on a global scale.