Mame Salim: Giving Back Through Language

Outdoor portrait of Aliaya Williams, on a bright sunny day.

Mame Salim, a senior double majoring in Psychology and Italian, is giving back to the organization that supported her in her youth. Mame was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was about to turn six years old. When she arrived in Buffalo, Journey’s End, a non-profit refugee resettlement organization, helped her family land on its feet, and now she is studying what she loves at UB.

When she heard about Prof. Maureen Jameson’s course on teaching English to speakers of other languages, she jumped at the chance to tutor in English, an activity that she has experience with and enjoys. Her client for the semester also happens to be a refugee supported by Journey’s End, the same organization that helped Mame’s family. She met with her client, a mother of four with another one on the way, for the first time at the end of September and shared her own story to help foster a connection. Though meeting her client solo for the first time was a bit like “going straight into battle,” Mame has taken on the challenge and appreciates her client’s eagerness to learn.

Though she has limited time with her client, Mame hopes to leave her with skills to help her adapt and thrive in Buffalo. “My goal isn’t to make her fluent, it’s basically just to make sure she has the knowledge of how to navigate her world.” As for her own future, Mame plans to use the skills she’s developing in this course throughout the rest of her life. “In the long run, twenty or thirty years from now, my goal is to go back to Africa, to refugee camps and schools, and teach English. And having this experience of teaching kids and adults, I’ll be able to do that.”

Preparing for a career, giving back to impactful organizations, and doing what you love are only a few benefits of courses like Prof. Jameson’s that incorporate experiential learning. Visit the ELN team in 17 Norton to learn about amazing opportunities like this one!

Written by Amanda Hellwig ‘19