Far from West Africa - Information & Cultural Exchange

Far from West Africa

I still can’t imagine how far I am from West Africa, where I grew up. I miss my incredible and talented people, who are challenging and changing the perspectives of Africa and Africans… all of course dreamers like me but with the same goal to try to make their world a better place.

Travelling is a passion of mine. I love to be surprised and mesmerized. I don’t often do any research or plan anything when travelling to a new destination, I prefer to connect and discover with local people on the ground. Moving here to Australia less than seven months ago, a part of me knew I would fit into my new life very easily if I was confident and positive about this new journey. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I am from Niger, and I have lived in Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, which are all French-speaking countries, so language was my first barrier. Then of course the culture shock, it was difficult to understand how certain things work here. I am still in the process of learning.

Looking for a job was a battle. I met employers who were reluctant to give a chance to new arrivals to the country. Three weeks after arriving in Sydney I had my first job interview but even though they liked me I was told they couldn’t take me because I didn’t have any experience in Australia. It was a heartbreaking.

I am very lucky to have a supportive family, good friends and amazing teachers and advisors form Navitas, City East Community College, where I took an administration course. I also had a chance to be selected as a Volunteer Coordinator at Auburn Council for the annual Africultures Festival. The festival was a great experience for me to connect with Africans, Australians and other migrants to celebrate Africa’s diversity. This is what I love about Australia, this unique diversity. That is one of the reasons I applied for the Venue and Reception Officer position at Information Cultural Exchange, an art organization working with communities in order to exchange knowledge through art.

This front desk suits my social personality, my need to meet people who are dedicated to work with communities and at the same time my need to learn about the arts in Australia and projects that I can be involved in. I hope to build on my previous professional experience in art in West Africa, where I had worked at a children’s museum in Senegal and an art gallery in Cote d’Ivoire.

Words by Safia Amadou.
Photo by Julia Mendel. 

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