Binta Hanne knew what she wanted for her career, but just needed a program to match her interests.
A native French speaker, she came to America from Mali, in Africa, to learn English and wanted to excel in communications to build on her passion of connecting with new people and advocating for their needs.
While she was still a student at Baltimore City Community College, she started an online search for top-ranked communications programs. Then she narrowed down her options to colleges that were local and affordable and found The University of Baltimore's Digital Communication program.
The program, it turns out, wasn't what she wanted, but she had already come to like UBalt's people and atmosphere. As a student, Binta would work as an orientation leader and student worker in the Office of Student Support. Overall, she's glad she opted to switch her major rather than transfer schools.
"I found UBalt to be inclusive. I met some great friends here and they're the ones who introduced me to the orientation leader program and stuff like that and I stayed."
Binta eventually found a program focused on international studies, which has since become part of UBalt's B.A. in Policy, Politics and International Affairs, and fell in love with the work.
"I was so in love with it because it's on current stuff that's relevant in the world and I love people. I love to interact with people, so one of the main thing I drew on that was the advocacy part. I want to advocate for people through policy."
Her head started spinning with possibilities. Through this program, she knew she could be a humanitarian worker, get a job with a non-profit government organization, and work anywhere in the world, including back home in West Africa. It also opened her eyes to the study of conflict resolution, a path she would eventually follow when she started graduate school at UBalt. Before even graduating with her bachelor's degree in spring 2020, Binta started taking graduate classes within the Global Affairs and Human Security program. UBalt students can take up to 9 credits in their final year of undergraduate studies to apply toward graduate school.
"While I was finishing, I took one graduate course, and I recommend that to students. It was really great."
At both levels, Binta has found she enjoys both the classes and the learning environment.
"People encourage you to be something you want to be," she says. "Like International Organization, we talked about the United Nations and NGOs in the war, how they operate. I'm from a developing country, so I'm very interested in ideas and concepts that I can apply to my country in the future."