From Senegal to Alaska: Tina Ndour makes Anchorage and UAA her home

Tina Ndour is a sophomore at UAA majoring in business administration for management information systems. Ndour is originally from Dakar, Senegal, but moved to Alaska when she was 12 years old.

As one of her many jobs, Tina Ndour works as a writing consultant at the Learning Commons on campus. Photo by Christina Swayney.

The move was important for Ndour and her family for educational reasons.

“My mom was living [in Anchorage] for work while I was in Senegal with my family. She wanted me to come to Alaska for better educational opportunities, and she just wanted to be with her daughter,” Ndour said.

Along with working in the summer for an Alaska-based tour company, Ndour works part-time at a retail store and is a writing consultant at the Writing Center in UAA’s Learning Commons. Ndour’s schedule is packed, and she often doesn’t know how she handles her numerous responsibilities.

“I honestly don’t even know [how I handle it all sometimes]. I do stress a lot, but I find my balance through time management and taking breaks,” Ndour said.

Ndour is known for her hospitality by her co-workers, working seasonally as a tour-desk agent for an Alaskan tour company. Maria Arroyo, one of Ndour’s coworkers, works at a downtown hotel that Ndour frequently works out of during the summer, and she speaks highly of her.

“She always greets guests and staff with a beautiful smile and a friendly greeting. Tina [Ndour] is pretty wonderful,” Arroyo said.

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Ndour is also part of TRIO Student Support Services at the university. TRIO is a national organization that helps students enter post-baccalaureate degrees and offers student support. They occasionally hold volunteer events that students can participate in as well.

Ndour is nearing the end of her sophomore year and is headed toward a career that will allow her to travel. Ndour has international aspirations and is on a path that she hopes will lead her to see the world.

“I would like to leave Alaska and work for the Department of State as a diplomat. I want to spend some time back in Senegal before I start a job for perhaps at least three months,” Ndour said. “I have always wanted to learn more about myself, so traveling gives me an opportunity to help others while discovering the differences around the world.”

Ndour’s hometown of Dakar is a surf-loving coastal town in the westernmost point of western Africa, according to an article in The New York Times from 2019, and could not be more different from Anchorage. For starters, the average daily temperature high temperature is 78 degrees, Ndour said.

“We do not get any snow, it just gets cold and windy sometimes during the night. It’s amazingly beautiful,” Ndour said.

Ndour admires the community in Dakar.

“Senegal has many different ethnic groups that live together in harmony. It’s a very accepting country,” Ndour said.

Although she loves her hometown, Ndour says that Anchorage has characteristics of its own that make it a special place to live.

“People in Anchorage are really nice and they try to get to know more about you, which is really nice,” Ndour said.

While Ndour is on the path to her dreams of traveling the world, she says Alaska holds a special place in her heart.

“I love Alaska. I’ve met amazing friends and I love the people and the landscape. It’s unique and beautiful,” Ndour said.