Graduating with a degree in Public Administration and Citizenship at Syracuse University, ranked first in Public Administration is not just an academic experience, but it is also an honor and great responsibility. Surrounded by the best professors in the field of leadership and management, this experience greatly improved my general development as a person, especially my self – esteem. The relationship between the lecturers and university staff makes positivity and simplicity stand out the most. Sharing opinions and professional experiences have been one of the most beautiful and interesting aspects of this academic year, which provided me the opportunity to exchange experiences and personal occurrences, which indirectly revealed the context of a small country like Albania.
With a big passion and desire to explore nature, I dedicated plenty of time to trips. I got to visit 1000 Islands, the plain areas of Placid Lake in New York, Billington bay in Onondaga County, and even the city of Atlanta. Throughout the course of my journey, I was very active, got involved with an organization, through which I was given the opportunity to share my work experiences. I was also lucky enough to enjoy an activity which was organized by the university to celebrate Syracuse University’s 150 years of history. It was a pleasure and an honor to attend because I was very interested and passionate when it came to learning about its past, and what it had been like, from the previous years, up until to that day, and I was, once again, given the opportunity to fully comprehend Syracuse’s tremendous reputation, and to witness it firsthand since I had seen and heard wonderful things about it.
Another thing that I am really glad I got to do is to share as much information as I could about Albania, including the one time in Ecotourism class when I got to present the Protected Areas of my country. I am very grateful to the Albanian-American Development Foundation and Biberaj Foundation for this opportunity that helped me become a world citizen and a great ambassador of my country. I met a lot of people who represented different cultures, mindsets, perspectives, and by getting to know them, exchanging thoughts, and being around them has helped me broadly understand and appreciate the diversity, as well as how important it is to be you, freely express yourself, and equally welcome everyone’s opinions and culture. The pandemic situation made me realize how lucky I had been to experience all of this huge opportunity from up-close, how the world’s countries might be geographically far from each – other, but remain close in other ways, such as through the existence of relationships between people. My journey in the U.S might be over, but the memories, the enduring ties I have generated with my friends, professors, and the community that I was part of will remain in my heart and mind forever.
Lorela Lazaj, MIP Fellow 2019-2020, Master of Public Administration and Citizenship at Syracuse University