If the first semester of this school year is about knowledge and information, the second semester was about people! Whoever knows me from back-home, can tell one thing for sure: I am a people person. I am a strong believer in communication, connection, and relationships that can last for life. As so, my overall expectations from the semester were met, as I was introduced to amazing people who made the experience unforgettable.
I had the chance to go on an immersion trip to Puerto Rico as part of one of the courses I took from the Owen Business School. As an international student, my perspective is deeply affected by the fact that I am still not familiar with the country and how things work. So, for me the challenge was:that going to Puerto Rico, was the vacation I had been wanting while keeping in mind that it should be a learning and working experience also.
In terms of expectations, academic and professional wise, I enjoyed and learned incredibly a lot from the meetings we had with different entrepreneurs. I was challenged to step out of my comfort zones I engaged with the country’s social issues and how these people addressed them. While doing this, I also allowed myself to be radically transformed in the process. These meetings guided me through a new way of thinking because Puerto Rico and Albaniamight seem like two completely different countries, but, the challenges they face, especially economically and politically, are the same. So, for me, knowing that these people made it amid not the most favorable environment, is motivating and rewarding.
As we came back to Nashville, I was chosen as part of the Turner Family Center Executive Board. My role consists in organizing the TFC Summit, which will gather entrepreneurs from different US universities working in the social impact field. Following my passion for meeting and engaging with people, this new experience is what I will enjoy the most.
The knowledge gained and the growth experienced will last long after that. But, most of all, it will be the people that I will have close to my heart: they are now my friends and my mentors.
All the above experiences motivated me to into the next year confidently and more motivated, while keeping in mind that the US education system has so much to offer and I need to make the most out of it.
©️ Ergisa Bejkollari is pursuing a degree in Public Policy/Development Policy at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee