September 17th, 2014
Epoka University encourages students to immerse themselves into social and academic cultures of other countries and provides opportunities for international students to study in and experience Albania.
In fact, increasing the student mobility is a strategic priority for Epoka University over the Strategic Plan period 2013-2017.
Aware that the student mobility is a key issue in providing excellence in education, the University is committed to enhancing the students’ understanding and appreciation of other cultures, languages and learning approaches by providing opportunities for all students to engage in international activities and programs and to equip them with all necessary skills for international career opportunities. The benefits of student mobility have been well-documented; meanwhile all the academic environment is significantly focused internationalization. Making a success of mobility is crucial for Epoka University, and of course for the students themselves.
Student mobility opportunities may form part of the academic program such as internships or be something that students choose to do such as a student exchange program or international travel and visits. There are other opportunities based on the particular interest whether social or extracurricular.
Currently, the International Relations Office at the Epoka University is proactively identifying and approaching appropriate partners to sign new agreements.
In the last years, the interest and the awareness of the students on the benefits of the participation in the exchange programs has significantly increased. During the fall semester of the 2014-2015 academic year 15 students will participate in exchange program, in 5 different well-known universities like: the University of Applied Sciences-Mainz, Fatih University, Gediz University, Istanbul Technical University and Yildiz Technical University in Turkey.
Meanwhile, we have welcomed back the 9 students whom participated in exchange program during the last semester. Below you can find some of their remarks on this amazing experience.
(Business - Informatics Program)
My personal experience as an exchange student in Mainz, Germany, was the best I could have ever imagined for a number of reasons. I learned how to live for half a year among the people of the most developed and well organized countries in Europe, being independent and at the same time fully responsible.
Especially living in a student-friendly city such as Mainz was a great opportunity to make friends from the five continents of the world. There were numerous sports, cultural and academic events in the university campus where you just needed to organize your schedule if you wanted to participate in all of them.
On the other hand, the courses were very useful for the economic part of my degree in Business Informatics. The professors explained theories relating them to the practices of the most successful multinational companies whose headquarters where located in Frankfurt, just a few minutes far from Mainz.
Moreover Germany is at the heart of Europe so you get the amazing chance to be so close to its neighboring countries. France, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium are reachable only within a few hours! Travelling so easily -without having to go through passport control, visiting museums for free thanks to your student card - really gives you an insight on the benefits of being part of the European Union. Visiting Paris with my friends was a dream that I totally enjoyed making it a reality.
All in all, the most important thing that I learned as an exchange student was that: opportunities are infinite out there in the world for you. Understanding the ways how to take advantage of them will definitely help me choose the best path for my future education and professional career.
I am Enkela Krosi, student of the Architecture Department at Epoka University. I am going to share with you some of my experience while being in the exchange program, during spring 2014. As soon as I learned about the exchange opportunity, I did the application to one of the best universities in Turkey, Istanbul Technical University. I completed there one semester in the Architecture program, and I can say that I found myself too familiar to the environment and educational aspects of ITU. Because of the education and preparations we take here in our university we can easily adapt to most of the universities around.
So here I can shortly tell some experience of mine, being ITU student, and being in Istanbul…
In ITU I found a warm and active environment. The staff and the students welcomed us, they were friendly and helpful. In the architecture program we had the studio project’s site in Eskisehir, so we had a group trip and experienced some days there. We did all necessary analysis needed for our concept and project development. Also I had the Restoration course where the main work was about “Balat” district from which I developed my concepts in that field.
Meanwhile, I traveled around Istanbul and look with a different point of view to that wonderful city, where the sea, the hills, the history, the culture and the youth are living in symbiosis. I felt the harmony and beauty in each street, in each historical building, all the museums and arts, the food and the language, the Marmara Sea, the birds and the artists singing and painting around. I found Istanbul in such a way, like a collage of the colorful oriental culture with the energy and progress of the youth. It was amazing!
One of the most important points: I had many friends there, Turkish and international, from Italy, Portugal, Austria, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria and Africa. I also met Albanian and Kosovo friends there. All together we shared our experiences about where we have been and what are our perspectives. We did team works, visited many places around, and we always shared new ideas and beautiful moments together.
So, from my experience I could easily find the words to tell you the benefits of being an exchange student. It is not about where you go, even caring too much for higher scores (grades), but it is all about the experience! The crucial thing is that, as soon as you get this opportunity, you should evaluate it in the best way and plan for the best days. What is the best of being in exchange program, you will understand after you get back home. But that’s why we are here to share our experiences, so you can get a better point of view before you go there.
Being an exchange student in a better university is not to get “closed” home and read and work too much to reach a certain level or to have the best transcript. It is about to experience everything there: the team works, the workshops, all small events, all the small places around, the streets, to walk and get familiar to that place, to your closed people and friends around you. So, it is about “sharing”! That’s the way you gain more: different people, different culture, and different concepts. I think this is one of the best ways we can invest about ourselves. Not just in our profession, but also in our intellectual and individual development.
Once you experience it, you will wish for more.
(Business - Informatics Program)
This was my first time as an exchange student. Firstly I had doubts about my choice to go in Germany or in Turkey but now I have to say that I am happy for the choice I have done. Living in a country like Germany was a new experience for me. I learned a lot from the everyday life there. I met people from all around the world, from places that I had no idea before. It was so easy to communicate with all of them. This was the best thing I learned, despite the fact that we come from different countries with different culture, languages, traditions, we are not so different in our thoughts and it isn’t difficult to make friends. I learned a lot about others and their style of life and I also gave them information about Albania.
I would say that learning in a Germany University was the best thing I experienced there but when I got to know the people and when I learned so many new things I understood that this was the best part of exchange period.
(Banking and Finance Program)
When it comes to making decision for your education is never easy, especially when it comes in choosing the country you will live in. Choosing Turkey, practicing a whole new language, living for four months in the capital of the world, Istanbul, and visiting the most historical and beautiful places was more than what I was expecting when I first made my application. Fatih University is one of the best universities in Istanbul with well prepared students, a wonderful campus, well organized activities and most importantly very professional staff. Studying abroad develops you as a person. It is not only about the independence, experiencing something new, or meeting people, but also about shaping your character; encouraging you in taking different and more mature steps for your education and career, and most importantly it helps you see the world in different perspective compared to before.
Thank you Epoka University for giving me this opportunity.
(Business - Informatics Program)
Everything changed the moment I left Tirana. I learned there to live alone, in a place where I knew no one. I learn to go and make everything by myself, documents and so on. I had friends from all around the world; I learned to stay with different cultures, to adapt sometimes when necessary to their culture. What is the most important I learned to collaborate and to work with them. Life there had no relation with the one in here. I had to work as a volunteer during day and night. It is very hard to explain life in there, because it is not easy to understand.
This experience gave me the opportunity to move around Europe and not only Germany, which helped a lot in understanding cultures of these countries.
At the end of this wonderful journey I had to make a presentation about a subject we had in front of the President of the University, and also in front of many German dignitaries. Making a presentation was easy for me because I am used to it even here at my home university, but in front of these different people and in front of national newspapers was really a great and rare experience.
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