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Alfonc Rakaj Continues Higher Education at Oregon State University

Being able to study in the United States, Alfonc Rakaj says gives him the opportunity to see things in more than one perspective when it comes to life and learning. “It’s a very beneficial experience. Before I use to see things from one perspective, here you can see many other perspectives,” he says.

“You can challenge your culture, your activities your things you know if they are the right thing to do from your culture and your previous life perspective. You can see life from a different eye and angle and you can choose between the cons and pros and choose your own path from whatever you learned before to what you have learned now,” he says.

“It’s a lot of broadening your perspective and knowledge. All of those areas.”

Alfonc is attending Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. He chose there because his high school is in the same city and he already was a bit familiar with the university. He says when choosing his major, he wanted to make sure it was something that could be beneficial to others once he graduates. “Well I am a citizen of Albania. I was born in the northwest part of Albania in a small village called Boge and my major is Political Science and when I was growing up I’ve always liked Social Studies especially History,” he says.

“When I came here I realized that with History it would be great to get a diploma in History, but there wasn’t much of what I really wanted to do because I would like to learn theory but put it in practice and if history was the theory of something I wanted to change and make a difference, it wouldn’t give me much of a chance to doing that in practice. So it would be like learning a recipe for a favorite dish, but not being able to cook it. So I decided to study Political Science and I can manage to cook it as well.”

When Alfonc says he can manage to 'cook' his major what he means is....” I plan to get involved in some leadership. I thought about going back to Albania and I plan to get involved in public leadership, politics or anything that involves leadership and can bring something about change. Something different from the way it is done before.”

Alfonc just finished his freshman year and so far he says he enjoys being on the campus and socializing with other students.“The campus is fairly big.The classes vary.The interactions with the professors have varied as well, but so far I’ve had good experiences. Some of them are better than the others,” he says.

“Professors I’ve have known and taken classes from have been ready to help me and have been very friendly. They have offered to help and I can contact them and visit them through their office hours anytime and I also had the change to meet a lot of other students and other people and I am all about socializing. I also could get involved with student organizations which I am doing right now, so it is a lot of positive things and a lot of more space.”

He also has adjusted to focusing on whatever plans he has for each day instead of trying to do everything all at once. “I think I have both grown and changed since I came here. I’ve grown because age related I was seventeen when I came here and now I am nineteen. I’ve grown as far as my knowledge, my perspectives, and my experiences. I’ve grown getting to see life from different angles and traveling, getting to know more people, getting to know more ideas so in those ways I have grown,” he says.

“The other way I’ve changed is when I came here, time was very crucial here andfor me that was very hard to accept it and now I’ve changed in a way that I go with the plans I have for the day and check them off when I finish them.”

Alfonc has a few more years left to complete before he graduates and he says more education after that is a possibility. “If I can manage to graduate in four years which likely will happen in June 2012, my plan so far is to try to work for a year or two and then go back to graduate school.”