When I first submitted my application for the MIP program, I would only dream of being the recipient of this scholarship and the opportunity it presented. Receiving the acceptance letter from MIP and later on from Cornell, it was little to say surreal. Embarking on this journey, I knew it was a step out of my comfort zone, but that is where all the magic and the growth happens. Moving to Ithaca, NY, doing my master’s at Cornell University has been what I precisely expected it to be: Transformational.
I have discovered Cornell to be the gold mine of academic and professional opportunities. Sitting in classrooms among students from such diverse backgrounds, with impressive resumes, debating ideas back and forth, listening and receiving from professors with tremendous professional experiences, remarkable researches, published books, and most importantly receiving their acknowledgment, willingness to listen to my ideas and experiences, reminds me to be thankful of this opportunity each day. Having the chance to attend guest lectures and be challenged from individuals like Ronnie L. Bryant, (published author, and CEO of RLB), daily attending classes of bright minds as Dr. Daniel Peter Loucks has been a fantastic learning experience.
There is something else that this experience is giving and reinforcing in me, the love and pride for my country. Studying Public Affairs and being immersed in the American education culture, I am learning to appreciate my country each day more. Considering our historical background and struggles, we have indeed come far. Discovering the great and the bad about countries as the United States has proven to be therapeutic. It is so good to know that not only the developing world and small countries like Albania struggle with inequality, infrastructure, loopholes in the education system, failures in healthcare reforms, or rust in street-level bureaucracy.
I am so thankful for the transformation, the growing, and the eye-opening experiences I have had thus far, and I am certainly looking forward to what yet is to come.