My first week in Tirana, Albania

Prior to coming to Albania, I was nervous that everything would be very fast pace and hard to adjust.  On the other hand, the whole country has been in open arms for us foreign students who came through the University of Michigan.  What drew me to come to Albania was the unique history of being conquered by the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, then becoming a monarchy for 32 years, then becoming communist for over 40 years, and then finally adapting a democracy in the early 1990s.  I felt that it was important to work in Albania because unlike many countries in the world, it has been untouched from western influence.  That being said, I was nervous that Albanians were going to see me as different, but I quickly realized that the Albanian people want to become more like the rest of Europe in that they want more business endeavors to blossom.  A main goal that I hope to accomplish is learning how a country makes strides to become more modern and self-sufficient; and, adapting personable skills with international workers, is important to me, because the world is becoming more and more connected and I feel this is a vital skill that school can not teach.  The only problem I see myself running to is a language barrier and keeping cool in the hot Mediterranean climate.

3 thoughts on “My first week in Tirana, Albania

  • July 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm
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    Hi John,

    So glad to hear you have felt welcomed in Albania! It’s great that you challenged yourself to go somewhere despite a language barrier. I’m interested in what you said about western influence – is there western influence in pop culture, ads, beauty standards, etc. or are they mostly Albanian? I remember when I first went to India it was jarring to see Pepsi commercials on basically every storefront, and to realize that our hit music makes it over to India even though theirs does not reach our top 40 list. Excited to hear next week!

    Jenny

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    • July 9, 2018 at 6:04 pm
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      You can see a lot of western influence in the younger generation. Strolling through the village and city you will notice that a lot of the older women (70+) cover their hair with a silk headband; whereas, women under the age of 40 leave their hair uncovered. In addition, the music in Albania has an EDM beat with hints of English phrases in the chorus. Traditionally, Albanian music has more vocals, instruments, and no English lyrics. In addition, when going to coffee shops and concerts its common to here many American singers playing on the speakers: Drake, Dua Lipa, Maroon 5, etc.

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      • July 9, 2018 at 6:09 pm
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        Thanks! It’s so interesting to hear about the generational differences within Albania culture. 🙂

        Reply

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