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Kosovars Spend a Jayhawk Semester at KU

Woman, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) are not taught in Kosovo, so Aulone Kadriu and Shqiproje Shala soaked up all that they could during their semester at KU.

The graduate students from Kosovo participated in the Jayhawk Semester program through scholarships from World Learning Transformational Learning Program.  A total of 12 students from China, Kosovo, Pakistan and Japan completed the Jayhawk Semester program this semester.

WGSS was a new area for Shala, so “lots of reading” took much of her time.

“I kept saying ‘wow’,” she said as her immersion in WGSS led to exciting ideas and theories.

When asked to reflect on the semester, they pointed to Feminist Theory and History of Women and Gender Studies as classes that shaped their thinking. They both appreciated being able to express their opinions in the class discussions, as that wasn’t something Kosovar students experience. Their perspective as international students added value to their classes, and their classmates appreciated new information to enhance their viewpoints.

All international students adjust to a different system of expectations when they come to KU. Being able to talk with a professor during office hours and ask for support was a highlight of the Kosovars’ time at KU. Knowing from the first day of class the professor’s expectations and grading system and having a syllabus to follow was another plus.

To share what they have learned with other international students, Shala and Kadriu offered this advice. Walk around campus, don’t take the bus, in order to learn the layout. Use the services offered at the Ambler Recreational Center and Robinson Gym. Go to the fifth floor of Watson Library for a quiet, comfortable, and scenic place to study.

When they were not studying, they found time to visit Chicago and go to the Kansas State Fair. They found hangout spots in Lawrence at Jefferson’s and Panera Bread. Shala and Kadriu knew they had become independent when they found their way to Walmart on their own.

Kadriu summed up her time at KU with this: “I challenged myself in a new environment and it helped me grow.”

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