Education has profoundly changed who I am. Throughout my life, I have had diverse educational experiences, here in Macedonia and abroad, which have shaped my perspective towards work, academia, relationships, education and life in general, showing me a wide range of people, opinions, experiences and realities.
As a little girl, I spent 2 years living in Misrata, Libya, where my parents worked in the construction industry. I spent much of my time in a school with children from various nationalities. I vividly remember my experience there and reflect on it with pleasure. I recall that a morning routine was to have all children sit in a circle where we would all sing songs in Arabic, Serbo-Croatian and French. The teachers reinforced concepts of love, respect, tolerance by celebrating Christmas and Ramadan with equal importance, learning about Santa Clause, God, Mohamed. The time spent in Libya was by all accounts a happy time in my childhood, which I believe fostered my sense of cosmopolitanism.
I also lived in the USA for a one-year student exchange program in Port Orchard, Washington, during my senior year in high school. This experience changed my life in many ways. Despite the number of years that have passed, I continue to keep in contact with my host parents and many of the friends I made 25 years ago. Meeting brilliant students and inspiring teachers have shaped my professional life immensely. This program also helped me appreciate the cultures of not only the American people, but of people worldwide. The classes I attended and the memories I acquired at South Kitsap High School will remain with me for life. I consider these two educational experiences as formative. They have shaped me into the person I am today- a strong advocate for equality and access to education for all children. They were also the determining factor in my decision to pursue a career in education.
In 2013, I spent one semester at Iowa State University, as part of the Junior Faculty Development Program. This experience has profoundly enriched my professional, academic and personal life. Working side by side with renown faculty and researchers and have experienced a personal transformation which has immensely improved my life since.
Fifteen years ago, I made a life-altering decision: I resigned from my secure job as a teacher of English in a prestigious language school in order to work in a newly-established private institution for higher education, the first one in the country. Why did I decide to disrupt a prospering career and a financially secure position for the opportunity to embark on a risky venture? It comes down to whether I want to be the person reading about difference makers or making a difference.
As an educator, I find my job uniquely befitting- my role is not only to impart knowledge but also to empower and enlighten young people. In the fifteen years as a lecturer at FON University, I have been fortunate to have a front row seat to history- helping develop the first private university in Macedonia. This unique experience has helped me realize that I want to remain in a position to exert influence in education rather than to be a neutral observer. This is what drives me in life- opportunities to do something unique, powerful and rewarding.
I welcome the opportunity to work with young women and help them attain their goals.