Adela Kadiasi had already completed one master’s degree program when her friends in Wisconsin told her she should take classes at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The 25-year-old Albania-native said she told her friends she’d look into it, never thinking she’d be able to meet the requirements. But, just a few months later, she was starting classes on the UW-Green Bay campus, studying for a Master of Science in Management degree.
Enduring the tug to visit home but unable to because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Kadiasi, instead made the most of her time in the States. She will graduate with about 500 bachelor’s and master’s candidates at UW-Green Bay Commencement ceremonies, December 18, 2021.
After graduating college in Albania, Kadiasi spent some time in Door County. She returned to Albania and earned a master’s degree in computer engineering from Epoka University in Tirana, Albania.
But friends in the U.S. kept telling her she could come back.
“One of my friends (here) went to UWGB and he’s like ‘well, if you want to come and study in America, you can always try UWGB,’” she said. “I was like, ‘yeah, why not?’… Once I read about the admissions and what was required to come, I realized I actually met all of the criteria. All I had to do was an exam that proved my English proficiency. So, I did that, and since I fit all of the criteria, I got a scholarship because of my GPA and I was like, ‘Why not? I’ll do it!”
Working with people in the office of International Students, she was able to get her application approved quickly and head back to America to enter the graduate program.
“Everything’s worked out perfectly in a very short amount of time,” she said. “In November, I had to do all the paperwork necessary and take the exams, and in the end of January, I came here… like, two weeks later, COVID happened and everything shut down. It was really hard.”
The shutdown meant her brother couldn’t come for a plan trip as an exchange student. And a trip she had planned to go home to see her family was also cancelled. The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic hit her hard, she said.
“It was hard being here without my family,” she said. “It was so hard to make friends. Everything went online and there was not an opportunity to make as many friends.”
Kadiasi’s internship is for accounting at Shipwrecked Brew Pub and Inn, a division of Conch Co., in Egg Harbor. There she manages the accounting for the famed brew pub. The job holds something new every day, Kadiasi said. Because of privacy, it wasn’t work she could do remotely. Instead, she was required to be at the brewery, and the complexities and responsibilities grew with the amount of time she was able to spend there.
“I had to start with very basic stuff,” she said. “Now I’m helping the team leader (my supervisor). I had to start from step one, where it was very easy. But in order to learn step 10, you have to know step one. That’s how I started. I thought it would not be as interesting in the beginning, but throughout the internships, I’ve learned all the steps and processes and it’s been very good. It’s quite the opposite of making coffee and stuff like that.”
“It’s in a field I’ve never worked in before,” she said. “Basically it’s the principles of accounting, a little bit of HR too, but it’s also like in the field of making alcohol, so it’s pretty interesting.”
While Kadiasi officially graduates on Dec. 18, restrictions brought on by the pandemic, and difficulties getting visas in her home country, prevent her family from joining her. They’ll be able to watch a streaming version online, she said, but it won’t be the same as having them here.
And that family connection leaves Kadiasi with a conundrum as she faces the prospect of finding a job after graduation—should she look for work here, or in her home country?
“If I do get a job offer here, I would like to continue and staying in the United States,” she said. “However, like I’m not solely decided on that yet. I do like I do like my country a lot and like being with my family so, I would like to to be there too… However, I am totally open to staying in the United States with the right job offer for sure. America is a great country.”
The world awaits.
By Liz Carey, freelance writer. Photos submitted.