Preparation: A visit to “little Albania” in the Bronx

Our first assignment was to compose a contextual analysis based off of a trip to Lydig Ave in the Bronx where there is a significant Albanian presence. The point was to try to make assumptions about Albanian culture from the things we saw and experienced. It wasn’t extremely productive because everywhere in NYC is pretty diverse and while there were slightly more European grocery stores, and many signs were written in Albanian in addition to the standard English, Spanish, & Chinese, it wasn’t overwhelmingly apparent that this particular area had a high Albanian population. I went with a friend and we stopped at Dukagjini Burek (758 lydig ave), an Albanian restuarant in the neighborhood. It’s a really small place that literally only sells bureks, which are fried pastry-type things – similar to a spanakopita. I got a spinach and feta one; it was delicious.

758 Lydig Ave.

While we were here we ended up chatting with two guys at the next table who were from Kosovo. We exchanged contact information and will hopefully get a chance to meet up once I get over there. They even gave me a cd out of their car outside when I asked about music in Kosovo. My only assumption from this trip was that Kosovar Albanians are really friendly when, as a foreigner, you express an interest in their country.

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Introduction

For those that haven’t heard, I have been accepted into the International Field Program (IFP) through the New School University Graduate Program for International Affairs, and will be traveling to Kosova this summer for two months to intern for the Kosova Women’s Network (KWN) in Prishtina.

They are a women’s rights non-profit NGO, that advocates on behalf of Kosovar women, and a leading overseer of the implementation of the United Nations Security Counsel Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace & Security.

I’ve decided to create a blog to record and share my experiences throughout this amazing opportunity. In preparation for the summer, this semester I will be taking courses on humanitarian intervention, research methods, Albanian language, and participating in a bi-weekly skill-building seminar.

This semester is going to be a lot of work, but I’m really excited to be a part of this!

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