1. In which year did you emigrate?
Since 1992, together with our family, we dreamed of a better future, like all Albanians in those years.
2. What do you remember most about your early life in the Western world?
The beginning was more difficult for our parents I would say than for us, we were still children and we didn't understand many things, I remember that everything we saw or bought made us immensely happy because they were new things that we had never seen previously in Albania.
3. How did your integration go and what difficulties did you encounter?
It has not been an easy journey. Starting with coming to Greece for the first time, the language and the people were among the first difficulties. I felt like I wouldn't have friends because people looked at us differently, but with the passage of time and learning the language I managed to make my first friendships and started to fit in. Over the years, the challenges became even greater, but I have always been accompanied by self-confidence, thinking that one day I will succeed. Without a doubt, family has played a very important and supportive role in my decisions.
4. What ties do you have with your homeland and what importance does it have in your life?
Definitely a very special role. The place where I come from and spent part of my childhood affects my existence immeasurably and reminds me at every moment of who I am and is absolutely part of my identity.
5. How many times a year do you visit Albania on average?
Due to many commitments I am forced to visit it less than I would actually like to. I come at least every year during the holidays. It is essential, when we are far away, to return from time to time to the place of our childhood: to find within ourselves those original parts of ourselves that in the long journey of the world and life we have left aside and forgotten for a while: in short, to find ourselves .
6. How much has Albania changed according to your impression?
I think that there have been big changes in Albania during the last years, in all aspects, I see that the infrastructure is also changing. And importance is being given to different sectors of the economy. Undoubtedly, many structures still leave much to be desired, but let's be positive and hope for the best.
7. What do you miss the most from Albania in exile?
I miss the rest of the family, which is currently in Albania, the wonderful sea, the climate, the food, the language I hear Albanian spoken, it's quite a long list but I do my best to return as often as I can despite the commitments Many jobs do not allow me to do this.
8. Do you think of returning one day to live in Albania?
My life due to work commitments is divided between many countries at the same time and I am forced to travel and a cooperation with Albania is in my plans, it is my country and I would like to contribute to it. At the moment I am very busy in London due to my career and family and I have no plans to leave to live in Albania, but I would never say no to an opportunity to help my country.
9. Describe your professional commitment to us in more detail?
I am a cardiac surgeon and practice at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, where I deepened my knowledge as a cardiac surgeon in minimally invasive cardiac operations and also in pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery for children and adults. Royal Brompton is a center with a continuous development of technology and this has helped me a lot during my career in this hospital to give my best and have as many successful operations as possible.
10. In your opinion, what should Albanian institutions do for emigrants?
I think they should be given more priority both in terms of their training and also in the economic aspect. Many young Albanians do not return even after finishing their studies, as the opportunities offered to them in Albania leave much to be desired. I think that the Albanian institutions should be sensitized and help these young people by offering them conditions, opportunities for study and professional training and also in the economic aspect by offering employment opportunities.
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