International student encourages celebration of culture and diversity on two continents

Esma Fera ’24 recently represented her home country of Kosovo at a college-wide event, sharing her culture with the Charger community. A public broadcaster in the Balkan country picked up the story, sharing Fera’s experience at University with her audience in Kosovo.

June 6, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Esma Fera ’24 (second from right) at the International University Festival.

Esma Fera ’24, an international student from Kosovo, is passionate about sharing her culture with the university community. She represented her home country at a University-wide event for the past semester, catching the attention of a Kosovar broadcaster and making news in her home country.

Esma Will Do 24 at I-Fest.
Esma Will Do 24 at I-Fest.

Fera was among the participants who shared their culture as part of the University’s annual International Festival (I-Fest). As part of the event, members of the university community create tabletop presentations with information, interactive presentations and activities from their home countries. While discussing their country and culture, they serve food and answer visitors’ questions.

After several of her family and friends shared a social media post that she would represent Kosovo, a small country in southeastern Europe with a population of just under two million, at I-Fest, a journalist from Radio Television Kosovo, the public service broadcaster in the country, contacted Fera. When asked to share her experience at I-Fest with the people of Kosovo, Fera was happy to help. Kosovo Radio Television shared the story on its Facebook page.

“All the people of Kosovo were extremely happy to see my presentation, including traditional clothes, food and handmade table decorations, taking place for the first time in an American university,” said Fera, a student. in biology. “I was constantly getting great messages and feedback from everyone, which made me grateful to have something special to share about the culture.”

“We belong to all cultures”
An I-Fest “passport” stamped at the Kosovo/Albania table.

At I-Fest, Fera was at a table representing Albania and Kosovo because, she says, they share a language and ethnicity. She and her fellow presenters presented unique handmade decorations that reflected the values ​​of their culture and included specific and meaningful symbols and colors. They served dishes prepared by a local Albanian restaurant, and Fera says the byrek – a filled pastry – was very popular with attendees.

Fera presented information about his culture to the participants, discussing the geography, language, traditions, diversity and history of Kosovo. As part of the I-Fest, the students also shared their cultures through musical and dance performances.

“I had a great experience sharing my program proposal at I-Fest and representing the University of New Haven to my community in Kosovo,” she said. “It was great to see everyone trying to bring the best to the audience. The food and the diverse environment, surrounded by the music at I-Fest, made us feel like we’re all the same and belong. to all cultures.

“The richness of our shipper community”
Esma Fera '24 shared Kosovar traditions and culture at I-Fest.
Esma Fera ’24 shared Kosovar traditions and culture at I-Fest.

Hailing from a small town called Kamenica/Dardana, Fera says it is known to be “one of the most ecologically stable municipalities” in the country. She says hospitality is very important in Kosovo, as serving traditional dishes to guests is “always a must”. She’s grateful to have the opportunity to share the kitchen — and more — as part of I-Fest.

“What I’ve enjoyed most about being part of I-Fest is seeing how our Charger community grows every day in terms of diversity and inclusion,” she said. declared. “All of the countries that were represented by many other international students reflected their desire to make everyone feel included and unique.”