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Fulbright student's Katrina story

Rudina Jasini, a Fulbrighter from Albania, studied at the Tulane Law School in New Orleans. Then came Katrina. She lost everything in a her apartment, found herself homeless overnight, but she received shelter and hospitality and is now at Georgetown University.
She wrote the following email to the Fulbright list. The Washington Post
wrote about her and five other students from five different countries, uprooted by Katrina and relocated to Washington DC and supported by Georgetown University and the congregaton of the St. Luke Lutheran Church.
Hi everybody,

My name is Rudina Jasini. I am a Fulbright Student from Albania. I arrived to the US on July 26, to enroll in Tulane Law School, International Law Program in New Orleans.

I would say that life is really an adventure. One month and a half ago I found myself in New Orleans, struggling to adjust myself into the new system. I found a house, furnished it, dealt with tax office, social security office, getting myself around. Things that you guys are already familiar with. I took my first exam. In other words, a new world was opened to me. Everything sounded great at that time, but, who knew, what life had saved for us.

The hurricane came along and I found myself lost, something that barely happens once in somebody's life. I spent my first four days after the hurricane hosted by a very nice American family, in Alexandria, Louisiana. After that my boyfriend flew from New York and picked me up and we just hit the road, without having any idea where we were going. Finally we ended up in Austin, Texas. Then, there I realized that things were getting worse. I left behind everything I owned, in my apartment in New Orleans, things that had not only material value, but more than that absolutely. It is hard and unimaginable to find yourself homeless overnight. There are so many things I can tell you about this experience. I was admitted to six great law schools, after staying without sleeping for three days and three nights applying to different law schools. US Universities and Law Schools opened the doors to the students from Tulane. I left Austin, the next day I learnt that I was admitted to Georgetown Law School. I had nothing with me, except my passport, my laptop, some books and clothes for three days.

It is interesting to know that when you are put in front a difficulty, your brains start working with the maximum efficiency, and you just had to deal with the situation. Today, I am pleased to let you know that my story is published in Washington Post, under the title "Classmates Land at GU as an International Family".

I am happy I made it live and safe after the hurricane and I might say that I see the sun shining again and a light at the end of a tunnel. Life is beautiful, even though often it faces you with challenges.

All the best,
Quote from the Washington Post article:
Jasini had just begun to get over the aggravations of an unfamiliar place and to embrace New Orleans.

She loved the city's architecture and its etouffee, its seamy edges and its history. She loved the way strangers smiled and called her honey, sweetie, baby. Some nights, her classmates said, a band would start playing and people would dance in the streets, and drivers would find another way home.

There were more than 50 foreign students in the master of law program at Tulane. They were just becoming friends when they heard the hurricane warnings. While many U.S. students fled to their parents' homes, those from abroad weren't sure what to do...

German universities offer ten additional scholarships and institutional funding for partner universities in the affected area, according to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). (Found via TransatlanTicker)


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Carsten Boesel on :

Thanks for sharing this moving story! Rudina Jasini is actually one of roughly 3,000 to 4,600 international students in the U.S. who were forced to flee from their hurricane-ravaged insitutions on the Gulf Coast. These students face an even more difficult situation than their American classmates because of cumbersome visa regulations. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports in its current edition, the students must enroll at another college within 30 days of the originally scheduled start of their classes, or else leave the country! To stay in compliance with federal regulations, they must also carry a full course load. Some students will probably have difficulties in finding a full schedule of classes relevant to their degree. Advisers of foreign students and NAFSA: Association of International Educators have been seeking a clear policy from federal authorities, but have not received any responses from the Department of Homeland Security so far. Let's hope for a quick and flexible policy so that all students who weren't as lucky as Rudina will get a chance to stay in the U.S. as well.

andi on :

paske ecur shume

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