Alumni Spotlight: Besa Sadiku
Besa Sadiku Follows Her Dreams to the “City of Hope”
Besa Sadiku , Alumnus
“I was born and raised in Kosovo where life was very hard and opportunities were non-existent,” says Besa Sadiku, UMUC Europe Field Representative and student. “Education was only a dream for me, a dream that seemed impossible to make a reality.”
Although her dreams of an education seemed unreachable, Besa eventually found hope at the U.S. Army’s Camp Bondsteel or the “City of Hope,” as she calls it. But the journey there wasn’t an easy one. In 1999, Besa and 800,000 others were forced to leave their homes by Serbian militants conducting genocide on the Kosovar Albanians.
Displaced to a refugee camp, she made the best of her situation, working in the camp’s Mother and Child Care Center helping the needy. After several months, with the help of NATO forces, Besa was finally able to return home safely to Kosovo. She was lucky enough to find a job as an administrative assistant to the Area Support Group Commander at the U.S. Army’s Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.
Then fate intervened. One day, she crossed paths with a UMUC Education Service Officer. He was so impressed with Besa’s friendliness and energy that he “stole her away” to work for UMUC.
“Among many thousands of local citizens that found a job and new prosperity in the camp, I consider myself one of the luckiest,” says Besa. “I had the greatest honor and privilege to academically support and serve our troops through UMUC Europe and at the same time realize my dream of becoming a student.”
“My first day working for UMUC was November 15, 2002,” Besa recalls fondly. Looking back, she remembers not even knowing how to pronounce the word “Colonel.” Despite the language barrier and the many other life obstacles that Besa has faced, she has managed to be successful in her career and education.
Today, Besa is living out her dreams of an education in every sense of the word. As the office manager for UMUC’s Downrange Education Office in Heidelberg, Germany, she is able to help our troops reach their academic goals. And as a UMUC graduate and lifelong learner, she is finally fulfilling her own dreams.
During the more than sixyears Besa has been with UMUC Europe, she has earned her Associate of Arts degree in Business Management, a certificate in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is also set to earn her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree this May.
Besa, who is now a U.S. citizen, says that being a student herself has made her “better equipped to assist and support” UMUC students. “We all want to do good things and contribute somehow for our soldiers, who sacrifice a lot for our country," she says. “Being a UMUC representative and a student was the perfect opportunity to give something back.”