Alumni Spotlight: Besa Sadiku

Besa Sadiku Follows Her Dreams to the “City of Hope”


By Stacey Batchellor |   August 2010

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.”