Kosovo students reach Brazil: Naim Korqa works for renown architect Gustavo Penna’s studio

By: Liza Gashi    December 2, 2012

Kosovo youth are seeking opportunities for education across the continents. Naim Korqa is studying architecture in Brazil. He left Kosovo in 2008 with only a basic understanding of Portuguese and went through a long process of securing a Brazilian visa. Naim says that his determination to become an architect gave him motivation to excel…He mentions Brazilian curiosity towards Kosovo and its culture as a factor that eased the transition… only a few people know about the war of 1999, and nothing else about Kosovo. He gives his own efforts as an example of action young people can take – he has made various presentations and introduces Brazilians to the culture of Kosovo and its beauty.

Naim Korqa is a 23-year old student from Gjilan, Kosovo. For the past four years, he has been enrolled at the Methodist University Izabela Hendrix in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He has just defended his graduation thesis in architecture and urban studies. Being a part of an institution that is distinguished by excellence in teaching gave him many opportunities to complete his objective of becoming an architect today.

While in Brazil, Naim used his spare time to get involved with community activities and perfect his skills in architecture. He worked with the local office of AIESEC, which is a global youth organization that develops leadership capabilities through internal leadership programs. In addition, he worked in four different architecture studios, learning from and cooperating with multiple Brazilian architects. He is currently working in the studio of one of the best Brazilian architects, Gustavo Penna. This has, without a doubt, been an invaluable learning experience as it gave him a chance to partake in multiple projects that the architects focused on.

However, his journey was not easy. He left Kosovo in 2008 with only a basic understanding of Portuguese and went through a long process of securing a Brazilian visa. Naim says that his determination to become an architect gave him motivation to excel. He adds that the beginning was very challenging,  but that he got used to Brazil with time and even started considering it home. He mentions Brazilian curiosity towards Kosovo and its culture as a factor that eased the transition. However, even though the people were very welcoming, living in a completely different culture, not knowing the language, and having to adapt to Portuguese cuisine made adjusting very challenging. We asked if his Brazilian friends knew about Kosovo and what can young people do to improve the image of Kosovo in the region of Latin America. To this, Naim answers that only a few people know about the war of 1999, and nothing else about Kosovo. He gives his own efforts as an example of action young people can take – he has made various presentations and introduces Brazilians to the culture of Kosovo and its beauty.

As for future plans, Naim plans to pursue a masters degree in architecture and urban studies. He is not yet sure if he wants to stay in Brazil or study  elsewhere. His long-term plan is to return home and help with the development of architecture in Kosovo. He intends to open a studio in Prishtina and continue the partnership with the architects he has worked with.

Liza Gashi

Liza is a public policy professional with experience in project and campaign management, qualitative analysis and big data, and multi-stakeholder engagement in Kosovo, the United States, Costa Rica and Argentina. Liza has founded and managed Germin and the www.kosovodiaspora.org portal. She has been a Commitment-Maker of the Clinton Global Initiative. Liza has also founded and currently leads the United World Colleges Committee in Kosovo, which has administered scholarships for Kosovo high school students to attend UWC colleges in 15 different countries. Liza is pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Arizona State University, and holds a bachelor degree from Wartbrug College (IA) in International Relations, Political Science and Spanish. She is a graduate of United World College in Costa Rica, and studied for a semester at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina.

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