Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 10, 2017

Fotini by Mam Samba

Sophomore Fotini Kristuli is involved in many activities on campus. She was born in Greece, spent her childhood in Albania and now attends school in the US.

Photo by Mam Samba

Albania Native Experiences United States

Evan Harris

Moving from Greece to Albania to America, sophomore Fotini Kristuli is a world traveler—and student.

She was born in Thessaloniki, a city in northeastern Greece, but spent a majority of her childhood and teenage years in neighboring Albania.“Albania is beautiful,” she said with a proud smile. “Everyone there is so friendly. Life there is very different than life in America. In Albania, we are all close to one another, whether you want to be or not. In America, I think people are more private and not as close to each other.”

Kristuli had trepidations upon arriving at MU. “On the way to campus, I was honestly scared—there were so many cornfields,” she said while laughing. “There were cornfields in Albania, but never this many. When I arrived on campus, I thought to myself, ‘It is so beautiful,’ and there was so much greenery.”

Kristuli plays a few roles on campus as well. “I am the treasurer for the Black Student Union,” she said. “I am also the multicultural affairs programmer, and my job is to provide diversity-related programs to make other international students feel comfortable away from home. Plus, I also find opportunities to volunteer in any way I can.”

Outside of her busy Monday-through-Friday routine of assignments, note-taking and exams, Kristuli participates in extracurricular activities. “Of course, I love spending time with my friends,” she said. “We usually make dinner on Sundays together. We also watch lots of movies and we love to explore the different towns nearby. I also try to get a nap in, since I don’t have much time during the week.”

As January Session and the spring semester briskly approach, Kristuli has her hopes up, head in the books and goals in mind. “I am also excited for the warm weather to return in the spring, because I hate snow,” she said with a laugh. “I definitely want to study more and get an even higher GPA, but I want to continue spending time with my friends, too.”