Kela Hyseni, emigrated to Canada in 2001, interrupting her studies started in Albania at the Faculty of Foreign Languages at the University of Vlora. This left him worried because he was not given the opportunity to graduate, diverting this field to Canada, where he chose something else for faster and more efficient adaptation. She studied Cosmetology at Conestoga College (2003-2004) in Kitchener, Ontario. She started as a teacher in the Albanian School in 2017, a job that she continues with passion and pleasure, feeling happy and proud that she is teaching the Albanian language to Albanian children, most of whom were born and raised in Canada. “Always cultivating the desire to be as close as possible to my country, and my children to continue the Albanian school, I took this responsibility as a teacher” says Kela Hyseni among others in the interview given to “Albanian Diaspora”.
Can you tell us how difficult the path of your professional integration has been?
The road to integration was difficult, perhaps we encountered not only professional difficulties but also family ones. The first year we came here our son came to life to us, and being a new mother balancing the two fields was difficult at first. However, we achieved integration after a few years here.
You started studying foreign languages in Vlora, but when you came to Canada you changed direction…
To enable quick adaptation to a new country, I decided to get my cosmetology license and found myself in this field being employed as a business manager for about 12 years. Later my husband and I decided to open our own restaurant, which we are currently running, relatively successfully. Anyway success for me is not achieved yet, as personal achievements always push me to move on. While I am currently attending the Ontario Training Academy for styling instructor at the University of London.
You are an Albanian language teacher at the Albanian School for Kitchener and Waterloo called “Our Eagles”. How interested do you think Albanian parents are in teaching their children Albanian?
Always cultivating the desire to be as close as possible to my country, and my children to continue the Albanian school, I took this responsibility as a teacher. It is truly a privilege and pleasure for me to work with wonderful Albanian children, most of whom were born here in Canada. Parents’ interest exists, but being a community with a significant number of compatriots we have the opportunity to engage even more parents to make the success of the school unwavering.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic find the Albanian School?
The pandemic made the opportunity difficult for children and parents, because the Albanian School is guided by the School Board of the Waterloo region. Although most such schools in Canada continue to teach online, we received instruction to temporarily cancel our work. From April last year we only continue to present ourselves with some voluntary online activities. We hope to return to normalcy from September this year, at least with physical presence in the classroom.
Post regularly activities of Albanian students in the group “Our Eagles” on Facebook. How much has this affected the community awareness to send children to school?
I think it has a positive impact, maybe social media is present in our lives. From time to time we post recitations of students we have made about the pandemic, but also who send us today from their homes where they attend online classes. We can say that social media helps a lot in our communication not only with students, but also with parents such as excursion planning or similar events.
From your experience with them, how much do you think the children of our community in Canada know the Albanian language?
I think each of us knows this answer, and of course every parent should always work with children, especially children born here. But having this lifestyle that we do in Canada is not easy and requires a special dedication and work with children. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents who strive to preserve the language, but especially those who take their children to school, because it not only helps with the language but also contributes irreplaceable values to the children.
We met in the activities of the Albanian community where you gave your contribution to the Albanian-Canadian Association “National Union” in Kitchener and Waterloo. Can you share your contribution with us there?
My focus is of course on Shkolla Shqipe, but at the same time I try to be active with the expansion of the network, for a stronger community. I have tried to engage our students in the community, and I believe that in the future the presence of children in the activities of the association will be enhanced.
There is always criticism that Albanian parents are speaking English or French with their children instead of speaking Albanian. How critical are you in this context?
In my opinion when this is the parent’s preference for not giving the child knowledge of their own language, it is really a disaster. I do not understand how you can deny your language, this beautiful language ?!
How much do you miss Albania?
I miss him immensely. The first is a very beautiful place, with a climate that does not compare to the climate here, the second is that I feel very good when I am there, and the third, the food that for me is very tasty.