January 19, 2024 | Friday

Kosovo’s Students Embrace New Horizons with Visa Liberalisation

Highlights from Visa Liberalisation: Exploring Opportunities for Students Event

“The most valuable lesson from the discussion was about the opportunities for studying abroad, connecting diverse perspectives, and enriching knowledge. I will utilise this knowledge to enhance my understanding of global challenges and prepare myself for an international career,” says Vesa Shatri, a Security Studies student at the University of Business and Technology in Kosovo. Recently, in an event celebrating the visa liberalisation for Kosovo, with a focus on opportunities presented for students, Vesa shared similar sentiments among many of her peers coming from public and private universities in Kosovo. The visa exemption that entered into force in January 2024 presents a significant milestone for the Kosovo students’ academic and cultural horizons.

Visa Liberalisation: Exploring opportunities for students was a part of a bigger campaign that the European Union Office in Kosovo carried out in light of the visa liberalisation for Kosovo. Under the slogan ExploreEurope, the campaign, joining the Kosovo Government’s PaViza (Without visas) campaign, aims to inform people in Kosovo about top EU touristic destinations as well as highlight the rules and regulations of visa-free travelling in the member states for short-stay visits. 

On December 14 2023, European Union Office in Kosovo organized a celebratory discussion with students from different public and private universities in Kosovo at the Modelarium of the Faculty of Architecture. With a mixed panel of students and EU and Kosovo government officials, the students explored the opportunities presented to them with the decision on visa liberalisation.

The Deputy Head of the European Union in Kosovo, Ms. Eva Palatova, who delivered welcoming remarks, underlined the broader implications of the visa liberalisation for Kosovo people, accentuating the significance of being physically able to experience different cultures and the impact that this has in helping people learn about various countries’ histories firsthand. 

Ms. AnnaCarin Platon, Head of the Political, Economic and European Integration, and Press and Information Section at the EU Office in Kosovo, shed light on the multifaceted benefits of volunteering. She shared her inspiring journey, illustrating how volunteering in different countries significantly shaped her personally and professionally, “Volunteering is a huge opportunity to give something meaningful,” she said. 

Fatmir Curri, External Advisor on European Integration to the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, juxtaposed the past constraints due to complicated visa procedures with the new momentum presented for Kosovo students with visa liberalisation. He spoke about the direct benefits for students, such as visiting universities before commencing studies and the opportunities to participate in various conferences, summer schools and other educational programs. 

Aida Fejzullahu, a Young European Ambassador and an Economics and Health Policies graduate who attended the discussion is keen to use this chance to explore the opportunities presented to students and young professionals: “I am absolutely enthusiastic about exploring study abroad opportunities. Visa liberalisation has opened many doors for Kosovan students like myself, easing the process of accessing international education. This initiative has removed previous barriers, offering greater accessibility and the chance to engage with global academic communities, fostering mutual understanding and collaboration”. Fejzullahu emphasised the importance of learning about diverse educational programs, cultural experiences and different approaches to learning, all of which have enriched her understanding of global opportunities for personal and academic growth. Similarly, Djellza Ibrahimi, another Young European Ambassador, highlighted the importance of attending diverse educational programs, a sentiment shared widely among the youth, “Having the option to attend different conferences, workshops and trainings is a phenomenal opportunity for all young people in Kosovo”. 

For Christian Böttcher – Chief of Culture, Media and Communications at the German Embassy in Kosovo, this is the end of an era. Visa liberalisation is a great opportunity for the people of Kosovo to connect with Kosovo’s biggest diaspora in Germany. “Visa liberalsation” he says, “for us implies a chance of our people getting closer with their homeland.”  Amina Kaja, a Young European Ambassador and Elton Bajramaj, a student of Architecture and winner of the global prize Inspireli were also part of the panel discussion. Naile Dema Selmani, who moderated the panel, underscored the critical role of this milestone in Kosovo’s journey towards European integration.

In addition to getting to learn more about opportunities for students, the attendees of the event took part in a prize-winning game to win two return tickets to Milan, symbolising the new momentum allowing Kosovo people to travel to Europe visa-free for short stays. Upon entrance, the attendees were invited to write down their names in postcards produced earlier in 2023 within the Explore Europe campaign. Elton Behramaj was the lucky one to win the award.

As Kosovo’s students embark on this new chapter, the opportunities for personal, academic, and professional growth are limitless. Visa liberalisation is not just a policy shift, it’s a bridge connecting Kosovo’s youth to new worlds of possibilities, fostering a deeper and more inclusive understanding of different European cultures and societies.