The following interview was conducted by Scott Xoxa, a Grade 11 FHCI English student.
“I had a good life in Albania. I was a professor at the University of Tirana, the best university in the country at that time, for structural engineering. I had my own structural design company. As a result, I was relatively rich in Albania. So you might ask, why would you leave? My wife and I left for the sole reason that Albania was a corrupt country with little principles when it comes to things such as business, government, education, et cetera. Taxes are non-existent, and the system is run on bribery. For example, if you get caught for speeding, the police officers expect you to pay them. If you want to pay fewer taxes, you’re offered a bribery deal from the tax minister. Also, your ability to find jobs depends to your family’s connections rather than merit. All these facets make Albania a bad place to raise kids. If it was for my sake, I would have stayed in Albania, but I left for the sake of my children, so that they could have a higher quality of life here in Canada. The biggest side effect of me immigrating was that besides the 50,000 dollars I brought with me, I lost everything I had built up in Albania. I lost my company and my license to be a structural engineer. As a result I was working alternate jobs for my first year in Canada, ranging from construction to working for a plastic making company. Although I have brought myself back up to working as a structural engineer and am a professor at Guelph Humber for Engineering after I got my Master’s Degree at UofT, I am still far away from being as successful as I was in Albania.”