Klaudja Koci, Albania: Transcultural European Outdoor Studies (TEOS)
With a diverse experience and profound knowledge of Outdoor education system, I was confident that introducing this system back in Albania will be quick and smooth.
Are you a teacher?’’ ‘’Oh, you are a biologist!’’ ‘’But what can you learn outdoors?’’ ‘’Learning and teaching children outside of the classroom is not possible in our region, Klaudja. We are not in England or Norway!’’ – These were just some of the typical phrases I heard throughout the past 5 years while working with schools in Albanian protected areas. Many have even tried to justify with logic, saying “this whole philosophy about connecting ourselves with nature sounds like going back to our roots, how can it be progressive in the era of technology and virtual world?”.
Erasmus Mundus, you have given me a whole new identity! - Klaudja Koci
But I knew what I knew and what travelling around Europe had taught me about “persistence”. I stood strong by my stance and the result was fruitful. Today, I work as the Coordinator of environmental education programs at Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), the oldest organization in our country. The organization was indeed the right place for me , provided me with an opportunity to prove my learning about outdoor education and the true impact that nature education programs of PPNEA can have in Albania. Now, more than 500 pupils know about the existence and importance of protecting our nature, lynxes, eagles, pelicans, vultures, forests, lakes and rivers, etc. It sounds like a dream but today the national and transboundary parks have become ‘’my office’’. It is easier for me now to advocate and lobby with authorities for changes in the school curriculum, because of what my experience has made me “A political scientist advocate for outdoor education”.
Erasmus Mundus, you have given me a whole new identity!