Flamur Ballazhi is a political science major with emphasis in international politics from Lake in the Hills, IL
Hometown: Lake in the Hills, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2021
Minor: Global studies in politics
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
I always wanted to work in government for the United States Foreign Service. I emigrated from North Macedonia, Ilirida, to the U.S. I am proud to be in the most powerful nation on earth, the land of freedom and opportunity, where you can have a dream and pursue that dream through your goals.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
My experience at NIU has been phenomenal. The staff and political science professors encouraged me to succeed and take advantage of all the scholarships and clubs NIU has to offer. I was part of the Model United Nations club, which I really enjoyed. The culture at NIU has been very friendly, and I felt I was part of a very diverse culture. One thing I found surprising at NIU was the fact that you can pursue a dream here and become very successful on your path. The experience and seminar in Washington, D.C., helped me pursue my dream of getting practical experience in the political world.
How have you connected with other students virtually to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I have connected with students and professors from the political science department virtually and through email, and I have established some networking with new friendships.
Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
I am involved in the Model of United Nations student organization. It has helped me establish new networks by meeting different students. It also helped me learn about different countries and the way those countries function and shape politics in the international arena, United Nations, international security and NATO.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
All of the professors in the political science department have been extraordinary. My favorite instructors are:
- Professor Scot Schraufnagel. I had the opportunity to take a credit course in the Washington, D.C., experience, and he always encouraged me to do well and take advantage of everything NIU has to offer.
- Professor Kheang Un. A very knowledgeable scholar, Professor Un taught a course called Politics of Developing Areas and Politics of Africa.
- Professor Ches Thurber. I took international security and international law courses in which Professor Thurber was knowledgeable, precise and always looking for us to succeed.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
DuSable Hall, where I spent a lot of time meeting new people and preparing for my classes on my laptop. The library was another spot where I spent a lot of time reading books and researching.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
I would tell students that applying to college is a great investment in their future. I would strongly encourage them to advance their goals and dreams through college and to be proud of who they are once they achieve their goals.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Coming to college was a lot of responsibility, and one thing I learned to do differently was to focus more on studying so I can pursue my dreams.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax, I spend time exercising, swimming, playing soccer and relaxing at the beach.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
Attending Northern Illinois University is something I am proud of; it's an investment in my future. Go Huskies!