There are currently more students studying Albanian at Mercy College than at any other college in New York State, according to Alan Hartman, D.M.L., director of Mercy College’s Modern Foreign Languages Program (MFLP). Mercy is also the only college in New York that allows students to complete their general education language requirements in Albanian. The MFLP recently added two Albanian courses to the curriculum: ALBA 115 “Albanian for Communication” and ALBA 116 “Communicating in Albanian.”
Some of the students who enrolled in at least one of the two Albanian courses that Mercy College’s MFLP launched in fall of 2021 include Arnisa Bufaj ’24, who grew up speaking what she calls “slang Albanian.” She spoke the language with her family but did not know proper grammar or spelling, often having to mix in English words to get her message across. Arti Balija ’25, who did not grow up speaking Albanian at home, now wants to be able to communicate with his relatives in Albania. Other students who are enrolled in the program and who did not have any Albanian heritage simply wanted to learn something new.
“Albanian is an important language in our immediate community and an important language in the Balkans,” Hartman said. Dobbs Ferry is in the heart of the largest Albanian diaspora in the Americas with an estimated 100,000 Albanian-Americans living in Westchester and the Bronx.
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