My name is Uljana Sejko. I was born and raised in Albania and I moved to the United States with my family at the age of 15. I am in my third year at Loyola, studying Computer Science and Spanish and minoring in Arabic, Computer Forensics, and Psychology of Crime and Justice. When I started my college career, I knew I wanted to actively apply all my studies to serving others. Seeing what a crucial role language plays in one’s life, especially when it comes to immigration inspired me to study two new languages, aside from my very technical major.
Another way I am fulfilling my service goal is through my job at the Language Learning Resource Center. I like to call the LLRC one of the hidden gems of Loyola; the physical environment is welcoming, the views are spectacular, the resources are plentiful, and the people so talented. At the LLRC, our goal is to facilitate the learning and teaching of languages, literatures and cultures by students and faculty of the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures and the wider Loyola community. The Center provides multi-media materials and equipment, and software to enhance learning and teaching. Students can borrow DVDs for their cultural portfolios, read the latest “Al Jadid” issue, or meet up with the Arabic tutor to hone their Arabic skills.
For me, the LLRC is a place where service and the love for languages and technology come together. It brings people from different backgrounds together. Even when I am not in Arabic class, I am still practicing my Arabic at the LLRC, whether that is through helping classmates with Arabic homework, or daily greetings and conversations with my friend Ariane. Last week, I had the chance to observe a group of students from Arabic 104 as they were practicing their skit. I felt so proud that I could understand and provide my feedback.
I love seeing how Arabic has helped me get to know so many people, whether they are native speakers trying to improve their skills, or students with the same passion for foreign languages. My hope is that in the future I can use my language skills to mentor refugees and immigrants, specifically inspire and motivate young kids in their educational careers and STEM fields.