Kailey Rocker, a junior anthropology major, is leaving on Monday, February 21 to begin her semester study at University of Tirana in Albania. Kailey's course load will be about split between language and archaeology, and she plans to do an independent study with Lorenc Beiko in Tirana, the capital of Albania. This study abroad experience will also serve as the basis for Kailey's Honor's Project, which will be about a Cultural Heritage Project headed by the Albanian government.
The government is interested in promoting tourism in the area and hopes to turn the town surrounding Drisht Castle, near Shkrodra, into a cultural heritage site. Kailey will be researching people's feelings about the project and their willingness to participate in the program. She will also be exploring the differences in local versus global ideas of cultural heritage and whether or not the government should take the people's opinions on the project into account before proceeding with the project.
Kailey is the first student to participate in the exchange program between Millsaps and the University of Tirana, and Millsaps hopes initiating this exchange will encourage students from Tirana to study here in the near future. As this is a direct exchange, Kailey will be paying her tuition to Millsaps and technically be a Millsaps student studying at the University of Tirana.
Kailey became interested in the semester program in Albania through her studies there in the summer of 2010. Kailey was Dr. Galaty's KECK Fellow last summer and worked with him on the PASH project and was able to tour the university. "Being in Albania sealed the deal. A lot of people I met there encouraged me, and it's a beautiful place," she said when asked about why she decided to partake in this semester study abroad program.
After her semester at the U of Tirana, which goes from March until June, she will be continuing work on the PASH project with Dr. Galaty, where they will do an intensive pedestrian survey of Northern Albania. This will allow them to archaeologically map the northern part of the country and will eventually lead to excavation. The PASH project is also designed to build even stronger communication and cooperation between Millsaps and the University of Tirana.
After her studies and work in Albania, Kailey plans to travel around Greece. "Millsaps gave me the first study abroad opportunity that opened the door and gave me a passion for travel and study abroad."