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Student Reps interviews: POL

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

Find below the interview of the two Student representatives of the European Political and Governance Studies Department, Herda Xhaferaj and Espen Krogh!

Herda Xhaferaj

LVC: How was your life before College? Any fun fact about yourself?

Herda: I was born and raised in Albania but graduated high school in Bosnia Herzegovina and then I moved to US where I graduated College. I haven’t yet decided where I want to be long-term, but I am really excited to expand my knowledge on the EU and establish a European network while at CoE. As a fun fact, I can say that I can’t ride a bike (laughs). All my friends here find this very amusing and don’t miss a chance to make fun of me for it. However, by the end of the year, I plan to have learned!

LVC: Any secret passion you want to share with us?

Herda: Well, my secret but not too secret passion, is talking about Albania. I think I find a way of bringing Albania into most conversations that I have. Although I left the country at a young age, I feel very connected to it and shaped by it. I think my friends are a bit sick and tired of hearing about Albania but they’re all Albania experts by now! (laughs)

LVC: What's the most important fight for you this year?

Herda: I guess what I consider a big achievement would be the formalisation of the role of a Student Rep, for instance making the process much more democratic and increasing student participation in decision-making. That’s why we decided, for the first time, to run Student life assemblies. Student life assemblies make sure that we are aware of the issues affecting most of us and they’re simultaneously a platform for creative solutions to these very issues! The second part of course is to try to address these issues and so far we’ve been on a positive path!

LVC: What is, in your opinion, a good Student Rep?

Herda: It’s someone who first of all, is very approchable. As a Student Rep you have to be able to be a confidante for everyone, but at the same time, it needs to be someone that’s proactive because you need to constantly try to address concerns in a feasible way.

Espen Krogh

LVC: How was your life before College?

Espen: Before the College, I completed a Blue Book   traineeship at the European Commission. I earned degrees from Aarhus University and King’s College London. I’ve also been engaged with Danish and Nordic politics, dealing with all sorts of EU questions.

LVC: Fun fact about yourself? Espen: It’s about choosing between them (Laughs). I’m a very fragile person. I recently dislocated my knee cap while getting dressed at home. Feels like I can’t get dressed without getting hurt. Lastly, I have a tendency to stumble into important people everywhere. I quite randomly met Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the Danish Parliament’s bathrooms and met Mitt Romney being touristy in Copenhagen.

LVC: Any secret passion you want to share?

Espen: Music. I use it to isolate myself from other people, to sort of find time for myself. I’ve been listening to a playlist full of melancholic songs by, for instance, Leonard Cohen and Sufjan Stevens. I guess it’s probably reflective of the mood I’m generally in. Don’t actually try to listen to Stevens’ lyrics, it hurts inside!

LVC: What is the most important fight for you this year? Espen: Oh that’s a serious question! (laughs). I think it’s important to foster interaction between the students and professors, to try and raise the academic level of the courses. We've also worked to formalise the Student Representatives scheme, to work in a more professional way and to ensure past and future students are heard and included in the process.

LVC: What is, in your opinion, a good Student Rep?

Espen: It’s always something you can strive to be, but I suppose no-one will ever be perfect. A good Student Rep will actually represent the students, build trust with them, be accessible and listen to them to take on complaints and receive feedback. It’s also important to be critical, to be capable of identifying and addressing problems.


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