Tirana, Albania Project Center (IQP)
Albania is located on the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe, across from Italy and north of Greece. It is a small mountainous country with both Mediterranean and Alpine climates. After centuries of foreign occupation followed by decades of oppressive communist rule, Albania is embracing democracy and capitalism. Although it is a poor, developing nation, today Albania has one of Europe’s fasting growing economies. Travel guide Frommer’s declared Albania to be the “Top Value Destination for 2012.” The following is from Lonely Planet, which ranked Albania as the Number One destination in the world in 2011: “Not just the preserve of the adventurous, Albania is a warm and sincerely hospitable country – with enough rough edges to keep it interesting.” Albania has numerous small cities of historical or archeological interest in additional to Tirana, it's a bustling capital city with heavy traffic and chaotic construction. Tirana also offers cultural activities, museums, good restaurants, cafes, nightlife, and a large population of students eager to practice their English. Tirana has a humid subtropical climate with cool and wet winters and hot and dry summers. Average temperatures in November fall between 46°F and 63°F.
WPI students will live in apartments in a quiet neighborhood near the embassies and the main square in Tirana. The apartments have spacious living areas and are fully furnished, including wireless internet. Each apartment has two bedrooms, and each bedroom will house two to three students. Linens are provided, as is a washing machine (but no dryer). Each apartment is equipped with a kitchen. Water is considered safe for brushing your teeth and cooking, but students are advised to drink bottled water. Accommodation type and location are subject to change without notice and will be confirmed the term prior to departure.
Albanian cuisine is primarily influenced by Italian and Turkish cuisines. Albanian cuisine frequently uses Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, mint, basil, rosemary, chili pepper, and garlic. Vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives are used in almost every dish. Seafood is common in the coastal cities, while higher elevations may consume “non-traditional” parts of the animal. Make sure to take any dietary restrictions or allergies into account as you consider this site and inform your advisor and IGSD of any health concerns well in advance of your participation in this program.
Students must arrive on or before the posted start date and stay through the posted end date of the program. Dates will be posted at the top of this page. WPI housing will be available from the start date to the end date. If students plan to arrange any personal travel before or after the program, they will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own housing.
Past Tirana students have:
- Promoted community-based tourism in a village having a previously inaccessible cave
- Documented environmental conditions along a major river
- Developed a water education program for Albanian high schools
- Collaborated with goat farmers to develop markets for local dried meat products
Students will be billed the following fees by WPI for the WPI semester they are away. These will be billed to you on the regular WPI billing cycle (i.e. Fall semester, and Spring semester).
In addition to this, students should budget for the following while away:
- WPI Tuition and Fees
- WPI Housing Fee (if applicable)
- WPI Meal Plan (if applicable, reduced for term away)
- Global Projects Program Housing and Program Fee (for applicable programs)
- Local transportation
- Airfare (if applicable)
- Tourist activities and incidentals
- Project related incidentals
A breakdown of all estimated expenses for Tirana can be found here: Albania Estimated Expenses
WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. While off-campus study can present unique challenges and inherent risks, we believe that careful research and diligent planning are keys to a safe and rewarding project experience. WPI utilizes several key resources to understand the risks of travel in the countries where we operate, and we urge you to consult these same resources as you research your intended destination. You can also discuss questions and concerns about your travel plans with on-campus resources such as the IGSD, the Student Health Center, the Office of Disability Services, and the Student Development and Counseling Center. It very important that you consider your own health requirements as you review what sites are most interesting to you, and that you carefully review the published information concerning health, safety, and security at the resources linked below prior to applying to a particular site. Make sure to visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for the most up to date health and vaccine information, and review all information in relation to your own health and any medical conditions you may have.
Country-specific travel health information from the Centers for Disease Control
Country-specific page from the U.S. Department of State
Student travel website from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State