Vataj is fulfilling her dream of working in journalism, serving as the Web Editor and Producer for an international publication.
Marina Vataj was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1982, though her parents, Pren and Jana Vataj, were born in Kosova. The duo immigrated to the United States in 1971 in search of a better life, leaving behind family and friends but not their allegiance to Albanian culture. Pren and Jana adamantly believed in the importance of preserving their heritage, even while they assimilated to many American ways of life. They imbued their four children with tradition, yet also encouraged them to explore and develop their own passions and plans.
“While growing up, I felt very much ‘Albanian’—I spoke Albanian, ate Albanian food, and practiced traditions—and I appreciated my culture, yet it never encompassed me. It was a base on which I built the rest of myself,” says Vataj.
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