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A young Albanian woman who developed and just released mobile games for Apple in less than a month says she has P.E.I. to thank for much of her success.
Albiona Ajeti, now 20, moved to the Island in 2012 with her family where she enrolled in Grade 7 at Stonepark Intermediate School in Charlottetown. It took her about a year to learn English, a language she speaks now with ease.
“That was definitely a challenging year," Ajeti said in a recent telephone interview from Waterloo, Ont., where she is currently working to finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.
“Thankfully, I had a great support system (on the Island) that helped me do well in school. It was an adjustment period ... that culture shock."
After graduating from Stonepark, she went to Charlottetown Rural High School, where she graduated from the international baccalaureate program. And in that time, Ajeti was also named the 2018 junior achiever of the year by the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame. She also volunteered in the community, such as giving computer lessons to seniors at the Confederation Centre Public Library.
"I believe anyone can do anything that they set their mind to. You just have to find that passion of yours."
- Albiona Ajeti
“Then I decided to take a gap year just to explore my options and find my passion."
In that year off, Ajeti taught herself how to code (computer programming) in just a few months and was also named one of the recipients of the 2019 Western Union Global Scholarship. Most recently, she also began working as the creative director for UNICEF at the University of Waterloo.
Amid all of that, Ajeti and her brother, Qendrim, began working on mobile games. Qendrim, a graduate of Holland College’s video game design and animation program, handled the visual design for the games.
Their newest mobile game on the Apple store is called Crazy Tire, a platform game in which the aim is to guide a rotating tire up a never-ending series of platforms without falling and collecting as many coins as possible.
She and Qendrim are now in the process of promoting the game on a variety of social media platforms.
Following is some information on Albiona Ajeti:
- Moved to P.E.I. from Albania in 2012.
- Attended classes at Stonepark Intermediate School and Charlottetown Rural High School in Charlottetown.
- Graduated from the international baccalaureate program at the Rural.
- Gave computer lessons to seniors at Confederation Centre Public Library in Charlottetown.
- Named the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame’s junior achiever of the year in 2018.
- Now finishing up her undergraduate degree at University of Waterloo in Ontario.
- Working as creative director for UNICEF at University of Waterloo.
- One of the recipients of the 2019 Western Union Global Scholarship.
- Self-taught computer programmer; taught herself how to code.
- Ajeti and her brother, Qendrim, are now creating mobile games for Apple.
Tracy Campbell, who helped teach Ajeti English when she first arrived from Kosovo in 2012, said Ajeti’s success doesn’t surprise her one little bit.
“She made a big impression on me," Campbell said.
“The passion in her eyes was noticeable from miles away. I’m incredibly proud of this young woman and leader that she has become ... teaching herself how to code and releasing games on Apple is astonishing. (I) will always root for (Ajeti), even from far away. I love seeing young women succeed in a male-dominated industry."
Ajeti is very humble about her accomplishments.
“I think it’s not a big deal," Ajeti said, adding it took a while for the app development deal to sink in.
“I told my professor I had an app and he (jokingly) asked me how many degrees I had. I said, ‘huh’?"
Ajeti is taking French lessons because she feels it is important to be able so speak both of Canada’s official languages.
Ajeti said she and Qendrim have goals they still want to achieve, like setting up their own game development studio where they can work with people and develop projects that have a lasting and positive impact on society.
“The ability to conceive a new idea and bring it to fruition is really exciting, especially if it can create solutions that can tackle world problems and improve lives."
As a way to thank Islanders for helping her, she hopes telling her story can serve as inspiration for other young minds.
“There are so many talented people (on P.E.I.). I believe anyone can do anything that they set their mind to. You just have to find that passion of yours."