By Simona Ristovska, Alumni Coordinator for Macedonia
During the month of October, American Councils Office Director for Macedonia, Velika Angelkova, and I promoted the Youth Exchange and Study Program on National TV and Radio Stations in Macedonia.
We went on the top two national morning shows “Makedonija Nautro” at Macedonian Television and Radio and “5 do 7” on Alfa TV. On the shows, Angelkova explained the purpose of the program and when and where testing would be held. I shared my experiences on program. It was a real pleasure doing the interviews on the shows and promoting YES.
As part of the promotion of the YES program, we were also guests of the famous Macedonian host Dimitar Atanasovski on the popular teenage show “Trotoar.” It was really funny when Atanasovski asked me if they liked Ajvar—a type of relish made from red peppers and garlic—in the USA, because he said, “There is no one who doesn’t love Macedonian Ajvar!”
Check out photos here!
Alumni across the country also worked hard to spread the word about the YES competition by giving presentations in their local schools and communities. Here is what they had to say:
Metodija Nikolovski ’12, from Prilep, Macedonia: Realistically speaking, the YES program truly changed my life in every way. It changed the way I see the world, how I interact with people, how I think things out, and how I see myself in the future. Having said that, I wanted to make sure that as many people as possible knew about this massive opportunity to change their own lives too. So, with the cooperation of some of the alumni and American Councils, we followed through with a presentation in our own school – Gymnasium Mirche Acev, which surprised us in turning up with a huge interest in this program. There were many teenagers that wanted to know more about this life-changing opportunity. It took place on 9th October, and afterwards we proceeded with another presentation at the local Medical High School. The presentations included pictures and slides that showed our USA experiences, our advice for the new students, encouragement, and also some crucial facts and information about the YES program and the testing dates. As I previously said, the interest was huge, and we received a lot of feedback and questions afterwards. This made me look back on when I was that student sitting there and listening to the presentation. It made me realize that things we find impossible to do are the things that are most worth fighting for. And although it seems like a long road to success, I laugh to myself when I think of all the experiences that I gained walking that road – it was completely worth every minute! I was very pleased by the result of our presentations and I hope to proceed with them in the future.
Angela Dimeska ’11, from Prilep, Macedonia: While in the U.S., I wondered why people in Macedonia are so little informed about programs such as YES, and I strongly wanted to make a change about that. Now, when I am an alumna, I want to inform teenagers as much as I can about this program. The realization of this idea could go through presentations which American Corner and American Councils already did, so I cooperated with them and made a few presentations, mostly in my city – Prilep, in the high schools and one in the American Corner in Bitola. I worked on this with other alumni, Metodija Nikolovski and we realized that there are many teenagers interested in this. We made power point presentations about our personal USA experience, showed it to the teenagers and answered all of their questions. It was very nice experience because there were so many questions that we had to answer, the same ones that we had before flying to the States, so it was nice to feel like I know the answers now. If I have a chance, I am planning on continuing this tradition in the future, because I feel magnificent when I feel like I am making the road to U.S.A. more clear to somebody.
Martina Markovska ’12, from Resen, Macedonia: Summarizing the many positive feelings and experiences that I had while being and exchange student in the YES program in couple of words: unimaginably wonderful! The experience I had was definitely life-changing. What is really important is that as an exchange student you learn only by yourself about diversity and leadership. You start seeing the world differently and you are open-minded, and in my opinion those are very important qualities to have that will help you make the world a better place. Anyhow, I realized this once I became an alumna in the YES program and two years ago when I first found out about it I hesitated to try out for it. A thousand questions went through my mind such as am I ready, am I too young to go and explore this opportunity in a country miles away, etc. But I took that step and here I am now being thankful that I had that opportunity. That was the reason I wanted to share my thoughts about the program with people that are now being introduced to it and probably have the same questions as I did. So, with the support from the school’s staff and American Councils, my friend Ardian Murati, who’s also an alumnus from YES, and I made a presentation to encourage students to try out for it. The interest among the students was very high and there was a visible excitement when they realized how great this program is. There were many questions asked about my wonderful experience and the program in general. The presentation was held in SOU. “Car Samoil“ , the gymnasium Ardian and I attend in our hometown, Resen. In conclusion, I am glad that I shared my knowledge and experience with the students who can apply now. I would definitely encourage everyone who can apply to do so. I would also say that everyone should only believe in themselves. If you really want to make a positive change in the society, you should only believe in yourself and you will make a great change; you will make the world a better place for everyone. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just make the first step. Go for it! It’s an amazing experience!
Natasha Carovska, ‘12 Gostivar: The YES program was a life-changing experience for me. It was followed by meeting magnificent people that really helped me out through the whole year. Knowing that many students ignore opportunities like this, thinking that they won’t succeed, inspired me to make things more clear for them and motivate them to try their luck. Taking my experience as an example, I wanted to give students as much information as possible about this wonderful opportunity. With the help of my English teacher and the support of American Councils I made few presentations that were covering the essential information such as testing dates in different communities, signing up time, etc. and also many pictures showing my experience and every –day life in the US. It took place at the gymnasium “SEOU-Gostivar” in Gostivar on 5th and 6th October .The interest was huge, and many questions were asked afterwards. I was happy seeing those people patiently listening and I could imagine myself sitting there having the same questions they had and still hesitating whether I’m ready to make this huge step or not. I would advise you to never underestimate your abilities and to grab this opportunity because it gives a huge rise of individualism and results with positive changes of your personality.