By Arshia Badani, YES Abroad 2016-17, Macedonia (Skopje)
Dinner with Ambassador Baily
I chose to study abroad to be able to fully integrate into a new culture and way of life for a full year. Naturally, a profession that has always stuck out to me is Foreign Service, namely, becoming a Diplomat. Obviously, you cannot just sign up to be a Diplomat, and Foreign Service is a very competitive field. Regardless, becoming a Diplomat has always been a dream job of mine. I have made the most out of every chance I have gotten to talk to people in the field of Foreign Service. Going to an international school makes this very easy, as most international students are children of diplomats and have lived and traveled all over the world. Their stories, experiences, and backgrounds are all so unique, I have always found it interesting to hear about them.
In early November, along with the other American students, I was invited to attend the American Embassy breakfast held on election morning when the results where being announced. Being surrounded by so many people associated with various embassies was really cool. I was fortunate enough to briefly meet the American Ambassador to Macedonia and speak with diplomats from other countries about their opinions on the election among other things; a perfect way to put the YES Abroad motto “exchange our world” in action.
A few weeks later, when my host family told me Ambassador Baily and his family would be joining us for dinner that Friday, I was surprised and ecstatic. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. On the day of the dinner I helped prep for our guests by polishing silver, moving furniture, and helping with table-setting. My host mom and dad cooked an amazing meal which I enjoyed very much. Conversation ranged from serious topics such as government corruption, to more lighthearted stories and anecdotes about school, growing up, and childhood memories. After dinner, we sat for coffee and ate a delicious pumpkin pie made by the Ambassador’s wife (which reminded me of home so much especially because this was the day after Thanksgiving). We continued conversation and even discussed one of my favorite topics- college football!
Overall, the dinner was an amazing experience. As a student on exchange through the United States Department of State, any interaction with the embassy is an enhancing experience. Interacting with the Ambassador in a personal setting and engaging in discussion with him and his family was very enriching, and I am grateful for the opportunity.