By Sara Aleksieska, YES 2017-2018, hosted by Program of Academic Exchange in Yelm, Washington
Coming to the United States of America has been one of the greatest goals I have ever achieved for which I am very thankful for. I have been here as a 17 year old teenage girl, an exchange student at that, for only three months and it already feels like I belong. I’ve been to so many places, seen so many cool things, participated in crazy interesting activities and still, the best is yet to come! Thanks to Cross Country, a sport I ran a varsity race in, I made my first friends here, people that I still very often hang out with. Balancing that with the Drama Club has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow, understand and teach. Dramatourge is a position that followed my name in the high school play The Frogs and I had a lot of fun filling it in!
Aside from trying out so many different things here, my culture is still a part of me that I cherish very much, so when International Education Week came around, I couldn’t help but spread around my excitement and of course, knowledge. Creating a presentation about my country Macedonia reminded me of how important it is to inform people about the uniqueness of every culture. My drawing class had the opportunity to hear it all first and their interest and participation took me aback so much that after that first presentation I talked to more of my teachers and had two more presentations that exact same day. Depending on which class I presented in, I used different methods to engage the audience. I had a PowerPoint in which I shared pictures and information about our History, Food, Music, Traditional Clothes etc. In other classes, such as Drama I made a Board Game in which I would introduce my classmates a Macedonian game, make them learn a traditional Macedonian dance, had them recite the alphabet with me, had them play charades with words in Macedonian and similar activities. We had so much fun that my teacher, Ms. Olson let me use the whole class period participating in the game herself!
I have already held four presentations and have two more scheduled for the following week. I have also talked to the local library and we are working on arranging a date for a presentation there as well!
Putting the entirety of Macedonian culture in 20 minutes or 30 or 50 minutes has been very challenging as it has so many variations to it that it’s hard to stop talking about, but after hearing all the questions my classmates had I knew it was all worth it!