YES Alumni Story: My Story – Cvetanka Pasinechka (YES 2019-2020, Negotino, N. Macedonia, placed by CIEE in Ringgold, GA)

Home / YES Alumni Story: My Story – Cvetanka Pasinechka (YES 2019-2020, Negotino, N. Macedonia, placed by CIEE in Ringgold, GA)

The YES program helps you grow in an understanding and a mature young adult. My exchange year in the U.S. allowed me to present my country and culture but also learn so much about American traditions and values. I got to meet many other exchange students that helped me broaden my knowledge and understanding for the world.

I was placed in a wonderful host family in Ringgold, Georgia and attended Lakeview- Fort Oglethorpe High School as a junior. My host family, the teachers and the students at my school all made me feel welcome and helped me have an amazing year. I experienced my first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with my host family which are some of my favorite memories and moments I will remember forever. Staying quarantined together helped bring us even closer, constantly finding fun ways to spend our time like playing board games, and even throwing our own prom. Doing extracurricular activities such as cross country running, being the manager of the girls’ basketball team, and soccer, as well as volunteering, allowed me to make many friends. My friends made sure that I got the full American experience. We spent our days together trying some of their favorite foods and activities while getting even closer and making lifelong friendships.  You can then use all the knowledge and experience to contribute to your environment, as the program does not end when you come back from your exchange year. My first two alumni projects were focused on keeping my town informed and protected from the coronavirus, and making sure that the children had a place to spend their time even with the closure of many facilities due to the virus.

For me the best part of this program is making bonds with people from different sides of the world. By being far from your natural family and friends, you learn the value of those relationships with the people you have been your whole life. By getting to know your host family and new friends, you enrich your personality and become more understanding. Both of these relationships make you a positive and motivated person, wanting to use your potential and skills to make your environment and the world a happier and better place to live in.

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