In August 2012, Public Affairs Counselor Angela Aggeler hosted a reception for participants of the Youth Exchange and Study (or YES) program. Guests included 12 students who will be departing soon to begin their studies in the United States, their parents, and students who just returned from their exchange year.
The YES program scholarships, which are supported directly by the U.S. State Department, allow students around the world to study in high schools across America for one academic year.
The program began in 2002, and Macedonia joined the program in 2009. To date, 57 Macedonian students have been able to participate in the YES program.
During the year, the students live with host families, attend high school, participate in activities to learn about American culture, and help educate Americans about Macedonia.
On a local level, the YES program is supported by American citizens and secondary schools which host, educate and support the students with no financial compensation.
The students have been assigned to schools in both large cities and smaller towns, across a variety of states. They were excited to talk with the alumni about their experiences.
The proud and somewhat anxious parents of the students were also glad to talk with returning alumni and embassy staff about what to expect.
The YES alumni return home with more mature and broadened perspectives. Many go on to leadership roles within their communities, becoming role models for younger children.
In Macedonia, the YES program is organized by the American Councils for International Education, a non-profit organization that promotes the exchange and development of knowledge between the U.S. and Eastern Europe, Eurasia and the Balkans.
For more information about the Youth Exchange Study Program: