By Klea Troka, YES 2011-2012, Albania, hosted by YFU in Delaware, OH
On Monday, February 5, 14 YES alumni were invited to the residence of U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu to watch the Eagles and Patriots compete in the Super Bowl. They joined alumni from other U.S. State Department-funded exchange programs, as well as participants in U.S. Embassy-sponsored programs such as Outdoor Ambassadors and Technovation Girls, and high school students from Harry Fultz Institute, who make up the first American football club in Albania. It was an opportunity for participants to socialize with each other and make new acquaintances while cheering and yelling for their favorite teams.
“It looked so much like the tailgate parties we would organize with my host family,” said Dea Shehu (YES ’17), reflecting on a type of gathering traditionally organized by sports fans before or during a game. “I suddenly missed so much the days I used to play American football with my high school team,” says Angjelos Lika (YES ’15).
One of the highlights of the afternoon was greeting Ambassador Lu and the Mayor of Tirana, with whom the alumni shared some of their future projects and ideas. The mayor expressed his willingness to give his support to alumni activities we will organize in the near future.
These types of events are a great opportunity to bring alumni closer together and to make them feel more motivated, energized, and inspired to undertake new projects.