Each year, YES alumni in Southeast Europe celebrate International Education Week through presentations, workshops, and fairs. Alumni Coordinators from the region shared the following highlights from IEW 2016:
Laura Metaj (YES ’16) held a presentation and discussion about U.S. and Albanian education systems at the American Corner in Vlora. Laura shared information about subjects, schedules, school conditions, teaching methods, and systems of evaluation, and then invited participants to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each system.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ivana Vasilj (YES ’15), with the help of Maria Vasilj (YES ’16) and Arsalan Ghani (YES Pakistan '14), organized a Culture Fair at the American Corner in Mostar. The team invited students from the United World College in Mostar to share their countries and cultures. Through presentations, plays, food tastings, and other cultural activities, participants gained new perspectives on countries including Austria, India, Israel, Pakistan and the U.S.A.
Shebnem Niazi (YES ’14) shared her experience living and studying in the U.S. with a group of eighth graders in her hometown, Semerdzhievo. Following Shebnem’s presentation, the group discussed the academic, personal, and career benefits of cultural and academic exchange programs around the world. The students came up with a list of examples of ways spending a year abroad influences and enriches one's life, including acquiring cross-cultural skills for navigating a globalized world; improving one's language skills; making lifelong friends; becoming more independent, creative and open-minded; and being a part of a rich and dynamic alumni network.
Erris Boshnjaku (YES ’16) represented the YES program and his U.S. experience at the Alumni Fair organized by the American Advising Center in Kosovo, which featured alumni of U.S. colleges and universities, as well as of other U.S. Government-sponsored programs. The event was attended by 548 visitors - primarily high school students and their parents, but also notable figures such as U.S. Ambassador Greg Delawie. Erris spoke to many of these visitors, who were especially interested in hearing about his experiences living with a U.S. host family.
Semra Amet (YES ’11) invited current YES Abroad students Jaleh Shambayati, Jeremy Slater, Arshia Badani, and Kyra Jasper to join her in a visit to Nace Budjoni High School in Kumanovo, where they spoke to students about cultural differences between the U.S. and Macedonia, compared the countries’ education systems, and explained the benefits of exchange programs. Participants also welcomed the opportunity to share a bit of their own culture, offering their American guests traditional foods and taking them on a tour of the school.