By Nikola Kozarevski (YES 2018-2019, North Macedonia, hosted by AFS-USA in Lees Summit, MO)
I just got back from my exchange year; however, I have already experienced a thousand different things and feelings.
One of the best opportunities I got is to be a part of the 40th edition of the International Cinematographers' Film Festival "Manaki Brothers" in my hometown, Bitola, where guests included the president of North Macedonia.
The director of the festival wanted to hire someone to accompany American cinematographer, Ed Lachman, who was part of the jury and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, throughout the whole week of the festival. Mr. Lachman is in a wheelchair, so the director was looking for someone who had knowledge in the medical field and was fluent in English. I am a student at a medical high school and because of the experience I gained while I was in the United States, my school suggested me for this role.
The entire week was filled with many tasks and little sleep, but it was worth it. I learned how to manage my time and to never give up despite the challenges of having a schedule that had every minute planned and no room for being anything less than perfectly punctual.
Ed Lachman was such an amazing person. Meeting him was a very thrilling occurrence. He was extremely kind to everyone, regardless of whether he had just met a person or had known that person a long time. This left a mark on everyone. He also had a lot of experience in almost every field, including medicine, and he was very wise. I got to absorb a lot of knowledge from him and I now think of him as my inspiration.
Being around an American again, even for a small amount of time, made me fall in love with America, the people, their culture, their mentality, and their kindness all over again. It reminded me how much that one year changed me.