YES Programs



Exchange Beyond the Exchange

Nika and Sadija CR Meeting 2

On June 25, YES Alumni in Bosnia and Herzegovina held the last meeting for alumni City Representatives: volunteer positions where alumni do monthly projects to better their communities. Two of the City Representatives, Nika Banovic (2022 -2023, Bosnia and Herzegovina placed with YFU USA in Byron, MI) and Sadija Masic (2022 -2023, Bosnia and Herzegovina placed with AFS in Sitka, AK), have a special friendship that began with their exchange experience.

During Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO), Nika and Sadija were placed as roommates and discovered they had similar personalities and interests. After PDO, they were inseparable and kept in touch even during their exchange year, helping each other through the ups and downs of the experience.

Once they returned, they attended the Re-Entry Orientation and decided to apply for the City Representative position. Together, they organized a workshop on the basics of sign language in October 2023. This event took place at the youth center in Bugojno, and the main goal of the project was to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in their community. The alumnae also used this opportunity to promote the YES Program to their participants.

Nika and Sadija CR Meeting 1

Nika and Sadija also note that their friendship has allowed each other to learn about and practice tolerance for different cultural and religious beliefs. "Had it not been for the YES Program, it likely would have been difficult for us to meet in everyday life due to our different religious backgrounds," said one of the alumnae. Both attended and recently graduated from high schools where Muslim and Catholic students attend the same school at different times or in separate parts of the same building.

Despite their differences, Nika and Sadija remain strong friends and credit the YES Program for their connection.