YES Programs



Four Ways to Take Advantage of Time at Home

Sheila Spahiu Recommendation

By Klea Troka (YES 2011-2012, Albania, hosted by YFU-USA in Delaware, OH)

The YES alumni community in Albania has been brainstorming ways to stay connected and engaged while we stay home to fight the spread of COVID-19. We asked our alumni to share their recommendations for activities to make use of their time at home.

Drawing and sketching

The first recommendation comes from alumna Sheila Spahiu (YES 2014-2015 hosted by World Link in Norwalk, Iowa)

“Despite everything else that is going on around us, sitting and learning how to sketch makes me fall into another world for a little while. Personally, I have always sketched on paper but starting to use a Sketchbook app is different and, surprisingly, easier. It’s a new way to keep myself busy by learning a new skill and sharing it with my friends by making sketches of them.

Start an Online Class

The second of these recommendations comes from alumna Erta Prifti (YES 2014-2015 hosted by AYUSA in North Branch, Minnesota)

 Erta is taking the Science of Well- Being by Yale University offered through Coursera. She says, “This is described as Yale’s most popular class; it helps you learn how to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. It looks like the perfect dose of happiness we will need during the coming days. Also, open platforms like Coursera and Edx offer a variety of courses, so this is the perfect time to take that class you have always wanted to try!”

Jona Fani Recommendation
Jona Fani practices yoga and meditation while at home.

Yoga and Meditation

Recommendation number three comes from alumna Jona Fani (YES 2014-2015 hosted by PAX in De Pere, Wisconsin)

“In the midst of everything that’s going on in the world, it’s important to also take care of our mental health,” says Jona. “Practicing yoga can benefit us both physically and mentally. It incorporates breathing exercises, meditation and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Nowadays, practicing yoga has never been easier, with hundreds of free yoga classes on YouTube. I personally practice and suggest the following: Yoga with Tim, Yoga with Adrienne, as well as free yoga videos from Alo Moves."

Olta Myslimi Recommendation
Olta Myslimi cooks dishes she enjoyed while on her exchange year in Ohio.


The last recommendation comes from alumna Olta Myslimi (YES 2011-2012 hosted by PAX in Pataskala, Ohio)

“All of us are caught off guard by this situation and having to change our lifestyles and daily routines, so just like everybody else I started to think of new things to do while our city is in lockdown. I was always passionate about cooking, but my busy schedule doesn’t leave much time to start cooking all the things I wanted. Because I am spending more time at home, I decided to reminisce on my time as a YES student and recreate my favorite American foods. Since the lockdown began on March 10, I have made the following: green bean casserole, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, apple rose pastries, baked potatoes, Monte Cristo sandwiches, and cinnamon rolls.

My family members are simply in love with American cuisine and I have received positive feedback from my friends when I share my creations on social media. This has also been a fun way to share American culture and teach my friends more about the American cuisine. For me, cooking has been a great way to get through this situation while developing a new skill and, most importantly, it helps me stay happy!

My suggestion during this time: discover your hidden talents! Do something you always wanted to do but you didn’t have the time.