YES Programs



How my Life Changed in a Week

Isidora And Fellow Cew Participants Pose In Front Of Capitol

By Isidora Stefanoska (YES 2021-2022, North Macedonia, placed by CIEE in Kansas City, MO)

I used to question when someone told me their life changed in a week. I never knew it was possible until I experienced it myself while participating in Civic Education Week (CEW). This life-changing week is my favorite memory during my exchange year in the U.S.

Civic Education Week is, as its name suggests, a week-long project funded by the U.S. Department of State that brings YES and FLEX students to visit the capital of the U.S., Washington D.C., and learn about civic affairs and engagement. 

We also were able to experience the capital city. I share fond memories with the other CEW participants of visiting museums, touring George Washington’s house, and attending a basketball game.

Isidora Sitting On Steps

However, the main objectives of the week were to teach us about diplomacy, help us become active citizens, and empower us to take initiative in our communities. Through numerous seminars with diplomats, representatives from the Department of State, and discussions, I learned even more than I expected.

During this week, my experience with fellow exchange students taught me once more that love sees no boundaries, and I felt the beauty in understanding and loving a person from a different country and cultural background. Furthermore, I realized that there are no limits to what one is capable of as long as there is the light of passion, the determination to succeed, and the zeal to learn.

I thank you, Department of State, Mr. Stewarts, and all the wonderful people that profoundly opened my eyes to seeing life through multiple lenses engraved with love during Civic Education Week!