YES Programs



Finding Confidence through YES

North Macedonia Jordana Bozhinova 12 With Friends In Kratovo Upon Her Return From The States

Prior to her YES program year, Jordana Bozhinova (YES 2011-2012, North Macedonia, placed with AFS-USA in Rio Rancho, NM) was doing great in school, but, outside the classroom, she was struggling with her confidence, making it difficult to find friends. The academic exchange in the U.S. was not only an opportunity for her to experience a new country and culture, but it was also a chance to help her find herself. The YES program gave Jordana the skills needed to improve her confidence and trust herself. 

Back in 2011, Jordana perceived confidence as something out of reach. She had always been one of the best students in her class, but Jordana had a hard time standing up for herself and socializing. She simply didn't believe in herself. Sensitive and shy, it didn't take long for Jordana to become a victim of bullying. School turned into a place of fear and pain for her, and her teenage heart took in this terror and turned it into a long-lasting mindset. That is, until she took part in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program.

Some of us only need a little push to become more confident, but others require more to find our confidence. The year Jordana spent in the U.S. was a soulful journey. It empowered her to face life's challenges and trust herself. After a year of great experiences, she came back to North Macedonia smiling and strong-spirited. And that is how, she says, the YES program saved her. Female empowerment might not be the reason the YES program was started, but it's one of the profound effects it has on teen girls. For Jordana, the YES program still plays a vital role in her life almost 10 years later. Today, she is the YES City Representative (CR) for her hometown of Kratovo. Jordana says, "I am grateful to learn new things as a CR and am positively surprised to see the enthusiasm that people in Kratovo have for making the town a better place."