YES Programs




Marko Macedonian Girl Choir Performance

By Marko Pavlovski (YES 2023-2024, North Macedonia, placed by AFS-USA in Mars, PA)

Eight months ago, I embarked on a life-changing journey through the KL-YES Program, eager to embrace new experiences and immerse myself in a different culture. However, as the novelty of my exchange began to fade, I found myself grappling with homesickness.

One fateful evening, a friend extended an invitation to the school's music concert, promising an evening of enchanting melodies and harmonious symphonies. Intrigued by the prospect of finding solace in music, I accepted without hesitation, unaware of the profound impact it would have on my exchange experience. As the chorus took to the stage, their voices intertwining in a mesmerizing tapestry of sound. In that moment, I knew that joining the chorus would not only be a way to overcome my homesickness but also an opportunity to forge meaningful connections. With determination coursing through my veins, I approached my guidance counselor, eager to seize the opportunity to join the chorus in the upcoming semester. To my delight, fortune smiled upon me, granting me the chance to pursue my passion for music amidst the backdrop of my exchange adventure. Under the guidance of Mrs. Kennedy, our exceptional choral director, I embarked on a quest to find a song that would serve as a bridge between my Macedonian heritage and my newfound community. After much deliberation, I stumbled upon the perfect gem – "Makedonsko Devojche," a hauntingly beautiful folk song that resonated deeply with my soul. Yet, bringing this cherished masterpiece of my culture to life proved to be no small feat. I searched through countless sources in search of a suitable arrangement for our choir, determined to do justice to the essence and authenticity of the song. With each note and lyric, I found myself drawn closer to my Macedonian roots. After weeks of effort and collaboration with Mrs. Kennedy, we finally discovered an arrangement suitable for our choir. With only a week until the concert, we threw ourselves into rehearsals with unwavering dedication, striving to master every single detail of the piece. As the day of the performance dawned, anticipation hung thick in the air, mingling with a sense of pride and excitement. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my fellow choristers, I felt a profound sense of unity as we raised our voices in harmony, transcending cultural barriers and celebrating the universal language of music. As the final strains of "Makedonsko Devojche" echoed through the concert hall, I looked out at the sea of faces before me, my heart brimming with gratitude and fulfillment.

In that moment, I realized the transformative power of exchange – not merely as a journey of geographical exploration but as a celebration of shared humanity and the bonds that unite us across borders. Through music, we forged connections, fostered understanding, and woven a tapestry of cultural exchange that transcended language and nationality. In the end, it was not just a song we had shared, but a piece of ourselves – a testament to the enduring power of music to bridge divides and unite hearts in harmony.