YES Programs



My IDEAL Experience

Sara1 Mk

By Sara Aleksieska (YES 2017-2018, North Macedonia, hosted by PAX in Yelm, WA)

When it comes to character-building or skills-development through professional means -- workshops, seminars, and camps are great, right? When you've been to so many, however, one more or less might not seem to make that much of a difference. Well, when I applied to IDEAL 2019, my expectations were not very high. I knew it would surely be very well-organized and thought out, but I assumed that most of what I was going to hear would nonetheless be old news -- and that's where I was wrong.

Macedonian Participantsat Ideal

At the IDEAL Workshop, I was part of the Teambuilding and Facilitation group. As participants, we experienced a well-balanced combination of theory and practice, and perhaps most importantly, I can still remember almost everything that was said within my group without having to review my notes! From the importance of good language use, to active listening, I was left feeling we had covered it all, and probably because we had! Leaving the workshop, I found myself in disbelief as to just how much I had learned.

Aside from the learning, practicing, and participating right then and there, I was so happy to finally have the chance to share my experiences from the U.S. and hear about that of others’. Some, but not all of us had had that chance to share with each other, and reflecting on it all one year later did us no harm. In fact, I felt like it was very much necessary. 

All in all, despite having believed this would just be another workshop, I was proven wrong and have felt its profound impact on my own development, both professional and socially.

IDEAL 2019, you have definitely been good to us!


In May, write a thank you letter to your host family, host community, or favorite teacher! 

Check out this month's story prompt at and submit your story!