YES Programs



My YES Story: Rina Osmani ’19

Rina Singing Opera

By Rina Osmani (YES 2018-2019, North Macedonia, placed with Greenheart Exchange in North Yarmouth, ME)

It's been some time since I got back to North Macedonia from the U.S., and I am still missing every minute that I spent there. In my year there, I had the chance to bond with my wonderful family, study many interesting subjects in school and create international friendships that will last forever.

My host family greatly impacted me during my time in the U.S. They gave me a great big warm welcome when I arrived and treated me as if I was one of their own children. They were very musical and taught me how much music can affect your life and family, and how everyone should have a musical outlet in their life. I learned that there is always room for music in my life, and now I try to attend a concert at least once a month.

Human Rights Project Rina Osmani

One of the things that I brought back home with me is my newfound love to volunteer in my local community. When in the U.S., I volunteered at various places, where I learned how much your time and effort means to others. It also showed me how it can help me grow as a person and how many people it can connect you with. When I got back to North Macedonia, I started volunteering at summer camps, the American Corner and at my local YES organization. A big part of my volunteering is that I want to encourage others within my community to also volunteer. 

Outside of volunteering, I am also furthering my education. This year, I started pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. It was a little bit challenging entering college after my year in the U.S., but I feel that the YES program did a good job in preparing me for the next steps in my educational career. I was able to bring some of the new things I learned in the U.S. to the classroom with me in North Macedonia, such as formulas from my physics course and giving presentations and essays from my social science courses.

Without my YES experience, I know that I would not be the person I am today. It is thanks to my host family, school and friends that I am driven to help my community out as best as I can. Since returning home, I have become the City Representative for Skopje and have put on various projects in an attempt to impact my local community. I have organized a three-part human rights-focused project and also a six-part presentation series at the local English Language Center on various themes. I hope that my work in my community will help generations to come.