YES Programs



Two Families Becoming One

Anea And Her Family Around Dinner Table

Anea Krajkova (YES 2021-2022, Kosovo, placed by CIEE in Maryville, MO)

My host family had the opportunity to come and visit me in Kosovo, where they got to meet my family and witness the warmth and hospitality that runs deep in our culture. Seeing my American host family and my family converse and exchange stories was a moment of pure delight.

Over the next few days, I had the pleasure of showing my host family the places in my hometown that I would often talk about while living with them. Together, we strolled through the historic streets, visited local markets, and absorbed the vibrant atmosphere that encapsulates the spirit of my homeland. We also indulged in my favorite traditional foods together. We went from savoring mouthwatering dishes like burek, llokuma, pite, and baklava to sharing meals around a table filled with laughter and lively conversation. Their genuine interest and eagerness to learn more deepened our connection. 

Anea And Her Family In The City

The highlight of our time together was when we all traveled to Albania for a weekend getaway, creating memories and strengthening our bond even further. We immersed ourselves in the rich history of ancient cities, such as Tirana or Lezha, basked in the beauty of pristine beaches, and marveled at the stunning landscapes that unfolded before our eyes. To top it off, we celebrated my birthday for the second time in a row, which made it extra special. 

Our families gathered around a beautifully set table, and our evening unfolded with lots of laughs, stories, and shared memories. It was a weird but exciting experience, a crossover I did not know I needed. I was overjoyed to introduce my family to the people who now play a significant role in my life and to share our joy and love with everyone. Seeing my host parents again made me realize just how much I had missed them, and I could not have been happier. This time will forever hold a special place in my heart as a cherished memory.