Borjan Georgievski Visits D.C. as Part of Department of State Civic Education Workshop

Senior+Borjan+Georgievski+walks+down+the+stairs+of+the+Lincoln+Memorial+in+Washington+D.C.

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Senior Borjan Georgievski walks down the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Getting to be a foreign exchange student is an opportunity few get the chance to experience, even less get to have a trip to the Capitol as part of their stay. Senior Borjan Georgievski from Skopje, North Macedonia, got to do both. 

“I feel like it’s at number one [favorite part of visit to the U.S.], most definitely,” Georgievski said. “Kids from around the world, sightseeing, the seminars, the work we did. By far the best trip I’ve had in my life so far, and I’m really thankful for everyone for it.”

Georgievski got his scholarship to come to America through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. Along with the scholarship came another opportunity, a trip to take a fully-funded trip to Washington D.C. for a week of leadership and diplomatic skill-building seminars through the Department of State’s Civic Education Workshop (CEW). To get the CEW trip though, students have to be part of the YES program, write an essay and get a letter of recommendation. Out of the 500+ students that applied, Georgievski was one of 150 that was accepted.

“As a person that loves traveling and exchanging cultures, the chance to meet so many kids from different countries and just talk to them about how it is in their communities and stuff like that really uplifted my soul and really just brought so much joy to my face,” Georgievski said.

For the trip, Georgievski had to submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher at his host school. He chose his U.S. History teacher Dan Lamb. Lamb was glad to write the letter for Georgievski, even claiming Georgievski knows more about U.S. history than most Americans do.

“He said it was the ‘trip of his lifetime’ so I would imagine if he ever doubted himself of how much he wanted to be an American, now he truly wants to be an American,” Lamb said.

I feel like I gained a more open mind, a more generous heart, and a new and better way of leading other people.”

— Borjan Geogievski

While in D.C., Georgievski and the other students attended seminars and visited museums every day, spoke with State Department politicians and ambassadors and went to monuments all over the city. They gained new leadership and diplomatic skills to take and share with their countries back home. The students were assigned a mentor and group they were with for the trip, his mentor being Mr. Stewart. Georgievski came out of the experience feeling like a better leader and diplomat, more genuine and compassionate, with expanded horizons and a new way of thinking about things.

“I had an amazing mentor and group, Mr. Stewart, he really changed my life and I feel like he’s probably up there with the people who have been super influential about me,” Georgievski said.

The trip wasn’t all business, though. Georgievski and the other students had fun together, too. Whether it was at the museums and monuments they visited, or just waiting around. Georgievski doesn’t just give out the Macedonian flag to anyone, but his roommate left D.C. with one in their hands, showing just how strong of bonds can be made in a few days.

“I had a fever this one morning and the nurse wanted me to take a preventative COVID test and while we were waiting there we were playing 15 minutes of music from our countries from the kids that were there and at the end we played Baby Shark and the nurse started dancing to it,” Georgievski said. “It was so hilarious, it made my week.”

Georgievski has a little over three and a half months left in the U.S., leaving June 14, after graduation. He wants to enjoy the last of his time here as much as he can by reflecting on everything he’s done and learned and everyone he’s met. Using all of that to prepare for college and being an adult. He credits most of what he has learned and has turned out to be to his parents, his teachers and his host parents.

“The only thing that I want people to take away from my exchange is that dreams do come true,” Georgievski said.