The day I am writing this is September 20, 2019. I’ve lived here in Skopje for 35 days. A little over a month ago, I woke up at 10 AM, headed to the Village Coffee Shop in my hometown, Maplewood, New Jersey, with a friend and spoke about everything from the high school fencing team to the future.
Well, now, here I am, in the future, in Skopje.
I’m a #YESAbroad exchange student, a citizen diplomat and youth cultural ambassador for my home country. It was hard to leave home, but what I have discovered here is that home is not a physical location-it’s where you are most comfortable. Of course, I miss my parents, my friends, and my family (including our dog, Buddy), but here, in under a month, I have found another home, a second family, and friendships I know will last a lifetime.
Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If I was too afraid, I never would have been able to come here and to have the incredible experience that has only started to begin. One of my high school fencing coaches once told me something extraordinarily valuable: if you know you will regret something in the future, then live today to realize your dreams. I’ve been guilty of being passive before, but here, I’m following the advice of my former coach.