I am a junior in high school and I was accepted into an exchange program to be able to go to Kosovo for my senior year. I will be spending my whole 2021-2022 school year there and will be able to experience all kinds of new things. My grandparents are from Kosovo and I want to be able to connect to our culture and visit distant relatives, I would love to walk the streets of Prishtina and take in the air, connect to my heritage, taste the food and hear the music of Kosovo.
My grandparents left Kosovo in the 1960’s when it was still part of Yugoslavia, and emigrated first to Germany and then to the United States where they became active in the Kosovar and Albanian communities. They have worked hard and have passed their values to their children and ultimately to their grandchildren. I feel such a connection to the land of my people (including Dua Lipa, Ava Max, the Belushi brothers, Bebe Rexha, Skanderbeg, Valon Behrami and so many others) though I have never had the chance to visit. My grandfather calls me “rrush”, which means grape his native language, I would love to see the vineyards of his youth with my own eyes.
I have not ever been allowed to do anything like this and I think it will be an amazing opportunity. I have long desired to study in a foreign environment and to immerse myself in a new culture and become fully bilingual.
The program that is helping to sponsor me is willing to put up half of the funds needed for me to be able to go on my trip but I still have to put up the other half of the money.
I had come up with great ideas to fund raise such as selling candies, car washes, and asking local institutions which has become impossible due to the current situation with the pandemic. My parents were also in a financial situation in which they would have been much more able to help me before furloughs struck in 2020 and they are now on a much tighter budget, which does not enable them to give me the support they initially were willing to.
I would really appreciate anything towards making this dream of mine come true. This will also look great on my college application as it is a goal of mine to enter diplomacy and continue my activities in model UN. I have a deadline in July 2021 to collect the funds and am adamantly using all resources to collect the funds in a timely manor.
Please help me to pursue this venture and to connect to my roots!