Around 200 students from all 11 locations where the Access program – Microscholarship for better access to the English language, supported by the US Embassy in Skopje, is implemented, hung out and learned new things during the online cycle “Thursday Talks”. These online classes host many interesting guests with fun and unusual professions, who shared their experience with the students throughout the first semester.
One of the guests was Patricia Davidson from Boston, USA, an English teacher with international experience, who was a volunteer at the US Embassy in Skopje. She presented the traditions and customs connected to the Thanksgiving celebration in the USA. Through a quiz and an interesting discussion, the students shared their knowledge of the topic and discussed what they are thankful for in their lives. They presented their video for Thanksgiving, which they made as a surprise for Patricia and for the class.
During the next class, the students met Kristina Biceva, who works on preserving cultural heritage in the country and is a US Embassy in Skopje alumni. They exchanged opinions on the types of cultural heritage, traditional objects and pieces of clothing while strengthening their public and argumentative speaking in English.
“Go out of your comfort zone and fight for what you want to do”, Sasko Potter Micevski, who works on editing movies and TV shows and creating sound effects, advised the students. He has worked on the Harry Potter movies, so he piqued the students’ interests regarding the movies’ cast and Sasko’s collaboration with them. He talked about his love for movies and answered many questions that the students asked connected to his profession and the projects he has worked on, among which are many popular Hollywood productions.
For encouraging youth’s entrepreneurial spirit, Sonja Magdevska was also a guest. She is an entrepreneur and a Fulbright Alumni of the US Embassy in Skopje, who runs her own business for wine production and lives in California, but her parents are from North Macedonia. Through her inspiring speech, the students learned about her journey with running a business in the USA, starting from nothing and having great motivation and will to succeed. Sonja shared plenty of useful lessons about life and entrepreneurship. After she presented them her wine called ‘Feminist Party’, the students asked her about popular wines, her collaboration with celebrities from the USA, about advice on how to start a business, her future plans and similar and received detailed answers.
“You have to tell yourself: there is no plan B; this is my plan A, so I have to do everything that I can to make it work and to keep working on it every day. As business owners, we are responsible not only for ourselves but also for the people who work in the business”, she said.
Finally, “Thursday Talks” gave the students an opportunity to virtually visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje and to experience the exhibition “Skopje Resurgent”, which represents a mutual collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, the US Embassy in Skopje and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The virtual walkthrough as well as the detailed information were led by the curators Bojana Janeva and Kumjana Novakova. The participants discussed the wonderful pieces of modern art, the stories and meaning behind them, and the solidarity of artists from America, who donated their art pieces to the City of Skopje after the earthquake in 1963. The aim was to preserve a cradle of art on the Balkans and with that the museum to become one of the museums with the most art pieces from foreign artists. The curators invited the students to visit the museum physically in the future when the conditions will allow it and get to know more pieces that are displayed in it, among which is a painting from the artist Picasso.
“We like the classes very much. We learn new things, hang out with friends and meet new ones”, say the students.
These classes continue in the second semester with new guests with who the students will actively discuss different topics and advance their knowledge in the English language.
This activity is part of the English Access Microscholarship Program, supported by the United States Embassy in North Macedonia.