Birthright Macedonia is an international program that gives Macedonian youth throughout our Diaspora the opportunity to assert their Macedonian heritage and to declare it to others in a meaningful and significant way. For three weeks during the summer, our youth gather in the Republic and are involved in the multi-faceted aspects of the program.
The three major components of the Birthright Macedonia are its internship program, home stay with host families and a myriad of activities that exposes our participants to the culture and history of the Republic. Here is what our “Birthrighters” (our participants) experience during their stay in Macedonia.
They are assigned an Internship work program that aligns their academic and career goals as closely as possible to their assigned task. They work side by side with native Macedonians and with other Macedonian youth from around the world – sharing their knowledge and life experiences with one another. Here are some of the Internships that Birthrighters have participated in:
Analytica: A non-profit think tank dedicated to helping individuals and institutions foster lasting improvement in the democracy and governance in Macedonia and elsewhere in the region of South Eastern Europe.
College of Veterinarian Medicine at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University
Euro BPO: A major labor outsourcer on the European continent
Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis: A non-government organization think tank that works in the fields of good governance, EU integration and public opinion research
Macedonian Center for International Cooperation: UMD’s Birthright Macedonia program co-partner in Skopje, Macedonia
Ministry of Foreign Investments
Museum of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle for Sovereignty and Independence
During their stay in the Republic, our participants live full time with a host family (non-relatives) in a safe, clean and friendly environment. The host family will have at least one member who is the approximate age of our participant.
Birthright Macedonia offers its participants selected optional activities on the weekends during their stay in the Republic. Here is a sampling of the offered activities.
SKOPJE DAY is a full day of experiencing the sites, sounds and flavors of the nation’s capital. Our participants start with a visit to the Kale, a medieval 6th century fortress that offers a commanding view of the city’s major points of interest. Then they are bused to the base of Mount Vodno, where a cable car takes them to the top – exiting at the base of the Millennium Cross, one of the tallest man-made structures in Europe, which commemorated 2,000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ. From the top of Vodno, they witness a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of the city of Skopje below and the valleys in the distance. The day ends with a trip to Matka Canyon, where our participants walk along the stone walkway high above the canyon to a restaurant to enjoy a traditional Macedonian meal.
GALICNIK WEDDING FESTIVAL exposes our participants to the culture of the country and many of its centuries old traditions in this mountainous area of Macedonia. Starting on Saturday, they enjoy the music, food and cultural events that are prerequisite to the wedding ceremony. They dance in the streets, literally with the entire town, until the wee hours of the morning. On Sunday is the actual wedding ceremony for the preselected bride and groom. They attend a real wedding service along with hundreds of guests, visitors and townsfolk.
PIVOFEST in the city of Prilep is a relatively new event started in 2002 and has already become a tradition in Macedonia and throughout the Balkans. This festival brings together musicians, singers and entertainers – local and afar – to Prilep for four days of talent filled with rock and romp.
OHRID WEEKEND offers our participants two glorious days in the City of Ohrid on beautiful Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage for Cultural and Natural Site (one of only 28 sites so designated in the world). The Ohrid Summer Festival features national and international music and theatre artists and ensembles. Our participants stroll down the charming, winding and narrow streets, browse the chic boutiques and savor Macedonian cuisine at the many lakeside eateries. They visit the historic and natural attractions of the area and its many Churches. At one point in its history, Ohrid had 365 Churches – one for each day of the year.
Also, during their free time, our participants are able to visit relatives or travel to other areas of the Republic with one another and with members of their host family.
Come join us! Reconnect with your heritage or connect with it for the first time.
Establish lifetime friendships with other Macedonian youth from around the world and with native Macedonian youth.
Come home to Macedonia….the land of your forefathers.
The dates for the 2017 summer session of Birthright Macedonia are June 23 to July 14. The last date to apply is May 19.