Rediscover your Macedonian heritage, or discover it for the first time. Come with a friend or come alone and leave with friends. Visit Macedonia, the land of your ancestors.
BIRTHRIGHT MACEDONIA offers Macedonian youth from around the world the opportunity to proudly declare their Macedonian identity and assert their Macedonian Heritage. Through its hands-on, life changing experience, Birthright Macedonia allows its participants to become fully immersed in their ancestral homeland by experiencing many facets of the fabric of Macedonia and its people.
Birthright Macedonia was conceived and developed by UMD Advisory Council member Peter Dallas, a first-generation American of Macedonian Heritage. He was concerned about the decline of the connections of Macedonians to their ancestral roots, particularly among first, second, and third generation Macedonians in the Diaspora. Concerned with the growing assimilation of overseas Macedonians into other cultures and intermarriage with non-Macedonians, Dallas was determined to do something to help Macedonians abroad maintain their connection to the homeland.
The result is Birthright Macedonia, a fully integrated program of the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) headquartered in Washington, D.C. and its partnership organization, the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) in Skopje.
An unforgettable, life-changing summer built for any generation Macedonian.
- To strengthen the ties between Macedonians living in the Diaspora with the people of Macedonia.
- To offer Diasporan Macedonians the opportunity to experience the daily life of the Republic and to achieve a better understanding of the economic, cultural, political and social issues of the country.
- To encourage Diasporan Macedonians to contribute to the development of Macedonia by sharing their knowledge and life experiences with native Macedonians through volunteer work internship programs.
- To develop contacts and friendships with native Macedonians and with Diasporan Macedonians that will last a lifetime.
- To foster and promote Macedonian causes throughout the world.
Program participants will spend 3 weeks in the summer (June 29 – July 20, 2018) — known as the Summer Session — in Macedonia. Participants who wish to remain beyond the Summer Session 2018, may do so at their discretion.
Participants need to be at least 18 years of age. You must be 18 years old on the first day of the Birthright Macedonia Summer Session.
Participants will be housed with Macedonian Host Families. A Host Family will provide room and board for the participant.
Summer Session 2018 will take place in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, and in Bitola.
As a participant, you are assigned a pre-designated Internship work program that complements your academic and career goals or general interests. Your summer experience with Birthright Macedonia could earn you undergraduate college credit subject to your college or university requirements.
During non-work hours and weekends, participants will have opportunities to meet, interact and socialize with one another, with local Macedonian youth and adults, and become immersed in all aspects of their assigned location.
You have the option to participate in three, very special HERITAGE WEEKENDS to discover the cultural, historical and natural aspects of the Republic.
There is an Application Fee of $750 (or appropriate equivalent currency) if paid on or before April 27, 2018. If paid on April 28, 2018 or later, the Application Fee is $850.
- You can pay the Application Fee online.
Because participation in Birthright Macedonia is limited, applications will be processed on a first come basis. The last day applications will be accepted is May 18, 2018.
A Birthright Macedonia Summer Session consists of 3 full weeks in Macedonia (June 29-July 20, 2018). The following is a brief overview of a typical summer session.
Arrive in Skopje. Register at the hotel designated for overseas participants. Pick up your information packet. Use your free time to recover from jet lag, relax, browse the shops, stroll the bazaars and discover the attractions and excitement that Skopje offers.
Enjoy the opening ceremonies for Birthright Macedonia. Meet your fellow participants and staff members. Depart and meet your Host Family.
Visit the site of your internship and meet your fellow Macedonian co-workers. Become acclimated with your work environment and begin work in your chosen field.
Become immersed in your internship activities. Share your knowledge and experiences with native Macedonians and your fellow overseas Macedonians. After work hours and on weekends, enjoy free time, unless there is a scheduled Birthright Macedonia function to attend.
Leave your Host Family. Participate in the closing ceremonies of Birthright Macedonia. Then say farewell to your fellow overseas Birthright Macedonia participants and staff members.
Depart Skopje and head for home, or remain in Macedonia.
Internships and Free Time
An important part of your participation in Birthright Macedonia is the opportunity to work in an internship that is consistent with your academic, work or general interests.
During the internship, you will work alongside native Macedonians, and perhaps other overseas participants who have similar interests as you. The program gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the work and aspirations of the Macedonian people. In addition to gaining hands-on experience in your work, you will experience and become part of the social and economic fabric of everyday Macedonia.
At the conclusion of your internship, you will receive a Certificate of Completion, which will acknowledge your effort and your contribution to the people of Macedonia. You may find this Certificate to be a useful component to your academic or work resumes.
You may be able to receive college credit for your participation in Birthright Macedonia. Check with your college or university.
Free time during a Summer Session can be as varied as you wish to make it. Spend your free time in the myriad of opportunities Macedonia offers you.
You have the option to participate in three, very special HERITAGE WEEKENDS to discover the cultural, historical and natural aspects of the Republic.
- Interact and socialize with your Host Family members and with your colleagues from your internship program.
- Attend one of several optional special heritage weekend activities offered by Birthright Macedonia.
- Socialize with fellow overseas participants and with native youth.
- Visit family members you may have living in Macedonia.
- Visit the historical and natural sites of Macedonia.
- Enjoy the friendliness of the Macedonian people and the beauty of the country.
Costs and Accommodation
Overseas participants will stay with a Host Family. This way you can enjoy your home away from home, with an abundance of Macedonian hospitality.
You will be responsible for the cost of accommodations and meals outside the home of your Host Family.
The overseas participant will be responsible for the following expenses:
- Application Fee (or appropriate equivalent currency) is payable when you submit your Application. The Application Fee is $750 if paid on or before April 27, 2018. If paid after April 28, 2018, the Application Fee is $860.
- The fee is not refundable if you are accepted to participate in the program. If you are not accepted, you will receive a refund. You can pay the Application fee by clicking HERE.
- Round trip flight to Macedonia.
- Passport and visa expenses (if applicable).
- Medical/accident/travel insurance.
- Meals and hotel accommodations on first day and the last day of your stay in Macedonia. Hotel accommodations will be arranged at group rates.
- Travel and related costs in Macedonia during free time.
- Food and related costs during free time. Depending on the work schedule of your internship, you may need to buy some meals.
- Personal and miscellaneous items.
Because participation in Birthright Macedonia is limited, applications will be processed on a first come basis. Please submit your application form no later than May 18, 2018.
Before applying, please read the Terms and Conditions.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What is Birthright Macedonia?
Birthright Macedonia is a unique program, administered by the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) together with its partner in Macedonia, the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC), for Macedonian youth from around the world to gather in our ancient homeland for three weeks during the summer (called a Summer Session).
As a participant, you will be engaged in an internship work program, which you may use in your college or employment resumes. You will choose a work activity in a field that is of interest to you or compatible with your academic or work goals. You will live with a Macedonian Host Family during your stay in Macedonia.
Where does BIRTHRIGHT MACEDONIA take place?
The Birthright Macedonia summer session for 2018 will be held in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, and Bitola.
How long is the Summer Session and when does it start?
The session is 22 days long. Starting date is June 29, 2018 and ending date is July 20, 2018.
What ages are eligible to participate?
18 years or older.
Do I have to be of Macedonian ancestry for me to attend?
Yes, anyone of ancestry from Macedonia can attend.
Do I need to speak Macedonian?
No, you do not need to speak the Macedonian language. But of course, during your stay in Macedonia you will be exposed to the language as well as Macedonia’s rich cultural heritage.
Can I visit relatives and friends in Macedonia during the Summer Session? Can my relatives and friends visit me?
Yes. This can be done during free time in the evenings and on weekends but not during work sessions of your internship or during scheduled activities.
Can I live with my relatives in Macedonia during the Summer Session?
We prefer if your stay in Macedonia is independent of family relationships, so that you will have maximum exposure to the Macedonian culture and people. When that is not possible, you may live with relatives provided, they are within the city limits of Skopje.
Do I have to attend all internship related work and other scheduled activities?
Yes. Birthright Macedonia bears the cost to administer all aspects of the Summer Session and you are expected to fulfill your internship and attend all scheduled functions. The only exception would be made in case of illness or hospitalization during your Session.
I may want to stay in Macedonia more than three weeks. Can I arrive in Macedonia earlier than the Summer Session start date and leave after the end date?
Yes, absolutely. All associated costs for an early arrival and later departure will be yours. Please arrange your travel schedule accordingly.
Is there a limit to the number of times I can participate in the Birthright Macedonia program?
Yes. Because participation is limited, we want to offer the opportunity to experience Birthright Macedonia to all first time applicants.
Can I volunteer to help with Birthright Macedonia when I return home?
Absolutely. As a member of Birthright Macedonia’s alumni group, your assistance would be welcomed in promoting the program to other young adults in your home community. As the alumni group grows in your locale, you will be invited to participate in activities that support Macedonian causes.
What if I get sick or injured during the Summer Session?
Seek medical care immediately. Then, as soon as possible, contact the Birthright Macedonia point of contact provided to you once accepted to the program with full details. Also, you must notify your Host Family. Birthright Macedonia will notify your parents or guardian if you are unable to do so.
Please note you must provide proof of adequate medical insurance to be accepted into a Summer Session.
We recommend you purchase travel insurance in addition to the medical insurance you are required to have. This travel insurance should cover flight delays or cancellations as well as personal property theft, loss and/or damage.
What should I bring with me to Macedonia?
Please limit yourself to the essentials and pack lightly. You are typically only allowed one suitcase and one small carry-on bag on your flight. Check with your airline for luggage weight and size regulations. You might want to use a backpack as a carry-on bag, so that you can use it when traveling in Macedonia.
Important items to bring include: Your passport; any medication (and prescriptions) you will need, and all flight information for your round-trip journey.
Do I need spending money? How much should I bring?
Yes. Bring enough spending money to cover the extent of activities and travel you wish to do during free time. You are responsible for the cost of any free time activities you wish to engage in, such as travel or any activities not sponsored by Birthright Macedonia.
Since you will live with a Host Family, your basic housing and food will be provided. However, depending on your internship, you may be responsible for providing the cost of certain meals during the workweek. For example, this may include the cost of your dinner if you are working evening hours on your internship assignment and cannot have dinner with your Host Family.
Is there an enrolment or application fee of any kind?
Yes. There is an Application Fee of $750 (or appropriate equivalent currency) if paid on or before April 27, 2018. If paid on April 28, 2018 or later, the Application Fee is $850.
Click HERE to process your Application fee.
What are some important dates I must remember?
- April 27, 2018: The last day that the Application Fee of $750 will be accepted.
- April 28, 2018: The Application Fee increases to $850.
- May 18, 2018: The last day to apply for Birthright Macedonia and submit your application fee. Also, you must submit proof of sufficient medical insurance coverage no later than May 18, 2018.
Enrollment in Birthright Macedonia is limited and all applications will be processed on a first come basis.
Things to consider while packing and preparing for your trip to Macedonia.
Clothing to bring:
- Short-sleeved shirts or T shirts
- Jeans / pants / sweats
- Sweater or jacket (rainproof is ideal)
- Bathing suit
- Underwear, socks, handkerchiefs
- Sneakers/comfortable shoes
- Wristwatch and alarm clock
- Shower footwear (flip-flops)
Miscellaneous items to bring:
- Passport (see comments below)
- All medicines (including copies of prescriptions)
- Canteen/water bottle
- Prescription glasses/contact lenses and related supplies
- Cash/ATM card/credit card
- Adapter for electrical appliances
- Suitcase lock
- Books/reading material
- Camera, charger/batteries
- Journal/address book
- Mini flashlight or penlight
- Plastic bags for wet or dirty clothes
- Toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, etc.)
- Umbrella (small)
- If you can’t lift your suitcase yourself, then you probably over-packed.
- Remember to leave space in your suitcase for gifts and souvenirs.
- You will be responsible for packing and moving your own bags during your stay in
- Don’t panic if you forget something. You can always buy it in Macedonia.
Passport and other information:
You must have a passport. You cannot travel to Macedonia without one. You should check with your closest Macedonian consulate or embassy to determine if you need a visa to enter Macedonia.
If you do not already have a passport, you should begin obtaining a passport as soon as possible. You will be required to provide your passport number on your application.
You are required to register with the Macedonian police within 24 hours of your arrival.
Currency and money:
The currency in Macedonia is Denar. You can bring your money to Macedonia in one of several ways:
- Bring cash and convert it to denars as soon as you arrive. You will likely get better conversion rates from a bank rather than from a currency converter.
- Use credit/debit cards for purchases and to obtain denars from ATM machines or at banks. ATMs can be found at the airport and in the larger cities and towns. Check with your bank to be sure you will have access to ATMs while abroad. We recommend you bring a backup card just in case some ATM networks are more widely covered than others. Should you lose your credit/debit cards, please contact your bank immediately.
Generation M is the United Macedonian Diaspora’s next generation program educating, empowering, and uniting Macedonian youth around the globe.
Our goal is to invest heavily in our Diaspora’s human resources, educating our communities and inspiring our youth to remain committed to their heritage, meet their civic responsibilities, and explore careers in public policy, government and media, among others.
UMD maintains a database of Macedonians who attend college or university outside Macedonia. To help us maintain a more comprehensive list, please fill out the form below and we will contact you on ways to get involved.
The UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Program provides merit-based scholarships for young and promising students in the Macedonian Diaspora pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies in the U.S., Australia, Canada, or Europe. In 2010, the scholarship was named after John L. N. Bitove, C.M. – a prominent businessman, member of the Order of Canada, staunch philanthropist, and a long time supporter, activist and pillar within the Macedonian Community.
UMD will award up to four scholarships annually, two in the amount of $2,000 each and two in the amount of $1,500 each for full-time undergraduate and graduate students at an accredited American, Australian, Canadian, or European college or university.
For more information on the scholarship criteria and how to apply, email us at [email protected]spora.org.
I was honored to be one of the recipients of the UMD Macedonian Heritage Scholarship. Thank you for supporting Macedonians in the diaspora in achieving their academic aspirations.
The UMD offers internships throughout the year at its office in Washington, D.C. The internship program is designed for undergraduate and graduate students interested in Macedonia and Southeast Europe. The internship can serve as an effective means to introduce and advance a future career in foreign policy, journalism, public relations, human rights, advocacy, government, or the non-profit sector.
UMD opened my eyes into the world of diplomacy, giving me an inspiring and hands-on experience I will never forget. It taught me the power of persistence, passion and patience – Meto’s three Ps!
Each year, UMD, and its young leaders program, Generation M, host the Macedonian-American Leadership Conference (MALC) and Canadian-Macedonian Leadership Conference (CMLC).
Dozens of Macedonian leaders from various Macedonian cultural, business, and faith-based organizations attend the conferences. An emphasis is placed on passing the torch to our young leaders and equipping them with the necessary skills to tackle challenges and opportunities our community faces.
The UMD is looking for 40 Macedonian rising stars in their field of expertise within each region of the diaspora – U.S./Canada/North and South America, Europe/Africa and Australia/New Zealand/Asia. This initiative is built to celebrate and promote the leaders that have excelled and endorse them as role models for our communities.
**Macedonian or of Macedonian Ancestry
Who is the UMD looking for?
Macedonians that have demonstrated leadership. Initiative and dedication to their careers in the fields of: technology, business, real estate, healthcare, finance, teaching, arts, law, government, etc., and have achieved that success before the age of 40. Click HERE to see the 2014 Macedonian Diaspora’s 40 under 40 list and HERE for 2015 list.
Who is eligible?
Any Macedonian living in the diaspora – U.S./Canada/North and South America, Europe/Africa and Australia/New Zealand/Asia who are under the age of 40 by November 11, 2016.
How do I nominate myself or someone?
Complete and submit the online nomination form below.
When is the deadline?
November 11, 2016
When does the UMD 40 Under 40 feature publish?
Winners will begin being featured in November and December of 2016.