Louiza final report

Looking Outward and Inward
Macedonia through EVS – Umut Blog
Looking Outward and Inward
Macedonia through EVS – Umut Blog

Zdravo!( Hello)  There is so much to share about my experience that I wouldn’t know where to begin. My internship in North Macedonia, in Bitola, was a personal and spiritual revelation.

Ajde, let’s go! I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Louiza, and I am 36 years old. I was born and raised in Paris, France, in an Algerian family, and I am proud of my origin, Da, Da (yes, yes). I had the opportunity during my Erasmus Plus project to join the SFERA International team for 4 months, which was too short for my taste but intense.

During these months spent in the organization, you can’t imagine how lucky I was to participate in several projects in different fields. Let me share this with you.

The first one is the Balkan Film Festival, which is just amazing! Imagine my excitement to take part in such a big project, to meet people from all over the Balkans, Greek, Albanian, Turkish, Kosovar, Serbian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, and of course us, Makedonski, Da Da I am makedonski. It’s an incredible discovery, but I think it’s a pity that it’s not promoted enough on an international scale.

The second one is the youth exchange program, Erasmus. Working with Macedonian youth was a real pleasure. I got to know a completely different generation from my country, but I’ll come back to that later. What you need to know about the Project Youth Exchange framework is that it takes you on a journey while you’re behind your laptop. After selecting the participants, they create an exchange group on Facebook to organize the departure and stay, and they exchange their impressions during the exchange. They share their experience with us through photos and videos, which allows us to keep in touch. The only problem is the organization of the journey, as there is only one international airport in the whole country, so it is sometimes difficult to organize simple and fast journeys.

The third one: upcycling! So NAZDRAJE Makedonia (long live North Macedonia) is, I think, the best project I had the chance to organize and supervise. This fabulous project was to create a relaxation area in a high school, as students had no place to take their break outside. Using pallets and recycled tires, some of which were donated by local businesses, we set up benches, tables, and pots for the trees in the courtyard.

Students, teachers, and the school’s director took part in the project with great seriousness and enthusiasm. It was at this moment that I became aware of the potential of the Macedonian youth. For most of them, I could see a real commitment in their desire to succeed and to do great things. They are invested in their studies, in the development and preservation of their environment, and in their country. I met young people with beautiful principles, family values, respect for the older ones, incredible generosity, and overflowing energy. The Macedonian youth has nothing to envy others, because their kindness flooded my heart.


The fourth one: SFERA International organizes events almost once a week on its premises. These include fun activities such as:

  • The painting workshop with the “Art Attack,”
  • The musical side of Karaoke night
  • Trainings to help young people build their futures (resumes, cover letters, etc.)
  • The intercultural night allows volunteers from other countries to present their country of origin and share their cuisine.


These are just a few examples, and I will leave it to you to discover via our social networks what we have achieved and what remains to be done.



The icing on the cake in all this is necessarily the team, without which nothing would have been possible. I wouldn’t have enough ink to write about the personalities of each of them. This is the first time I have worked in such a warm and caring environment. Listening, exchange, trust, and respect have been the keywords of my integration. Beyond the professional aspect, we were able to broaden our relationships because, without them, I am convinced that my stay would have been completely different. Imagine leaving your comfort zone, leaving your family, friends, and habits of your daily life, then finding the equivalent thanks to this great team.

Macedonia, how could you be bored here? It’s practically impossible.

Bitola, the love of my soul, If you like coffee, you’ve come to the right place. Shirok Sokak is the main street of the city center, and it’s lined with coffee shops, bars, and restaurants of all kinds. There is something for everyone. Personally, my HQ during all these months has been the Jagoda Meze Bar; you can eat well there, and their cakes are to die for, accompanied by a Salep, and that’s it. Then, if you want to eat traditional dishes such as tavche gravche, sopska salad, or melted cheese in a clay pot, I recommend Korzo, which is good value for money.

For beautiful hikes, there is the Pelister National Park, which is part of the three Macedonian National Parks created in 1948 and is the oldest of the three. The landscapes are beautiful. The site is very well maintained, and there is no great difficulty in climbing to the top of the mountain. It is also where you find the most famous ski slope in Bitola.

Bitola has been a haven of peace for me. It has a soothing climate. I lived there with a lot of calm and serenity, not to mention that it is really very safe. You feel safe there. The people are incredibly friendly and don’t hesitate to help if needed.

I also really liked the city of Ohrid. You can spend a whole day there and not get tired of the beauty of the lake with the swans and ducks on the water. There is also a magnificent monastery to visit and have a coffee break inside with an incredible view of the other side of the lake. Don’t hesitate to get lost in the sublimely paved street and climb to the top of the town to enjoy the view. an excellent destination for a day out with family, friends, or even lovers.

If you want to disconnect in the mountains, I recommend Krushevo, known for its mountain activities and hiking. The Panorama Hotel is just the thing for urban disconnection; located right on the heights of the city, you can combine sports activities and relaxation with the spa, which overlooks the city through the glass windows. A pleasure for the body and mind.


For those who like a more active lifestyle, there is Skopje, the beautiful capital. Between modernity and the old vestiges of the Ottoman Empire, no doubt you will find your account there. The shopping mall has a modern and sophisticated touch. The old bazaar and the old mosques will take you back to the Ottoman era. You will also find a more diverse cuisine than in the cities mentioned above, such as Turkish and Albanian. Skopje is ideal if you miss the big city.

For a relaxing break, not far from Bitola is Prilep, perfect for strolling around and enjoying the city center. The must-have is the bar restaurant, L’Aura, entirely vegetarian. Everything is delicious, from the dish to the dessert, without forgetting the cold or hot drinks. For the record, the owner of the restaurant has traveled extensively around the world to collect vegetarian recipes and then offer them in his establishment, so there is no doubt you will find happiness.


In summary, North Macedonia offered me many pleasant memories, unforgettable encounters, and soothing landscapes. I feel sorry to have to leave and leave behind this beautiful family. It is a pity that this side of the Balkans is not highlighted. There is a cultural richness and cohesion that is no longer found in some parts of Europe. a natural way of life most of the time and has a rare authenticity.

Thank you to my best team for all the love and time you gave me, for integrating me into your family, and for taking care of me as if I were your own. I will be back, thanks to you! FALA Macedonia.