March 27, 2024

Embark on A Journey to Your Albanian Roots with OriginAL: Applications are now OPEN!

Are you a young individual of Albanian origin, aged 18 to 24, looking to explore your cultural roots and connect with your heritage? The OriginAL program offers an extraordinary educational and cultural journey designed to deepen your understanding of Albania’s rich history and traditions. With a focus on connecting young Albanians from the diaspora with their homeland and peers, OriginAL promises an unforgettable 2 week trip that is both enlightening and enriching.

What Does the OriginAL Trip Include?

The OriginAL program meticulously plans visits to over 13 handpicked cities across Kosova and Albania and now, excitingly, North Macedonia. Each city is chosen for its significant historical, cultural, and heritage value. But what truly makes this trip special? Here’s what’s included:

  • Cultural Immersion: Explore cities teeming with history, culture, and Albanian heritage, offering a firsthand experience of the country’s rich traditions.
  • A FREE Trip: From transportation during the program to two daily meals, accommodation, and all organized activities and tours, everything is taken care of.
  • Educational Activities: Enjoy guided tours, museum tickets, and a variety of cultural activities designed to educate and inspire. 

Expanding Horizons

In an exciting development for 2024, the OriginAL program is expanding its itinerary to include North Macedonia. The expansion of the OriginAL program to include North Macedonia reflects a commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and cross-cultural exchange. By bridging geographical and cultural divides, the program empowers young Albanians of the diaspora to embrace their heritage, celebrate their identity, and contribute to a more interconnected global community.

Testimonials That Speak Volumes

Participants from previous cohorts have described the OriginAL program as a transformative experience.

Vasiliki Kontouri was among the 30 participants who participated in OriginAL in November 2023. Having had an amazing experience, she calls the program original, just like its name. Vasiliki encourages all young Albanians in the diaspora to apply for OriginAL 2024 and join in on the adventure. 

“For me, the OriginAL program is exactly what the name implies. Original. Such a special and unique experience that has filled me with memories, feelings, and emotions that I cannot put into words. Within 2 weeks, I was given the opportunity to touch history, sights, tastes, and traditions up close, and it brought me closer to my origin, but above all, through OriginAL, I met wonderful people that I can call my friends, and I am very lucky, and I will always have you in my heart. “

If Endrit Ipekli had to sum up his experience in one word, it would be enchanting. 

“Every person had a story to tell, and the atmosphere was one of genuine warmth. It was heartening to witness everyone extending a helping hand, whether it was with the language, teaching them the unknown history, or simply embracing the culture.”

The experience was unforgettable for Stella Mishi, mainly due to the fact that this experience has encouraged her to speak Albanian more.

“Each of us had different accents and dialogues, and I understood that this was the beauty of it. We all expressed ourselves with our own way of speaking. We always understood each other and, in my opinion, also pushed each other to speak and practice it more. “

Inspired by his sister’s participation during the first cohort of OriginAL, Kutay Yapici applied to be part of the program’s third cohort. Kutay’s grandparents emigrated from Albania to Turkey decades ago and he has never experienced Albanian culture this close.

“The Albanian music and dances were very beautiful.”

Because she had always longed to have a deeper connection with her roots, Zana Simnica applied to OriginAL to get to know her heritage.

“Growing up I never had Albanian friends, and the only exposure to Albanian culture and language I had was when I was with my family. As I got older, I started to notice that I was missing Albanian relationships outside of my family, as well as a regret of mine to not have been more involved in learning and embracing Albanian culture when I was younger. I applied to OriginAL because I believed it would help me achieve these two things.”

Florent Sahiti suggests that OriginAL is an opportunity to seize and make the most of it. 

“Such programs often involve learning about the history, traditions, and culture of the heritage in question. Connecting with others who share the same heritage can create a sense of belonging and emotional connection. This can be especially important for people who may have grown up in a different cultural environment. Visiting the homeland or regions associated with our heritage can be a powerful experience. It allows us to see the places their ancestors came from, which can enhance their connection to our heritage.”

Why Apply for OriginAL 2024?

The OriginAL program is more than just a trip; it’s an opportunity to discover your identity, learn about your heritage, and connect with like-minded individuals. It’s an adventure that promises memories, emotions, and experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.

If you’re ready to embark on this unique journey and explore the depths of your Albanian roots, we invite you to apply for the OriginAL 2024 program. Remember, the deadline for applications is April 1st, so don’t miss your chance to be part of this incredible experience. To apply or learn more about the OriginAL program, visit

Get ready! / Bëhuni gati!

Application will open on May 25th, 2022.

Aplikimi hapet më datë 25 Maj, 2022.