"It takes a special set of circumstances and context to facilitate such possibilities; it takes people who are willing to not only voice their ideas, but to be receptive to the ideas of others."

What Education Means at YYGS
by Henry Saroyan
USA 
I had wondered for quite a while, prior to arriving to Yale’s campus, if I would truly feel comfortable and changed in my ephemeral residence at Jonathan Edwards.
It was an unnerving thought, really, the idea that I would never truly be able to connect with the international contingent of young scholars, all of whom talented and accomplished in their own respect. But more importantly, perhaps the more existential question that I could not answer was, “How would I change after two weeks of delving into politics, law, and economics?”
It would suffice to say that it only took the first day for my ambivalence towards this new experience to subside; walking back to my suite the first night, I knew I had been thrust into a life-changing experience. Barring any consideration of the world class lecture series that had been afforded to us, the extraordinary faculty who were there to not only teach but to nurture, or even the breathtakingly beautiful local color of New Haven proper, the true essentialism of YYGS’ unique experience was the students.
The open, inviting intellectualism created by this special group of some 200 odd students is truly the distinct characteristic that makes this program so remarkable.  We are living testaments to the notion that education at Yale is not reserved to the extravagant and hauntingly beautiful Sterling Library or its lofty lecture buildings, although these are necessary perks, but is accessible through a simple collegial discourse on the grass of JE.
At Yale Young Global Scholars, it only takes a group of loud, inquisitive teenagers to create an atmosphere that truly cries of knowledge. Every dinner, as I broke bread with friends (that I can truly bank on for a lifetime), it only took a few moments to create an engaging discourse; from Grexit to the electoral prospects of 2016 candidates, I found myself having the urge to openly discuss these topics at ease, unafraid of what people may think of my opinions or the simple fact of my having an opinion on worldly issues. It takes a special set of circumstances and context to facilitate such possibilities; it takes people who are willing to not only voice their ideas, but to be receptive to the ideas of others.
On that note, there’s a difference between reading about issues, conflicts which are the defining events of the contemporary world, and engaging those who are actually living through them. It’s one thing to have a certain opinion on the nature of Syrian Civil War, and it’s a totally other dimension listening to the stories of those affected by it. My time at Yale truly showed me the limitations of my knowledge, the inherent ignorance that underlies everyone’s limited perspectives; it did this by introducing me to a network of global scholars whose lives contain just as many lessons as a textbook or article can.
What happened these last two weeks I have still yet to fully reflect upon and understand. But what is blatantly obvious to me is that had I chosen not enter the gates of JE and accept it as my home, I would have certainly missed out on a transformational journey. And for that, I’m grateful.

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