" It makes us reconsider some of our more provincial outlooks, and feeds those small, idealistic voices within us that truly believe in world peace, in humanity’s capacity to compromise."

Hanci Lei
California

It’s been over 3 months since Yale Young Global Scholars ended, and I think I am just beginning to grasp the importance of the program.

As a veteran of precollege summer programs, I thought I knew what to expect when I first stepped into Pierson’s yard: some educational material along with a lot of “social events” that don’t have that much significance. But, as it turns out, YYGS is not most summer programs.

Politics, Law, and Economics: those three things run our world, yet so few people are willing to engage in meaningful, intellectual conversations about such subjects. One of my newfound friends at YYGS put the program’s environment best in the title of his speech: Discussion, not Debate.

Each Yale Young Global Scholar comes from a unique culture and unique background, be it East or West, New Delhi or New York. But these differences in condition meant nothing at the program. We contributed our unique narratives to the YYGS community just as our time at Yale contributed to our lives. These narratives did not clash, nor did they homogenize. They simply coexisted in Pierson College, talking about things like the upcoming Brexit vote and Ted Wittenstein’s recent lecture about Presidential War Powers.

I talked with individuals from the other side of the world, people from the other side of the political spectrum, and students with all kinds of stories, both good and bad, all in the span of two weeks. We didn’t argue (save for when Copa América games were on); we discussed our ideas constantly, always excited to find out some new thing about each other during family time, or learn some new tidbit about British politics during Capstone projects.

Coming from a town that was ethnically diverse but was in many ways intellectually homogenous, I did find it hard sometimes to keep an open mind. But I think that is the beauty of YYGS; it challenges us intellectually as we learn about everything ranging from microfinance to kale, and dares us to evaluate ourselves personally as we are thrust into a microcosm of the global community. It makes us reconsider some of our more provincial outlooks, and feeds those small, idealistic voices within us that truly believe in world peace, in humanity’s capacity to compromise.

As I write this blog post, I live in an America polarized by politics and a world divided by nationalism and refusal to negotiate. However, as I look back on the people I met at YYGS and the friendships I made with those who live thousands of miles away, I have faith in the future. I can’t wait to see what YYGS alumni have to offer to the world.

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