"YYGS encourages a thinking culture where everyone is there to enhance the experiences of others."

BBS 2016
Nicole To

Before I came to YYGS, I had some insecurities. Enduring a 30-hour plane ride from Melbourne Airport to JFK International Airport all by myself was not what I had in mind as “ideal”. I remember sitting in the limo from JFK to Jonathan Edwards College, with a mix of emotions sitting heavily on my shoulders: a bit of nervousness, a bit of excitement and a lot of questions circling in my mind. Would this program be worth it? Would everyone be too academically driven and thus unable to socialize? Would I belong? Could two weeks even amount to anything? If I can teleport back to that moment, I would confidently reassure myself that those insecurities are absolutely unnecessary and that the two weeks that were to follow were going to be the best moments of my life.

Every day opened a new opportunity to learn. Whether it was through the knowledge-infused lectures, engaging in the active debates in the uniquely designed seminars, dining with the lecturers and students or through interacting with the surrounding Yale Scholars, the knowledge gained and the memories built were rewarding and unforgettable. Through the lectures and the seminars, I was able to explore many of my scientific endeavors and discover many new scientific interests. YYGS values diversity, which is evidenced through the different fields of science seminars they offer; the vast range of which is unimaginable. YYGS encourages a thinking culture where everyone is there to enhance the experiences of others. Yale taught me many lessons, in addition to the academic knowledge, it taught me that the most important skill as a scientist is to be curious. This has been an important concept I have adopted in me.

It was a unique experience to travel to America, a foreign place to my usual Australian environment. Through YYGS, I was able to challenge myself in training my independence. It was fascinating to experience life as a university student and having so much freedom in choice: where to go, how you spend your money, how to spend your time, arriving promptly to discussions, etc. This is not something I could have done in my familiar Australian environment.

One of the most rewarding factors of YYGS were the people I was able to interact with. Yale places me in a close network of like-minded people who are passionate in making an impact on the ever-changing science society. The people were from all over the world and with a love for biological and biomedical sciences— just like me. It was fascinating listening to all the stories of my friends and listening to their different views. Even on my last day at Yale, I was still meeting new people and gaining new perspectives. Meeting people came so naturally as the people were as eager to meet you as you are to meet them. Whether it was through the seminars, the lectures, walking over to the Yale lecture hall or your allocated discussion/seminar rooms together, exploring the beautiful summer campus or spending meal times together, inspiring and talented individuals can be found everywhere. Everyone had their own stories, which were incredibly unique. It was such an extraordinary experience knowing and becoming friends with them.

The memories I had built, the friendships I had made and the knowledge I had gained would stay with me throughout my lifetime. It has been such a life-changing experience and I would not hesitate in recommending it to others.

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