"I guess what I’m trying to say is that beyond the auditorium lectures and late-night readings, there’s more than you will expect to find. Don’t look for the more for it will come to you inherently. Just embrace with open arms."

Beyond Davies’ lectures: oh young one, tread carefully.

Now that you’ve heard all about the academic, and mentally-challenging, mind-boggling, miraculously maturing Yale Young Global Scholars Program, tell me this, you didn’t fall for it, did you? I mean, if you did, there’s no blame on you—the intellectual avenues in the relentlessly inspirational location that is Yale do instantly mesmerize your senses. And it’s all true. Oh yes, the notion that you get to challenge Professors (like John Gaddis) that set international law on its get going and ask questions the redefine the subject’s boundaries is a realistic notion indeed. It’s also true what they say about two weeks of residence in an intellectual haven and a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. What lies at the crux is internationality, and in no time, you feel familiar to places you never knew existed (too much?) It happened to me, and believe the font on this screen when I say this, YOU CAN NEVER KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE WORLD.

Let’s step back, however, because the educational merits of Yale Young Global Scholars are not to be questioned: they’re guaranteed the way they are portrayed. What I really want you to zero in on are the ‘other’ *ahem* *cough cough* *ahem*fleeting moments of bliss that Yale Young Global Scholars gives you. It’s nothing fishy really. No matter who you are and where you come from, you go in with all these big complex dilemmas, and leave your residential college at Yale with moist eyes, sorted dilemmas, and my personal favorite part… nationality-specific jokes!

Don’t worry, I shall be specific.

On my first Friday at Pierson (undoubtedly the best residential college, says my Pierson lapel-pin wearing self), I witnessed the Shabbat, and joked around with my Jewish friends from Tel Aviv (and New York) to lend me their fortunes when I fall short on money— networking is key. The joke led to a highly contested discussion on the merits of being rich, and Gordon (our rich Yankie friend) remarked that the greatest was having the ability to eat pizza whenever one wanted to. “With great money, comes great pizza,” I related (just had to). The next thing you know, and Gordon’s treating ‘fam’ at the Pizza joint that is literally just steps away.

A bit about the food joints: there’s ice-cream (succulent heaven), there’s Belgian waffles (harmony personified via syrup and dough), there’s an Indian restaurant behind the Yale Book Store (best combination and heart strings pulled), there’s good coffee (stress on the “good”), there’s pizza (need I say more, oh young one), and, let me just top it off by saying that there’s Shake Shack. Now the latter might have you swaying in excitement, but Yale Young Global Scholars is where you learn to take control of your desires. This is the point when I reveal to you that the last place in the aforesaid list is most likely going to be out of bounds for you. Fear not yet, since where there is a will, there is way; you’ll learn coaxing along your way just for a sniff of the freshness at Shake Shack. Just make sure you are on good terms with your family instructor.

I digressed, again. Let me try and wrap it up briefly— this is an understatement.

So, queue the randomness. Expect yourself to slowly gaining the urge of asking your Australian friend to ‘make the accent’. Remember not to sleep in the lectures, not only because of the content you will miss, but also because you do not want to be protagonist of a meme that reads: “today’s sleeper caught!” Playing ‘fish’ is not ‘cool’ when an officer of the United States Military is advising you on how to join the ranks. Lest, if you’re like me and midway through the venerable Lieutenant’s lecture you find out that internationals cannot enlist in United States Military, just try not catch attention for something you normally wouldn’t do (or would; you get the point). Oh, and do jam. Let me put this more formally: if you think you have a workable sense of music, do not forget to bring your portable speakers to test that conclusion. I did, and it’s a different feeling to have your choice of music praised. It’s surreal.

And infused in all the fun will be self-reflection and worldly contemplation that will live inside you long after. For instance, this one time I saw my Palestinian acquaintance Elyaa roam around with Israeli Natalya hand in hand, and wondered when adults of their nations would imitate such innocence. Would the adults need to eat ice-cream cones together too, I thought?

Forgive me for this was supposed to be a narrative but baked out with a lot of advisory.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that beyond the auditorium lectures and late-night readings, there’s more than you will expect to find. Don’t look for the more for it will come to you inherently. Just embrace with open arms.

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