"I was constantly surrounded by people who truly cared about the world and its issues."

2017 IAS
Yuna from California, USA


Before coming to Yale Young Global Scholars, I was a lot more nervous than I cared to admit at the time. I was worried that I wouldn’t connect with my roommates, that I wouldn’t be as passionate about the topics as other students were, and that I would fail to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But as I typically am when I try to predict the future, I was very, very wrong.

First,
about my suitemates. They are absolutely incredible. All five of us came to Yale from all around the globe, hailing from Los Angeles (me), San Francisco (Yolanda), Singapore (Gwen), China (Rain), and Saudi Arabia (Leena). What astonished me is how quickly all of us bonded with one another. After just a few hours, I felt as if I had known the other four for years and years (ironic considering how nervous I was about connecting with them). These four girls were my core group throughout my YYGS experience, and I will always cherish the nights we spent in our common room raving about our seminars, complaining about the crazy East Coast heat, having dance parties in our PJs, and sharing our wildest stories and our most ridiculous dreams with one another. These four girls have become my family.

Second,
about my seminars/classes/lectures. Phenomenal. YYGS is definitely the epitome of an intellectual experience. No matter what seminar, lecture, or dining hall table I was at, intellectual conversation dominated the scene. I was constantly surrounded by people who truly cared about the world and its issues, and I talked about various global affairs with every single person I met at YYGS without exception. It was quite the unforgettable academic journey. One thing I definitely wanted to mention was how much I adored my capstone group (shoutout to Rumbi, Tinda, and Maka!) and our topic. Studying women’s rights in South Sudan and Sierra Leone opened my eyes to endless opportunity to improve this world, and my capstone project has actually impacted my life outside of YYGS. In a nutshell, the endless hours we put in for the capstone project were so worth it.

So
worth
it.


Finally,
about making the most of YYGS. This, I feel I might have failed to do. I regret being afraid to talk to some students and counselors. I regret not asking more questions at lectures. I regret crashing in my room early at night after a long day of craze. But at the same time, “making the most” of YYGS is a difficult thing to do. I don’t regret exploring New Haven with my suitemates. I don’t regret our late night talks. I don’t regret our Rave Cave parties in the Saybrook basement. I don’t regret swinging on the bench with Leena every night. I don’t regret getting pizza and ice cream every day (okay, maybe I kind of regret that). But my point is, YYGS is what you choose to make it. The YYGS experience is completely different for every single person. And my experience wasn’t the same as anyone else’s, even if they were in IAS right beside me every day. That was a tough concept for me to swallow at first, but now I value my own unique experience at YYGS so dearly.

So,
thank you to YYGS IAS 2017. Thank you to all the unbelievably talented and lovable students I met at Yale. Thank you to YYGS faculty and staff who made this program what it is today. And cheers to all the beautiful, unforgettable memories that were made at YYGS!

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