"One of the most special aspects of YYGS is that Yale undergraduate and graduate students teach all of the seminars. This presents a variety of uncomparable intellectual opportunities."

2017 PLE
Zoha from Washington, D.C.

On the first day of Yale Young Global Scholars, I walked into the Saybrook courtyard with a tight, nervous grip on my suitcase and fears swirling around in my mind. I did not know what to expect, and I was scared that I would not be able to engage in the academic discussions or create lasting friendships with my peers.

It did not take long for those fears to shatter.

The reason that YYGS is such a profound, exciting, and engaging program-- and the reason why it is the most memorable two weeks of my life-- is because of the students. Each student that I met was not only intellectually curious and had their own worldview, but was also passionate about learning from others’ different perspectives and experiences. Because of this willingness to expand our knowledge, meaningful conversations and debates were always taking place, sparking unexpected friendships and connections. Looking back, my most memorable YYGS experiences came from interactions with my peers that happened outside of the lectures and seminars-- whether it was a conversation in the dining hall, or a late night chat with my suitemates, or sprinting to Watson in order to arrive just on time for Capstone (the struggle is real).

As much as the students make the YYGS experience memorable, so do the teachers. One of the most special aspects of YYGS is that Yale undergraduate and graduate students teach all of the seminars. This presents a variety of uncomparable intellectual opportunities. First, you are able to learn about and expose yourself to a multitude of diverse topics-- from how music enables political engagement to how drug cartels work like fast food franchises. Then, you are able to engage in debates and discussions with PhD students whose expertise and years of research are in those fields, making the learning experience more personal and engaging. Taking it a step further, a collaborative Capstone project presents the opportunity to work with these Yale students on a more personal level, honing your research, analytic, critical thinking, and presentation skills.

Finally, attending lectures given by internationally acclaimed and immensely experienced Yale professors was unlike any other classroom experience that I have had. My most memorable lectures were from Professors Harold Koh, Emma Sky, and Akhil Reed Amar, as they were engaging, controversial, thought provoking, and-- most important-- stimulated important conversations amongst us students. Although I may forget the facts and the figures that I learned from these lectures, I will always remember the core values and teachings that each professor instilled in us.

On the last day of YYGS, I walked out of Saybrook courtyard with a heart full of memories and a mind reeling with new lessons and calls to action. My experiences at YYGS-- from the academic discussions to the lifelong friendships I created-- shaped me as a student, friend, leader, and person.

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