"Thanks to this experience, I now feel more certain about what I want to study in college and possibly work with in the future."

2017 IAS
Lucas from Brazil

The two weeks I spent at Yale last summer were like a whirlwind.

So much would happen in a day or even over the course of a couple of hours that I couldn’t immediately understand the impact that everything I was going through would have on me. Coming from a country where the educational system is not particularly concerned with intellectual curiosity and initiative, participating in lectures, discussion sections, seminars, and the Capstone project was honestly life-changing to me. For the first time, my education was not being guided only by what I could blindly memorize for a test.

What mattered at YYGS were the questions I could ask and the arguments I could build. By questioning what I was learning and raising my hand to say my thoughts on something, I realized that my drive and passion for politics and international affairs were a greater part of me than I had ever thought. Thanks to this experience, I now feel more certain about what I want to study in college and possibly work with in the future. Beyond that, participating in the program gave me a sense of involvement that I had never felt before - the topics we were discussing no longer felt distant from my reality, like they usually do in my high school classes.

Instead, I began to see patterns in my everyday life and I understood that I could actually be an active part of what I was studying. Furthermore, during capstone, the research skills and mindset we learned were invaluable to me. I started applying such skills in my daily activities and saw how much they can help me achieve a more in-depth knowledge on the things I set out to study. Having to research a topic we chose was also a great learning experience for me, since there was no script: we were pretty much free to turn our project into what we wanted it to be. This freedom also taught me how to be more responsible with my personal projects.

The greatest thing I took away from YYGS, however, were definitely the friendships I made. Meeting so many extraordinary people from all over the world and connecting to them despite our differences was incredible. We could be laughing one second, and the next discussing important matters during our seminars. I’m certain that I’ll remember those people for the rest of my life.

Now I know what those fast paced two weeks at Yale actually meant to me: they allowed me to see for the first time who I really was as an individual. Away from my school, my home, my friends, and everything I knew, I got to know myself better - and I’m sure I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

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