"The friendships people make during this program are even more valuable when we consider the fact that many of these friendships become a starting point for many initiatives and projects."

2017 BBS
Milijan from Serbia

If someone had told me two years ago that I would go to Yale University and study about the things that I am passionate about, I would not have believed them. However, last year, I made a decision to apply for YYGS, and a couple of months after applying, I was there. This was the first time I had been in the U.S. and it was amazing. I clearly remember the day I came to Yale University, and how impressed I was with the architecture of the buildings around me. Even though I had travelled for 12 hours, and was so far away from my family and country, I still felt like I was at home. I instantly became friends with my suite-mates, and right at the beginning of this session, I knew that this was going to be an unforgettable adventure.

The environment at Yale University was full of people from different parts of the world. All of these people were here to do science, and all of them had amazing ideas and interests. That was the motivation for me to engage myself in science even more. I met some brilliant minds and became friends with them. The friendships people make during this program are even more valuable when we consider the fact that many of these friendships become a starting point for many initiatives and projects.

This program has taught me what the values of science really are and how to successfully do research. It is critical thinking that gives you the opportunity to question everything and get to the core of the problem, rather than learning facts by heart and memorizing things you can find on Google. This point of view was the key to doing research, and finding the solutions to the problems we worked on during our Capstone project and simulations, not to mention the amount of help we had from our instructors, who were always ready to engage in a scientific conversation, no matter how simple or complicated our questions were. Their selfless help was very important for us when we felt like we did not know what we were doing with our projects and felt lost.

In addition, I am beyond grateful that I got to learn about things I had not even known existed or areas of science that I was not familiar with. I felt the excitement only by reading the topics of the lectures and seminars every morning in my morning announcement. Everything we listened about was future-oriented, innovative and presented from a global perspective. That is why this program has the name “Yale Young Global Leaders.” It has motivated me to find problems that scientists have not solved yet and try to do my best in the future to make a scientific contribution. Moreover, our lecturers and seminar leaders have shown me the side of biology and biomedicine that I was not familiar with. By broadening my area of interest, I have become able to look at things from different angles. This was the moment when I truly learned what "interdisciplinary" is, and how important it is when it comes to science. Problems are much easier to solve if you have an open mind.

During these two weeks, I had a lot of fun. I will never forget going to Insomnia Cookies late at night with the instructors and friends, and eating a lot of ice cream before the walk to Walgreens, during which my friends and I had a lot of conversations about science and life in general, as well as the moments of joy while dancing to Lady Gaga and KPOP at the party the very last day of the program and seeing so many talented people at the talent show. I will cherish all of the memories I have from this program for the rest of my life because YYGS did not just change my way of thinking, but it truly made me a better person.

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