"I learned that we are too young to have boundaries placed between us because of our diversity. We share great things in common."
Reem from Egypt
Hi! My name is Reem. I am from Egypt and currently residing in Saudi Arabia. This summer, I had the great opportunity of attending the Yale Young Global Scholars program, and I have to say that I would never regret for a moment applying to the program, because this summer was the most enjoyable one I ever had! I had a challenging, mind-opening, and most importantly, fun experience! I know how much information about YYGS one can find on the internet, but there was one thing that activated “frenzied Reem” who counted down to application opening day 9 months in advance: the glow of happiness on the faces of my friends who had just returned from YYGS at the time last summer. Last year, two of my friends attended YYGS. The first day they came back to school, they could not stop talking about their experience there. I remember how one of them brought her Yale wallet, Yale hoodie, Yale water bottle, and Yale keychains to school every single day! She seemed as though she had experienced something life - changing! The more I heard from them, the more I realized that YYGS was the right program for me. Rewind to the year before the last, the year when I felt depressingly isolated and desperately in need of meeting new people and experiencing something new. I searched tirelessly for summer programs to attend, for something new to learn, but it was all in vain until I stumbled upon YYGS. All the other programs’ fees were way beyond my financial ability, and I grew depressed and frustrated. When I learned about YYGS last year, the application deadline had passed a month ago. It was very hard for me to cope that year, but I still counted down to the next application opening. I promised myself to not let myself down. I worked the hardest I could on my application months in advance. I cried when I got my scholarship and acceptance letter. My parents knew how much I had wanted this. And I knew I was going to have a terrific summer in three months!
Moving on to the actual experience, I have to say that YYGS was not only an academic program. To me, it was much more than that— a self-development program, I’d say. There, I met people from all over the world. Living in a country where the lifestyle is forcedly conservative and extremely restricted, I grew up viewing the world from a tiny hole. Although my parents engraved open-mindedness in my siblings and me, it is something very hard to practice when you live in such a conservative community. YYGS gave me the chance to unleash my true character. I had the chance to contemplate the meaning of differences among us. I learned to remain quiet and deeply think while listening to the other point of view before giving mine. My whole life, I have been brainwashed into firmly defending my ingratiated opinion without thinking. But at YYGS, through daily conversations with different minds, I came to realize that I had never really contemplated many of my ideas. “Maybe I am not always right; I need to listen,” I would say to myself every time someone discussed a controversial issue.
My most memorable moment from YYGS was the start of simulation. I love hands-on work. For some reason, I felt true responsibility when provided a disease outbreak crisis to control. I felt like an actual scientist! I still remember the rush of happiness and butterflies I got reading the first few words of the crisis scenario. My face suddenly turned very serious! “I have to do something!” I thought.
During YYGS, I made an amazing, extremely unique group of friends. Surprisingly, we turned out to be from countries in extreme conflict with each other! “These people are amazing,” I said to myself, “why the stigma?” The amazing girl from Israel I luckily laughed with every night about the silly jokes we shared is now my best friend, and the hilarious guy from Palestine who first introduced me to her is now a person I talk to daily. The cool Jordanian guy from the most diverse background ever shared a ton of things with all of us (but maybe not religious or political opinion). We all spent the best nights together after capstone. We went out for pizza and good laughs. I learned that we are too young to have boundaries placed between us because of our diversity. We share great things in common. It is not fair that I have to miss these lovely people from my life just because I was taught to. YYGS was a truly eye-opening experience that I would repeat over and over again! Thank you from my heart to everyone who helped me get there!