"YYGS changed my life and gave me the inspiration to pursue what I love, no matter how difficult it is."

2018 ASE
Seraj from Palestine

I am a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. 

I don’t know what to say when people ask me about my country because I simply identify myself as a world citizen. I was thrilled when I found out that I was chosen as one of the Global Scholars to attend YYGS. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be attending a summer program at Yale University, I would say that it was impossible. But when I started a new journey in my life, I got to know that YYGS is available for everyone and that the YYGS admissions office will give the right chance to the right people. YYGS made my dream of attending a summer course at Yale University come true.

YYGS was not only about studying the natural sciences, but also about making unforgettable relationships with people from all over the world. The students from diverse backgrounds and cultures that YYGS gathered in one place all shaped the person I am today. I still remember each conversation I had with each of the students from different countries. There was once a conversation with a student from China and he made me really think about the questions: who am I? And who are we? When he asked me, “Where is your country on the map?” I told him that they say that I am from Palestine, but you will not find it on the map. At that moment, I thought if we are all humans, then why we don’t help each other? Why don’t we be the actual change in this world? Maybe the next time that someone asks me about my country, I will give him the world map as a gift.

This accident added more emphasis to my identity as a Global Scholar. I got to know most of the students- not just about their love of and desire to learn more about science, but also about their stories of life struggles. There’s a quote that says: “We don’t grow up with days, but we grow up with the experience we get in life and the people we meet.” I still tell the stories of these people to each person I meet. When life depresses me, I remember the stories of these people when they had to bear the consequences of being poor, or facing social difficulties, or being a refugee like me. They say that I am stateless, but my story itself of being stateless gave me the power and enthusiasm to unite this world.

YYGS changed my life and gave me the inspiration to pursue what I love, no matter how difficult it is. The obstacles we face guide us on the path to success. With each lecture about science and engineering, I fell in love with knowledge more and more. I still remember when Professor Brian Scassellati gave a lecture about how he recruited his knowledge in computer science and engineering to make robots to help people with autism or language difficulty. At that moment, I realized that I am on the right path to make this world better. I always believed that robots can make the change I wanted to see in the world, and at that moment, I was astonished to see what I believed in becoming reality. I realized that I want to be a person who has the ambition to be the change he wants to see in this world. Professor Brian gave me an example of how this technology can be used to help people and I I will try my best to give examples to others of how to unite this world.

Thank you, YYGS, for giving me this opportunity and helping me believe that nothing is impossible. For making me understand that I need to unleash my potential, and that many people in this world need my help just because they are humans like me. I hope that I have left a good impression on the people in YYGS just as they have left good impressions on me.

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