"After 2 weeks, 14 days, 20160 minutes, I left Beijing with unbreakable relationships, a greater understanding of the world, a newfound interest in Asia, and as a true Yale Young Global Scholar."

2018 ATC
Seo-Hee from South Korea

2 weeks, 14 days, 20160 minutes, yet it was still not enough.

I was told that the Yale Young Global Scholars program would be life-changing and that I would leave on the fourteenth day as a different person – those words could never have been more true.

Ever since the day I got my acceptance email and announcement of my full tuition scholarship, the only thing that was on my mind was YYGS; both a daunting yet unbelievably life-changing experience awaited me. My nerves were uncontrollable as I stepped out of the plane and made my way through the Beijing International Airport. I was surrounded by people and a language that I had never exposed to before. My worries were slowly building up and questions started racing around inside my head. Would I be able to make the most out of this experience? Would I fit in with everybody else? Yet, the moment I was greeted by the smiles of other participants, my trepidation dissipated and I felt right at home – I knew in my gut that this was going to be the best two weeks of my life.

YYGS has definitely changed the way I see the global community. Although I was keen to learn more about the international community, you could say I was still uninformed of countless other aspects of the world. Through the people and activities in YYGS, I was fortunate to learn different theories, different global historical events, and different perspectives on issues that I’d never encountered before. Moreover, the academic rigor of this program has aided my decisions for the future. Specifically, the lectures and seminars I attended had a wide range of topics that sparked great interest and captivated me, from the process of decision making during political crises to the intricate workings of the International Court of Justice. Once I entered the lecture hall, my notebook was already open and my pen was furiously scribbling back and forth as I tried to absorb as much information as possible.

Prior to attending YYGS, I was undecided and confused about what I wanted to study, where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to pursue in my life. That being said, this program has opened up numerous paths for me and pushed me to reflect upon myself. The two weeks in Beijing became a time where I could find out who I truly was and what I was truly passionate about. It also helped that a remarkably talented group of students that were determined to impact the world surrounded me; their enthusiasm was extremely contagious!

Despite the academic rigor and stimulating discussions, I believe it’s safe to say that the friendships and relationships that you make in YYGS are ones that will last forever and is the most impactful part of the program. I had never expected to interact and befriend such passionate people from all around the world. The atmosphere was incredible; we were all buzzing and eager to showcase our culture and learn from others. My Chinese friends provided me with a completely new outlook on China as they talked about their daily lives and provided me with a clear insight into Chinese politics, culture, and delivery system. It was fascinating to learn that I could order bubble tea to the hotel and it would arrive within 15 minutes.

A unique aspect of YYGS Beijing that many participants would not be able to experience in New Haven were the cultural excursions. They were a special way to consolidate relationships and appreciate the extraordinary history of China. For example, the trip to the Great Wall was an ultimate way to test my fitness, my bond with my YYGS family, and my knowledge on Chinese history all in one. Furthermore, If I had to pick an object that represented 2018’s YYGS Beijing session, I would have to choose Bubble Tea. For many in the world, people choose to consume coffee or energy drinks for energy, whereas for the YYGS participants, bubble tea was our ultimate sustenance.

The experience I’ve had this summer was priceless and YYGS was an opportunity that I would never have traded for anything. After 2 weeks, 14 days, 20160 minutes, I left Beijing with unbreakable relationships, a greater understanding of the world, a newfound interest in Asia, and as a true Yale Young Global Scholar.

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