"After YYGS, the names of many countries, in my mind, are not associated with flags or pictures of maps, but the names of the friends I made from those countries and the unforgettable memories we created."

2018 IAS
Maria from Greece

YYGS was a life-changing opportunity that taught me so much about the world and myself. To anyone considering applying, please do yourself a favor and apply or re-apply! I know that summer seems too far away in January or February (when the deadline to submit your application approaches), but your effort will be totally worth it as YYGS will become one of your most rewarding experiences! It definitely was for me.

To begin with, all the lecturers, instructors and staff were always eager to share their knowledge with us. Our capstone leaders, did not only guide us through the process but were also very approachable and made us laugh when we were stressed. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun and enjoyable capstone group! Although it was not my first choice, I now feel so grateful that it was part of my experience. Above all, YYGS taught me to approach everything with an open mind and never shape opinions before getting to know another student or actually experiencing a class or a seminar. My most memorable seminars are those that I did not expect to like as much.

I really appreciated being around such ambitious and intelligent young people. Everyone had interesting stories and experiences to share, was passionate about their studies and had impressive future plans. Apart from that, I never expected to learn so much during lunch and dinner. I had the opportunity to learn more about Jacksonian democracy, international intelligence, feminism and global education, while enjoying my meal. The relaxed atmosphere made complex issues much easier to reflect on and sparked extremely thought-provoking discussions between the instructors and the participants.

The most valuable part of this experience is that these two weeks do not just remain in my memory but have become a part of myself that I will always carry with me. For example, after YYGS the names of many countries, in my mind, are not associated with flags or pictures of maps, but the names of the friends I made from those countries and the unforgettable memories we created. I have learnt things about the world from all the amazing participants and instructors that no lesson at school could ever teach me. Being exposed to such a wide range of ideas and opinions and learning how to look at global issues from different perspectives has sparked my intellectual curiosity even more.

This experience demonstrated to me that the knowledge we acquire is our power and will enable us to positively influence the world in the future. My gratitude is immense for these two weeks as they have been unforgettable. Special thank you to YYGS for offering financial aid to international students and enabling us to be part of this incredible community irrespective of our financial situation and background. I couldn’t be prouder or more honored to belong to the YYGS community.

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