"The YYGS programme is a microcosm of the globalised world."

2018 BBS
Twm from Wales, UK

The email appeared. To my excitement and disbelief, it was an acceptance to the YYGS programme. My thought process went into overdrive. A chance to challenge myself. A chance to immerse myself in science. A chance to enlarge and enhance my view of the world and embrace a variety of cultures. To become a Global Citizen. To begin painting my blank canvas.

As I entered the iconic green courtyard, my feelings were in all honesty consumed by apprehension. Peeling back this dominant emotion it was evident I was just as eager as apprehensive to experience life in the prestigious university of Yale, to introduce myself to my peers (however daunting) and to learn.

‘Family time’ was my first chance to truly interact and it was my YYGS family who offered the safety net of friends, providing me with an opportunity to share insecurities as well as enjoyment with my YYGS “parent” and my YYGS “siblings”. Reassurance and comfort is the priority in family time, and it was with my family that my courage flourished and I was able to interact with others my age and form friendships.

Seminars and lectures were the principal part of my YYGS experience, due to their unique approach to education. During Seminars (in a group of about 15) we had the chance to debate, to push the boundaries of textbooks and comprehend the steps to scientific achievement. The road to scientific success isn’t full of achievement, but is littered with potholes of failure, as well as accomplishments. The success is through perseverance, and through YYGS I came to comprehend and fully appreciate this fact. Amidst the plethora of subjects discussed in depth were the “Zika virus”, the “RNA world hypothesis” and “How wounds heal”. It enlightened me to a myriad of possibilities and offered a taste of the scientific world in detail that was previously unknown to me, in an open environment where all voices were heard.

YYGS is truly unique due the fact that so many cultures, so many traditions, so many global citizens come together to learn and share experiences in this prestigious institution. A prime example is when my Nigerian Capstone team member and I decided to introduce each other to our different traditions and languages. I introduced him to Welsh whilst he introduced me to Yoruban. I was introduced to a brand new culture, one that I was previously practically ignorant to. This not only nurtured a friendship but also crystallises how the YYGS programme is a microcosm of the globalised world.

Whilst at Yale, I celebrated my sixteenth birthday. Initially I thought the day would pass unnoticed, and this personal experience underlines the warmth and generosity of the programme. Not only was I greeted with smiles, but the lecture began by singing happy birthday! Celebrating my birthday overseas and away from family was at first unnerving. Despite this, it became a cherished memory as I got to spend time with new, inspiring friends, got to sample the American lifestyle and enjoyed a meal with my YYGS family. I made connections with a myriad of people that are sure to last and found security miles away from home.

On the final day, as our YYGS journey came to an end, we were rewarded with an evening of entertainment in the form of a talent show where different cultures showcased by means of song, dance and vocal performances. It was the icing on the cake - a chance to show admiration and appreciation, and to marvel at where we were and who we were with.

Even now, as I’m writing, the whole experience seems surreal, dreamlike even. Yet, as I flick through the photos, leafing through my memories fondly, smiling to myself, I feel privileged. I feel privileged to have been a part of YYGS.

My blank canvas is now awash with colour.

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