As I left home for the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, I was very excited and could not wait to meet everyone who was going for the program. I however had some uncertainties. I did not know what kind of people or environment to expect. I was warned that I would not be able to blend with the changes or fit in the program. After more than seventeen hours of travel, I was at Yale University.
My first friend was called Catherine whom we met in the shuttle that took us to Yale. The instructors who received us were very welcoming people. When I was given my name tag, one instructor recognized that I am Kenyan and hugged me. I felt at peace. I met a few people who had attended Yale Young African Scholars Program both as students and as instructors. On that day, we were taken for orientation where we got the chance to meet each other. There were around 240 people at the program. Almost all countries were represented, including 47 of the 50 US states.
A day at Yale begun with breakfast at 7:00 am, followed by a lecture. The lectures were 2 hours long and were very informative. I mostly enjoyed the lecture on the importance of feedback. This was followed by a discussion session, with each discussion group having 2 leaders and about fourteen students. This would end at 11:30 am where we then proceeded to lunch at 11:45 am. This was a great opportunity to meet new people and try out new food. We then headed for seminars starting from 1:00 pm. Here we then discussed different topics and did some activities.
My best seminar was ‘The Land Ethic’ where we looked at how beliefs and principles vary with people depending on their reasoning and environment. This topic was very involving and I learnt a lot. We had a Capstone project to be done which was always after dinner. My group and I researched on the importance of coral reefs. I enjoyed the research mostly because of my teammates, We did everything while having fun. The best part of the day was free time. During this time, we went out to tour the school.
Everyone was placed in a family of 8 people with an instructor. During family time, we met and discussed about the program. We got to know each other better. We played games as a family. We also went out to visit the Yale art gallery. We also went to various eateries like Shake Shack, where we had food to eat and told stories.
Everyday had a new lesson to be learnt. I learnt a lot but my most important lesson was that we should not do activities for the sake of college applications. I was motivated by my peers as they have done a lot of things. They challenged me to be open-minded. Most of them were involved in businesses, others are musicians but still performed well. I met people who have many achievements and I felt challenged to do much more with my time.
During the programme, I applied for a dinner engagement with Erine Schutte, the program director. I was accepted and enjoyed it. She talked to me about making the decision of what I want to study. I was also invited to have lunch with one of the instructors, Alexander de Jesus. He talked about the nature of human beings doing good.
At the end of the program, we graduated from YYGS and were awarded with our certificates. That marked the end of our program. This is a time that I will never forget and will always cherish. I thank the Almighty and everyone who took part in making my trip a stay at Yale a success.