Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"Workshops were also a unique opportunity. We got to interact with students from Yale and they gave us one on one advice on our writing. They also navigated the college application process for us. This was an amazing chance as we were getting advice from people who had been in our position a couple of years ago."

Gelila Wolle
Ethiopia

YYAS was my first time apart from family (I don’t even leave the house on my own but now I was flying off to another country) and it follows that I was intensely nervous. I remember feeling nostalgic when I said bye to my parents at the airport; trembling yet anticipating the journey that I was about to embark on. Once I got to YYAS, everything was so fast-paced and intense; I had no time to feel home-sick or nervous. I certainly do not regret taking that brave step and going to YYAS.

YYAS is undoubtedly the most amazing academic and social experience of my life. I’d wake up every morning at 6 o’clock to get to the showers before they started filling up, have homework for my workshop or project group due that day that I hadn’t started; but every day was incredible.

I would mull over in my head what my next lecture was going to be about. Which amazing person was I going to hear from next? My lectures were enlightening. What I really loved about my lectures at YYAS was that I would hear about a topic from people who had conducted high-end research and written acclaimed pieces in their respective fields, not someone who had read those papers. These lectures have definitely broadened my academic spheres. After my lectures on African languages and African anthropology, my passion for Africa had been ignited. I loved how such leading names were willing to listen to the questions of high school students and that they put a lot of thought into the answers they provided.

I’d always look forward to my project group. I have done many group projects in my high school experience but never have I met such passionate individuals. It wasn’t the usual “let’s get it over with” routine. Everyone was so set on producing the best work, so dedicated and so motivated that our instructors would have to stop us from working and send us of to lunch. I remember our heated debates vividly; when one of us thought we had found the answer, another would point out something we hadn’t considered. This didn’t discourage us, it excited us. I suspect it was because we relished a challenge. I am going to miss them a lot.

There were also my seminars. I really liked how small these were because all members of the class could receive attention from our instructors. We got to pick a topic we were interested in and explore it in depth. This was an amazing opportunity for me because school curriculums are always so restrictive; it was nice to explore subjects of interest that weren’t offered at school. I also loved that everyone would involve in the discussion, how we were encouraged to speak our minds, and that there was no wrong answer.

Workshops were also a unique opportunity. We got to interact with students from Yale and they gave us one on one advice on our writing. They also navigated the college application process for us. This was an amazing chance as we were getting advice from people who had been in our position a couple of years ago.

So far I’ve only talked about academia, but YYAS has a whole other side to it. The people were undoubtedly the best thing about YYAS. It was great to sit with a random person at lunch and start a conversation. I loved how YYAS was all about making friends. The people at YYAS are the most incredible group I have ever encountered. Everyone had something special about them. Everyone was deeply passionate about something. Because of this it was so easy to talk to them. Everyone was so welcoming. We had the most intriguing conversations ranging from gender equality to the latest horror movie clichés .I remember staying up until eleven and running to my room barely making room check, just so I could keep talking to my friends at YYAS. I loved that YYASians, as we call ourselves, were so eager to engage in intellectual conversations and that it was the norm to debate a scholarly topic on our way to the lecture hall. At YYAS, something was different- I felt like I belonged. I could finally relate to my peers. I felt at home.

If I had to sum up my experience in a sentence, it would be- I never knew how much learning, new friendships and fun 6 days could accommodate until YYAS. I miss YYAS a lot. I would go back and do it all over again if I could but that’s not possible so I make myself content by reminiscing the time I spent there. If you are thinking of applying-GO FOR IT! You won’t regret it.


#YYAS ’15 #YYAS_Rwanda #YYASians

1 comment:

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