By: Anushka Gupta from India
What laid ahead was a 12 hour journey, a journey that had just begun, for now I was unstoppable. The Yale Young Global Scholars Program had given wings to my dreams. I felt a surge of excitement and nervousness through me as I said goodbye to my parents and set off towards the departure lounge. Never had I traveled alone to another city, and now a new country altogether, by myself? This was an adventure I was looking forward to. I had been selected in the prestigious YYGS program for the inaugural session at the Yale-NUS Singapore Campus. The look of pride for their daughter’s achievement swelled my heart when I told my parents about my acceptance letter for the program. Time flew by and then came the day I had been eagerly waiting for. I landed in Singapore filled with a strange feeling of belonging, zeal and excitement. Passing through the neat 4 laned roads surrounded with trees, underpasses covered with creepers, gigantic glass buildings, and beautiful residential areas, the Singapore flyer, I had finally reached the University town- the educational hub of the island, the place I was gonna spend the next entire week.Gathered around the occulus were so many people I’d gotten to know through Facebook but were still strangers in person.
Later that evening, we had an icebreaker to get to know our instructors followed by a scavenger ‘photo’ hunt. We had to go around the campus following the instructions and taking pictures. By the time we reached the Elm dining hall for dinner, we were famished. Each meal at the Elm hall meant new peers to talk to. 9 a.m. sharp, the lectures started. Listening to the thoughts and views of well known professors like Ted Wittenstein, John Wargo, Anju Paul, Chris Aspland and Nomi Lazar, broadened our horizons and set our thoughts rolling. There were so many curious minds with their hands raised up to ask their unanswered queries. After the lecture our instructors took us in a group of 8 for the discussion sessions. The best part of the day was the special meals that we could sign up for. No, I don’t mean the kind where we get special food, but a meal with the lecturer of the day. I signed up for a meal with Chris Aspland where we spoke about psychology, déjà vu, dreams and delved deeper into the possibilities of the human mind. One of the most interesting parts of the week long program was the ‘Capstone Group Project’. We had to develop economic policies for a country we chose and try to sell it to the panel of judges ( a group of instructors ). Our day started early in the morning and ended late at night trying to finish our projects and assignments and hanging out at the U-town. The skills workshop with teamwork games and tasks made it special for all of us as we got to know our group better and see people in a different light. The seminars on the topics that I chose were amazing and gave me an insight on what my interests are. Each day at Yale-NUS made me get used to the routine and love the life I was leading. And before I knew, it was the last day. The talent show and the graduation ceremony were a great success. We got our graduating certificates and a special performance by the instructors for us. The night had a teary end as I said a final goodbye and good night to the new friends I made. This was the kind of university life that I wanted to lead. New tasks, new friends, new challenges. It shaped my views and refined me as a person. The 5 o’clock shuttle early in the morning took us to the airport and then I was sitting in the plane reminiscing the last week. YYGS was an experience of a lifetime. It gave me a new perspective, made me independent and now my parents believe in MY dream.