Yousuf Bakshi is from the Cardiff hub and is one of the 15 other Seren students taking part in the Yale Young Global Scholars summer school programme. Find out more about Yousuf…
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a sixth-form student at Fitzalan High School in Cardiff and I’m studying for A-Levels in maths, physics, computer science and Welsh baccalaureate. I’ll be the first person in my family to go to university, and the first pupil from Fitzalan High School ever to have applied to a US university.
Why did you apply to the YYGS summer school programme?
I’ve wanted to study in the US since I was very young; it’s always been my dream. I’ve thought about applying to Harvard and Yale for a long time, but I wanted to find out as much information as I could about US universities before making my applications next year. I had already been accepted onto the Sutton Trust summer school programme this summer to visit MIT and Harvard, so when this opportunity to experience student life at Yale for two weeks came up as well, I jumped at the chance to apply!
Why does studying in the US appeal to you?
What really attracted me to the US university system is that you don’t have to pick just one subject to study for your whole university career. You can choose to major in one subject and then you can ‘minor’ in a completely different subject. This can even be a subject you’ve never studied before, for example, I know someone who wants to minor in Russian, having never studied it before. I’d really like to major in computer science and possibly minor in either politics or graphic design. One of the other major reasons US universities appealed to me was that many of them are particularly highly regarded for computer sciences, which I’m really passionate about. Lots of universities have links with Silicon Valley and have programmes that allow students to work for huge companies like Apple or Microsoft alongside their degree. I would absolutely love the chance to get involved with opportunities like this.
What are you most looking forward to about your trip?
I’ve chosen the ‘applied science and engineering’ YYGS course and I’m really excited for all the different lectures and seminars I’ll be attending. We were sent a long list of seminars and could pick the ones that sounded most interesting. There was such a huge range of topics; I found it hard to choose just eight. I’m particularly excited for the seminar on ‘Disney imagineering’ where we’ll be learning all about designing Disney theme parks, and the seminar on ‘mad science’ where we’ll be learning how to survive a zombie apocalypse by growing brains! We’ve already been given lots of reading material too – I can’t wait to get stuck in.
What are your long-term ambitions?
If I end up studying in the US, I’d love to stay in the US and find a job at one of the major tech companies. My dream would be to set up my own tech company in Silicon Valley one day…
Why do you think opportunities like this are important for students in Wales?
I think students in Wales often don’t consider applying to US universities because some of the more famous institutions like Yale and Harvard can be very intimidating. I also think schools in Wales tend to focus only on UCAS and universities in the UK. Opportunities like this partnership between Seren and the Yale Young Global Scholars programme are great as they show pupils in Wales that there’s a whole other world out there that they might not have considered or might have found too daunting.
My teachers at Fitzalan have given me so much support with the YYGS application process. One of my teachers is actually going on a course soon to learn about how to support students who are thinking of applying to the US. Hopefully this will mean that more people from Fitzalan will apply in the future.