We hear from Cassie, Tom, Carys, Joe and Yousuf all about their first week at Yale University…

What has been the best thing about YYGS so far?

Carys: Everything! I’m loving every minute and can’t believe that we only have five days left here in the US!

Cassie: Meeting new people and making global connections.

Tom: Meeting people from all around the world, talking about our different cultures, background and accents. It’s such a good experience to broaden my horizons and find out about the world. We all come together as one community and I believe this shared experience is invaluable to all of us.

Joe: Meeting people from over 126 countries, as I don’t think I’ll ever experience this level of diversity ever again. I hope to leave the programme with friends from all over the world and hopefully meet up with them in the future.

Yousuf: The people here. I have made the best of friends from all across the globe, it’s insane. From Rhode Island to Ghana, Palestine to Jamaica, and New Zealand to Brazil, everyone is incredible and we will definitely keep in touch after YYGS – in fact I’ve already arranged a meet-up with a few of them in Boston in a months’ time!


What have you learnt?

Carys: That I love Yale and definitely want to apply to a university in the US! This programme has given me so much confidence in the fact that I can achieve my goals, and I have found it all so inspiring.

Cassie: There’s more than one way to get where you want to go, and it’s best to shop around before finalising your decisions.

Tom: I have learnt so much. I’ve learnt lots about the liberal arts system in America, in which you major in a subject whilst studying a wide variety. The American education system is quite different to ours in the UK, so it’s very useful to come out here and understand it for ourselves before navigating university applications. Although the bulk of my lectures and seminars have been about chemistry, physics, and engineering, I have a new-found interest in biology. It’s great to see how interdisciplinary all of the subjects are, and this programme has helped me develop cohesiveness between subjects.

Joe: I have been able to increase my knowledge in all aspects of applied science, which will really benefit me when applying to university as well as when I want to start a career in engineering.

Yousuf: Yale is for me, it’s not just a wild dream. We can actually get into here – it really is possible for a welsh student to do so.


What has been your favourite lecture so far?

Carys: The lecture on the chemical complexity in unconventional oil and gas extraction, as it emphasised that many “green” concepts are not always as they seem. For example, renewable energy sources don’t always have a net beneficial impact. Also, as with all the lectures and seminars, the lecturer was very experienced and engaging.

Cassie: The lecture on particle physics because A Level Physics set me up really well to understand the lecture and grasp the full concepts.

Tom: I really enjoyed the lecture on unconventional oil and gas extraction. There has been much debate in the UK about fracking, and I have followed this without really understanding the back story. This lecture used chemistry and environmental engineering to expose the real issues with fracking and brush aside the misconceptions.

Joe: The best lecture so far has to be particle physics, as I was able to apply my past knowledge from AS level physics. As a result of this, I was able to play an even stronger role in my breakout session, aiding the learning of my peers.

Yousuf: Creating Little Big Bangs – woah. I actually understood the rocket science (and it actually really isn’t that hard – it’s AS physics in a nutshell). The lecturer was amazing and I could apply my knowledge to the situation to ask thought-provoking questions and learn more about the physics at CERN and RHIC.


What has been your favourite seminar so far?

Carys: This is very difficult to choose! It was probably the seminar on the mathematics of maps – we discussed the pros and cons of various different projections and ended the seminar by mapping our own virtual 3D world. I enjoyed applying maths to the earth, and learning how to portray 3D objects in 2D accurately. Also, the seminar emphasised the importance of maths within applied science – this showed me that a strong background in maths will be very useful whichever career path I take.

Tom: The seminars have all been great! I have experimented with rocket fuel, looked at chemical engineering in the Solvay process, and discussed confirmation bias which is actually a bigger issue than you probably think. Tomorrow I am studying the art of flight which I am really looking forward to. The best thing about the seminars is the diversity, which makes us much more rounded students.

Joe: My seminar on video game theory really interested me, as when I was younger I spent a lot of my time playing. Since I have attended this lecture I have been able to understand how they work and why I enjoy them so much.

Yousuf: I can’t choose, it’s impossible. All of my seminars have been so good and so intriguing that I was just immersed into every single talk and my knowledge in each of the subjects increased substantially. A lot of my seminars were centred around VR. I find this topic super interesting so I was not disappointed! It’s been great learning about other super cool things such as growing brains to survive a zombie apocalypse, detecting ripples in space and time, and also levitation. I’ve loved every single one and they were all super great in their own very unique, fun ways.


What have you enjoyed the most?

Carys: Getting to know people from all over the world, and being a part of the incredible and inspiring community that has been created here. Also, teaching people about Welsh culture and flying the Welsh flag with pride!

Tom: I have enjoyed showing off my patriotism. We have got people chanting Wales around campus and playing rugby.

Yousuf: Again, the people. I could just talk on and on about everyone here. Every single person has a life story to tell and it’s so interesting just to sit back and listen to everybody’s life and how they got here. Sitting on random tables at food times and just sparking a spontaneous conversation with the rest of the table was a really great way to make a lot of new friends that I’ll remember forever (not to sound cheesy or anything). 126 countries are represented here, and my suitemates come from all over the world from Kyrgyzstan to Tunisia to India and Michigan – I love it here.


What have you been doing in your free time?

Carys: Exploring New Haven, using the Payne Whitney Gym facilities first thing every morning, socialising and discussing different cultures with new friends from all over the world – creating lifelong memories! The programme is quite intense (in a good way!) therefore free time has been very precious!

Tom: Eating out is definitely a highlight – America lives up to its name in this sense. I have often been throwing a ball around with a group of people, and arguing whether we should play rugby or American football! I’ve enjoyed chatting, playing games, and teaching people Welsh phrases.

Joe: I have tried my best to play sports that I am unfamiliar with, I have been taught many different sports from people with many different backgrounds.

Yousuf: Everything you can possibly think of. Hide and seek at night outside the New Haven library – check; Eating out at every burger and burrito restaurant I could possibly find with my American friends – check; Playing ‘Cards Against humanity’ till dawn in our suites – check; pretending to be an American for a whole day – check; teaching Americans the word ‘peng’ and many other British and Welsh nuances – check; and a lot of other things but most importantly flying the welsh flag wherever I went (Heck we even made some people wish they were really welsh!!). I love it here, and I’m sure everybody else will have the same feeling too. YYGS has truly been an unforgettable experience, I just wish it never has to end!


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