We spoke to Seren RCT-Merthyr pupil Joseph Phillips to find out whether his experience of the Yale summer school has encouraged him to apply to a US university. Here’s what he had to say…
We also spoke to him before he left – here’s what he said before making the trip.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a pupil at St John’s School in Aberdare and I’m doing A-Levels in maths, physics, geography and welsh baccalaureate. I’ve chosen the YYGS applied science and engineering course.
Why did you apply to the YYGS?
I heard about the opportunity from my Seren hub coordinator. I’ve been to several Seren masterclasses this year already and I’ve really enjoyed widening my knowledge and going beyond what we’re taught as part of the A-Level curriculum.
I’m currently doing an Open University course in engineering; an opportunity that I heard about through Seren. It’s great to get background knowledge and a deeper understanding of engineering. I’d like to learn as much as possible because you can’t do engineering as an A-Level.
To me, this summer school seemed like another great opportunity to extend my knowledge, experience something totally new and get an insight into university life in America.
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to seminars, particularly the ones on microscopy and artificial intelligence. But I think what I’m most looking forward to is being able to engage with people from all over the world. Students from 120 different countries will be attending this summer school and I’ve never been somewhere with such an amazing level of diversity before. I think it’ll be a real eye-opener.
Why do you think pupils in Wales don’t consider studying in the US?
I think pupils in Wales are often put off applying to university in the US because they hear about how expensive it can be. I had no idea what sort of financial support was available, if any. But since applying to this summer school, I’ve researched into the financial side of things and there are lots of bursaries and scholarships opportunities, so I don’t think pupils should be put off.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m not sure whether or not I’d like to apply to university in the US, but I’m definitely keeping an open mind. I’m also considering Oxford, Swansea, Cardiff, Leicester and Nottingham, and have booked onto open days this summer.
I also have work experience lined up this summer at a metal fabrication firm. I’m unsure of what I’d like to study at university; I’ve considered aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, but I’m hoping that going to Yale as well as attending open days in the UK will give me a better idea of the different engineering courses available to me.