YYAS Uncovered

Are you a current Lower Six student considering applying for YYAS 2018? The deadline is only 3 weeks away and the application is here. Read below two YYAS alum experiences from the August 2017 Zimbabwe program.

“I look through the window as I sit in the car on my way to Arundel. A lot of things run through my mind. I wanted to spend the August holidays away from home, but I wasn’t sure if this program was the best idea. Spending the whole day listening to people talk about their success and failures wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but there was no turning back now. It was already done; terrifying week had already begun.

I cling tightly to my travel bag as I walk towards Kewada Hall.  I can’t wait for the week to end already. As I walk in, I’m welcomed by a bunch of friendly faces and, at that, my feelings towards the program shift slightly. I look at the program for the week and I’m puzzled. I will be doing a proper SAT for the first time in my life. Although I didn’t know what an SAT is, I am thrilled at the experience of even writing one.

After that, my first activity for the day was chess. I sit on the lawn outside Kewada Hall and teach a few boys chess. As I look around, I realise that I was totally wrong about everything. YYAS is the best place I could have gone during the August holiday. I smile: I am sitting with some of the smartest kids in Africa and am about to become part of a powerful, productive and exciting network of young African leaders.

The week went by so fast. Everyday we were welcomed with a hectic timetable that included thrilling lectures from some of Africa’s most powerful business people, discussions and workshops. My personal favorite was the seminars where we got to express how we felt about certain topics with no restrictions. It was an amazing experience listening to other people talk and hearing different opinions on the various subjects we discussed.

Every day, we had SAT preparation and tutorials before lunch. We learnt what the SAT actually was and how to handle it. It was no one’s favorite session but we got through it with little effort, and it was all smiles afterwards. University admissions officers and representatives, including Brown, Upenn, and Rochester enlightened us on the type of people they wanted at their universities. This was especially helpful to people like me who had not decided what to do with their lives after high school.

After spending only a week with some of Africa’s brightest young leaders, I think it would be safe to say I made friends for life. I walked out of YYAS a different person altogether, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back given another chance. YYAS teaches you to be a critical thinker when it comes to your life after high school. It gives you a chance to see the world on a whole different level and allows you to explore different opportunities. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending YYAS to anyone who wishes to have a bright future.”

Isabel Masawi, YYAS 2017 Alum, Mufakose 2/Hellenic Academy, Harare, Zimbabwe

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“The truth is that when I got on the bus to Harare, I seriously had no idea what to expect and my fear was the only thing that spoke to me. I was afraid to meet all those new, smart people from all over Africa and be amongst the great minds from Yale University all at once when I had never even met people from outside my province (slight exaggeration for dramatic effect). All my apprehension melted away the second I got to Arundel School and was welcomed by smiles from the YYAS instructors and alumni which made me feel right at home.

We started the amazing week off with a test (and no, I will not tell you what kind of test and, yes you don’t have to study for it). This sounds daunting but the truth is, it was not so bad. The schedule was completely hectic with us attending workshop after seminar after discussion section after lecture. The lectures were enlightening, the seminars lively and the workshops complete and utter fun. I don’t want to give too much away but I’ll tell you, this week was an intense immersion into university life and was unforgettable. The highlight was, of course, the food, which was a different, delicious meal every time. Over meals people would be involved in fierce debates about politics and gender equality. I did not sleep earlier than eleven o’clock on any day that week because people had so many stories to share. I learned so much that week, but, mostly, I just had fun.

I think YOU should apply for YYAS is because this is an adventure of a lifetime that you will never regret. Most African students only start thinking about university after their final year in high school which is the biggest mistake they make. YYAS puts everything in perspective and arms you for the future well in advance. The best part for Zimbabwean students is that the fun does not end with the week in August. In December we had our first workshop in Harare with every Zimbabwean who attended YYAS 2017 regardless of the country they went to. The workshop was an opportunity to get to know each other better as Zimbabweans and learn a little bit more from our amazing mentor. From the workshop you can always expect the last supper to be the best part of it, so I recommend you apply for YYAS and fast! YYAS has changed my life for the better, and I have made bonds to last a lifetime. This is what it has to offer you and trust me, there is no greater joy than being in the company of people who think like you and enjoy your company almost as much as you enjoy theirs.”

Kimberley Nkomo, YYAS Alum 2017, Victoria High, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

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Apply here: https://africanscholars.yale.edu/apply

Deadline: 6 February, 2018

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