Sometimes students are limited by the perspectives they grew up with. Before attending college, however, it's beneficial to expand your viewpoints. Oftentimes knowing how to do this is half the battle, although the opportunities seem to be endless. Summer programs with a global focus are one way to explore different cultures, help make the world a better place, and learn as you travel. Personally, I have participated in two programs: Yale Young Global Scholars and National Security Language Initiative for Youth.
Yale Young Global Scholars
With the Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program, I was able to travel to New Haven, Connecticut, to spend two weeks on the Yale University campus and reside in the Jonathan Edwards dorms. While at Yale, I was able to complete programs focusing on subjects that appealed to me, such as hydraulic fracturing, climate change, AIDS research, and urban architecture. While my session focused primarily on science and policy, the program has two other sessions available—politics, law, and economics as well as international affairs and security (in addition to science, policy, and innovation).
Participating in the YYGS program allowed me to expand my horizons. I was able to create lifelong friendships with students from across the globe. Now I have friends who live in Mexico, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden, Uganda, Nigeria, and many, many more places. Even after our short time together, I still feel I have been enriched by our cultural exchange.
National Security Language Initiative for Youth
The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) is supported by the US Department of State and offers students in the United States the opportunity to spend a summer or academic term abroad living in a variety of locations around the world, including China, India, Taiwan, Morocco, Turkey, and Oman, to name a few. Students are given merit-based scholarships to learn less-commonly taught languages all while being exposed to a unique culture.
Programs for non-US residents
The US Department of State also supports non–US residents in their pursuit of international dialogue. Through the Youth Exchange & Study (YES) program, international students are given the opportunity to spend an academic year in the United States and its high schools. This is not to be confused with its US counterpart, YES Abroad.
While these are only a few of the multitude of opportunities that exist, they are certainly some of my most memorable. These programs have enriched me as a scholar, a person, and most importantly, a global citizen. I feel these summer programs are ideal for students wishing to expound upon themselves and to escape their comfort zone in order to experience the unfamiliar, the extraordinary. These programs have strengthened me, and I know they will strengthen many, many others.
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