By Year 13 student Ali Yaser Shoayb

From July 8th to July 22nd 2015, I attended Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) programme at Yale University. It was followed by a quick trip to New York City. My final destination, though, was the IB World Student Conference (IBWSC) at the University of Rochester, which was from August 2nd to 8th. Two wonderful and memorable international programmes with different intriguing themes.

It was my second time attending Yale Young Global Scholars programme at Yale University. In 2014, I was an alumnus of the Science, Policy, and Innovation session, and in 2015, I found myself in the International Affairs and Security session, which consisted of 206 high school juniors and seniors from more than 90 countries. The programme was held at Jonathan Edwards College, one of the residential colleges on the Yale campus.

The programme consisted of 11 lectures from well-known and expert-in-their-field professors, eight seminars from Yale undergraduate, graduate, and Ph. D students, a research-based project (Capstone project), career talks, discussion groups, crisis simulation, and family time.

A typical day started with a lecture and was followed by discussion, seminar, capstone, and family time. The programme was academically intense, with prior reading for lectures and seminars required, while the Capstone project, with a presentation at the end, was on a whole other level.

Through the programme, current world issues, such as the rise of ISIS, US-China relations, and the Iran nuclear deal, were discussed. Prior to that, there were talks about the nature of “grand strategy” as well, which were to a very large extent thoughtful and informative.

Non-academically, the programme was amazing. I met a lot of people from different backgrounds. I felt I was part of an interconnected community with a shared interest in international affairs, yet unique as the only Afghan ambassador to the program.

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I next had a short trip to New York City, where I visited the 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, China Town, Statue of Liberty, NYU, Central Park, Columbia University, Modern Arts Museum, Empire State Building, UN Headquarters, and Times Square. Personally, I found the city impressive. There are so many things to do and learn in such an international huge metropolis.

Time is such an illusion. In the blink of an eye, I found myself at my final destination – the IB World Student Conference. The University of Rochester hosted the conference, with 210 students from more than 30 countries in attendance.

There were talks from interesting people, discussions in small groups primarily called GAT (Global Action Teams), and trips to museums. In my GAT sessions, in addition to discussing the theme of the talks, we were supposed to tackle world issues and try to find creative solutions in which the element of “play” takes part.

Our GAT came up with the idea of “junkdunk initiative” in which individuals are encouraged to dunk trash while recording it. Then they can upload their videos on social media along with tagging their friends in order to challenge them to do the same thing. Our ultimate goal was to have a cleaner global community.

It was a great atmosphere to meet people who not only share the same interests, but also are pursuing the same curriculum around the world – IB. Meanwhile, the diversity in both programmes made us compromise on certain issues; however, everyone was heard and treated respectfully.

Both YYGS and IBWSC experiences were amazing experiences. Entering into a like-minded and intellectual global community was a privilege, but with that comes responsibility. The responsibility to help create a peaceful world.

At the end of my journey, I was content with what I had experienced. However, it was not the end, but rather, metaphorically, a full stop at the end of a sentence. I have the rest of the book to read and quote.

For more information on scholarships at BISP, contact Simon Meredith: [email protected]