- Ferdinand Forsi, YYA Scholar/ Open Dreams Scholar
I was pleased to have breakfast with scholars from five countries on the same table - My YYAS Experi
It was about 01:00 am when we descended from the sky of the beautiful city of a thousand hills, Kigali, for the Yale Young African Scholars program. The program ran from the 29th of July to the 7th of August, 2018 in Gashora. I was warmly received by the YYAS team and other participants who arrived earlier. Then, we all got into the shuttle buses leaving Kigali for Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, our host institution. When we arrived the campus, we checked into our various dormitories and went to bed at about 04:00 am, to have some rest after the very long journey.
Two hours later we were up for breakfast. I started introducing myself and getting to know the other participants. We were 150 Scholars from over 28 African countries. I was pleased to have breakfast with scholars from five countries on the same table, which was my first experience of its kind. After breakfast, we had more resting time while discussing and creating strongly friendly links. In the evening, we had orientation and also received materials for the program.
The following day, we officially launched the program with a diagnostic Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT Practice). This was to identify our weak points and group together those with similar weaknesses to efficiently help the different groups improve in the sections they are weak at. The next four days were marked by interesting and interactive lectures delivered by the Faculty of Yale University, addressing some topics like communicable and non-communicable diseases in Africa, International development and international Aid and politics of North Africa, with examinations of literature and its use in political institutions. After each lecture, we had the chance to share our experiences, and present counter-arguments in small group settings (discussion sessions). We also had seminars ran by students from Yale University, which I found all of the sessions I signed up for very exciting as I kept on learning new things about autonomous cars, Math and the African culture. Equally, we had university guidance session and we tackled the Common Application during our workshop. At this point, we were fully acquainted with one another.
The following two days were marked by an extraordinary event; we were thrilled to have admission officers of different high schools, colleges and universities around the world talk to us about their schools and the various opportunities we African scholars have. These include financial aid packages, grants and scholarships. My best part was the College/University fair. I visited each stand, asked question about the application processes of universities, the chances of getting admission as an international student from Cameroon, etc. I was also given brochures and cards. To top it, the admission officers organized an activity where we read application samples, and decided which candidate to grant admission. The day ended with a talent show as each scholar showcased his/her talents. I did comedy for my talent showcase.
The next day, we had our last lecture on Radiology. We focused on African cases and learned how data is transmitted to other countries with more expertise in case a complication arises. These lectures were followed by SAT lectures and finally another diagnostic test taken to see if we had improved. This turned out positive. Subsequently we had a music seminar. In the evening, we had an award ceremony and we were issued YYAS certificates of completion.
My flight was at midnight. Though happy we had completed the program, as we began leaving for our different countries, our hearts were heavy because we had a connection like a family that was just beginning to get stronger.
Open Dreams Scholar
Yale Young African Scholar