The 2019 Yale Young African Scholars Program

Hery was chosen for the YYAS Program


The Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) program was founded by Yale University students in 2015. The main aim of this program is to provide a platform where African secondary school students are exposed to university life, as well as enabling them to discuss some of the problems faced by the African continent.

The 2019 YYAS program was held in three countries; Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Having met all the application requirements in January, I waited until April for the feedback. I was not very anxious as I had no hope of being accepted for such a competitive program, but as alarming as an electric shock; my facilitator told me that I had been accepted for the 2019 YYAS program in Kenya. I was very happy.

After receiving the good news, I started passport preparations. I applied for a travel grant and I got my passport, flight details and seminar assignments in July.  I had to research on my seminar assignments in preparation for the program.

On 7th August, 2019, I started off from school around 7am to Lusaka International Airport. It was amazing being on a flight for the first time, though I was scared of heights at first. The first day I had to cope with the new environment of people from more than 30 African countries, people had different cultures, religions and accents. Although it was difficult at first, I took it as a time to learn new things.

All students were required to do SAT prep and we also attended university guidance lessons every day, where we were taught how to write good application essays. The most interesting part was the university fair where we got to talk to different university representatives on our courses of interest. We also had different speakers come to lecture about what they do. The speaker who inspired me most is Vivian Onano. Her aim as a young girl was to fight for girls education. She is currently a representative of that issue in the United Nations General Assembly. This lady inspired me that dreams can come true if you‘re determined and work hard.

On the last day we had a talent show, where students showcased their talents and cultures from their respective countries. I enjoyed the Rwandan cultural dance. To close the event, all students who attended the program were given certificates. We then had to say goodbye to each other, which was the saddest part.


By Hery Kapota