Saturday, June 23, 2012

Us and the UN

Bus Ride through New York
No words can describe the whirlwind of events after what was expected to be a “chill” day. So our day started later than usual. We congregated at 10:30 AM to have breakfast at the diner right next to the Beacon Hotel. After a nice breakfast, we took the bus to the United Nation’s Visitors Center. The bud ride compared to the subway is more familiar to me than the subway; in bus, you don’t feel the same hustle and bustle atmosphere New Yorkers display when taking the subway.
Inside the United Nations Visitors Center

UN Fallen Flag from Afghanistan

Displaced people in Kenya

Fundraiser for UNICEF
Once we arrived at the UN Visitors Center, we all were granted thirty minutes to look at the displays before having a little one on one time with our chaperon, Ms. L. What was really unique about today in the UN was a Royal Scottish dance fundraiser they had to raise funds for the United Nations Children’s Funds, or more popularly known as UNICEF. The displays stirred emotions inside of me; although I knew in the back of my mind the problems of the world, being able to see them in pictures and manuscripts was a whole different thing. My perspective of the suffering of displaced people and refugees has become clearer than ever. From refugees fleeing Somalia on a boat to camps and huts where displaced people of Kenya live, the problems of our world have never impacted me in such a way and have made me realize what a fortunate life I’m living right now. After my little tour, I talked to Ms. L about a how I felt about everything and few ground rules. In all, it was a good talk and it reassures Ms. L about her faith in our group.

Live Colombian Music at a Street Fair
After our visit to the UN Center, we tried looking for a bus to take us back to the hotel. Our map directed us to a stop where it said the bus would be while the directory said it wouldn’t, so our group became stumped for a while. We finally just decided to take a train and transfer. Along our way to the subway, we passed through a Colombian street fair. There was live music with a talented little boy who played drums and many different booths with food and activities. Then our growling stomachs directed us to a pizza parlor where we ate a late lunch. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and prepared for our dinner with the Yale alumni and current students.

Family Style Meal: Appetizers

Family Style Meal: Entree
Our dinner tonight, for me, was one of the best by far. It wasn’t just the family style meal we had at the delicious Greek restaurant, Estiatorio Milos, but the people we were able to converse with. I had the pleasure of speaking with Aaron Shipp and Angela Ning. Aaron studied English Literature and Theatre while Angela studies the History of Science and Medicine. The Yalies were all so animated about their experiences at Yale University. From the social life  to admissions process, my conversation with the two was very helpful. As a life coach, Aaron even probed deeper into my character and has helped me decide what my own personal statement shall be. In all, it was a very rewarding evening for me. When I first visited Yale University, I didn’t know whether or not it was for me but now that I’ve talked and understood the protocols and experiences I never realized what an amazing school I was disregarding.

So from my previous statements, most people can infer my preference to Yale University. I will admit that it is now a school I am considering along with Sarah Lawrence College. For me, Yale University has the atmosphere and type of people I would love to experience my four years of college with. Although the university does not offer my intended major, I know I will be able major in something similar to prepare for graduate school elsewhere. For Sarah Lawrence College, I find the school to be an absolute fit for me due to its 3-2 Engineering program. This program will enable me to study three years at Sarah Lawrence and two at Columbia University, gaining a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and engineering. Although Sarah Lawrence is in a rather rural area, the commute to metropolitan NYC is only thirty minutes. University of Pennsylvania left a better impression on me after our dinner with a few of their alumni. I loved the campus and the programs are similar to that of Yale University, but I didn’t feel the comfortable atmosphere I felt at Yale. As for Vassar College, I don’t think it would be the right choice for me. Vassar is a very nice liberal arts school but I also didn’t feel the comfortable atmosphere I felt at other universities.

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