What’s it like to study at Yale?

The flags outside of the Rockefeller centre in New York.

Written by Montana Coombes

Over the 2018 ANU winter break, I took a course called ‘The Future of Food: Health, Environment and Law’ at Yale University through the IARU (International Alliance of Research Universities) GSP (Global Summer Program).

Arriving at Yale was surreal - had I stepped back in time to the 16th Century? On the first day during a tour of the campus with my cohort, we discovered a vibrant student life, incredible facilities (including a 12-storey gym!!!) and learnt of some historical legacies associated with the University.

The courtyard of the dorms at Berkeley College - it even has a basement basketball court!

The courtyard of the dorms at Berkeley College - it even has a basement basketball court!

One of my favourite spots on campus quickly became the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It contains a huge range of ancient manuscripts and artefacts, including one of the original bibles from Gutenberg and the original pen made of gold used by Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

My dorm room was at Berkeley College and I had neighbours from all over the world. It was such a privilege to interact with people from such diverse cultural backgrounds. One of the friends in the course gave me some Mexican candy that she had brought from home to try... but candy coated in chilli flakes did not quite agree with my mouth or my watering eyes!

I decided to get a better perspective of the city of New Haven where Yale University is located and hiked up East Rock summit. The deep greens of the bush were so unlike the bushland colours I am so familiar with in Australia.

I decided to get a better perspective of the city of New Haven where Yale University is located and hiked up East Rock summit. The deep greens of the bush were so unlike the bushland colours I am so familiar with in Australia.

At a welcome lunch I was able to get to know the course professor, chat with the Dean of Yale’s summer program, and meet the other students who represented a range of Universities all around the world including Oxford, Cambridge, Peking, Berkeley and Copenhagen. You can imagine the diverse perspectives this would provide. Additionally, the interdisciplinary nature of the course meant that each student also brought a different academic perspective – including engineering, public health, environmental science, chemistry, law, and ecology, among many others!

Montana in New York

New York Bagels were a must! With so many options, it took much longer to choose the bagel and topping flavours than to eat it. Meanwhile, the shop owners encouraged us to share in their US patriotism.

Besides study, there was plenty of time for touristy activities. To celebrate the 4th of July, the Yale dining hall put together a buffet-style barbecue in the college courtyard, giving us a small taste of home in an American kind of way. Afterwards, we headed to a local school with our new friends in the program to watch fireworks and enjoy live music.

Studying at Yale was amazing! It was an experience that challenged me intellectually, and it enhanced my personal character development. If you’re ever considering studying abroad in the US, it is well worth it!