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Shamillah is a junior Economics major in Davenport College. She was born and raised in Uganda, and moved to New Mexico for two years before attending Yale. She loves to sing and dance, and has therefore been involved in Konjo African Dance Troupe, the Yale Undergraduate Gospel Choir and ASEMPA, an African Acapella group. She is also very involved in the Yale African Students Association, a cultural group on campus, as well as the Afro-American Cultural Center.
During the fall semester, I was selected to participate in the Yale University New Asia (YUNA) Exchange Program. It was extremely exciting, especially because I will be going Hong Kong over spring break in TWO WEEKS! I also got to meet amazing students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and their stay on Yale Campus this January brightened up my days!
So what is YUNA? The YUNA program has been in existence at Yale for about 20 years, and is a long standing tradition between Yale University and New Asia College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The exchange joins eight students from each institution who pay two-week reciprocal visits to each other's campuses and work together throughout the academic year to research and explore issues related to that year's program theme. (Read more about it here: http://www.yalechina.org/dynamicpage.php?Id=9&SubId=57)
The theme for this year’s exchange is Capitalism and Society, and as such, we explored the multi-faceted nature of America’s economy. From a food sustainability treasure hunt around New Haven, a tour of the Yale Investments Office and a tour of “Occupy New Haven”, we tried to lead the Hong Kong students through the economic maze of New Haven. We encouraged them to attend different lectures at Yale, including one of my classes: Ethics of International Affairs, and also attended a variety of student lectures and events revolving around our theme. We dined at numerous restaurants in New Haven, such as BAR, Rice Pot and Mia’s, all of which contributed to what we began referring to as “sophomore sixteen”, a sudden gain in wait because the Hong Kong students were visiting!
All in all, their stay was profitable for me as much as it was for them. I accompanied them on activities that I wouldn’t have attended on my own, exposing me to a side of Yale that I wasn’t necessarily familiar with. And even to the places I had been before, going with them had a different feel, and made me appreciative of how unordinary and special Yale is. I look forward to going to Hong Kong, and will keep you posted on my adventures in the bustling city! ;)