I still happily recall the day I became a Fulbright Foreign Student, an opportunity which has allowed me to share my culture and background while benefiting from exposure to people from different nations. As a grantee from Burkina Faso, I am currently pursuing the environmental management program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. I am majoring in climate change, adaptation, and mitigation, and my interests include climate change and the quest for clean energy, particularly in developing countries.
When I arrived in the United States, I could not wait to become active in the Yale community. The school of forestry and environmental studies offers a unique three-week training module at Yale’s Myers and Great Mountain Forests and in New Haven’s urban areas. For this program, I worked with a group to perform field exercises, took measurements in forests, sampled species in ecosystems, and used orientation tools. I also shared my culture and experience outside classroom activities by working with the breakfast clean-up crews and participating in team sports, while learning from others. For the first time in my life, I played softball and scored a run, but I wish I hadn’t. Not knowing the rules, I only realized my achievement when applause and cheers followed!
What I remember most about the training is the classroom debate and some of the ideas generated by students which revealed how issues can be analyzed from several angles based on different cultural perspectives. As a student in the Master of Environmental Management Program, I actively participate in class projects and witness how students from all corners of the globe work together and roll up their sleeves to address global challenges such as climate change.