Senior examines global issues with students worldwide


Photo by Maya Fridman

Noah Kaufman, Staff Writer

Working on projects and participating in seminars with people from around the world was a daily occurrence for senior Derrik Chen this summer. Through the Solving Global Challenges camp, also known as SGC, he had the opportunity to experience a program focused on solving global issues with students from all over the world.

“It was pretty cool to meet people from around the world,” said Chen in a video conference. “Differences in our cultures and experiences in life made thinking about global issues feel more global, because I got to hear input from different people from different places.”

The SGC at the Yale Young Global Scholars summer program allowed Chen to work with students from over 130 countries to solve problems the world is facing today. Chen attended lectures, small seminars and discussions about topics such as zoonotic diseases and poverty.

The topic that caught Chen’s attention the most was zoonotic diseases. The discussions around this topic inspired him to change his eating habits because of the impacts eating animals can have, especially on the rise of pandemics, Chen said.

SGC’s focus this year was how COVID-19 affected communities around the world. Chen was paired with a student from Bulgaria and another student from China to research the rise of nationalism COVID-19 brought about.

The diverse backgrounds and life experiences of his group members made collaboration difficult, Chen said.

“Because we all come from different places, our situations are different and so we think about things differently,” said Chen. “I might think one thing, but my partner from China might think the opposite. It made agreeing on subjects to add to the presentation more difficult.”

Chen valued the experience with his partners, he said.

“It was super cool to see how my partners thought about the world, seeing as we all come from different backgrounds and cultures,” Chen said.