How to be a World Fellow

Each year, World Fellows come to Yale for a semester. They infuse Yale classrooms with energy, experience, and context. But they do much more.

This year, our 2014 World Fellow Alexander Verbeek snapped Instagram photos throughout one of his days on campus to give you a sense of the kinds of things Fellows get up to at Yale: from coffee and in-depth conversation, to classes, research and more. Scroll on for a look at one Fellows’ take on a day at the University and in New Haven. 

From Alexander, from first thing in the morning: 

“The day starts early with last preparations in my apartment for a talk at a local high school about climate change and about my work as a diplomat.”

“My partner for this morning’s talk is World Fellow Biola Alabi. Before heading to the high school, first stop is (of course), the coffee shop right across the street.” 

Cody’s Diner - looks more like Route 66 than New Haven…” 

“Meeting with energetic, curious high school students at Metropolitan Business Academy, a magnet public high school in New Haven. Biola is asked about the development of the African version of Sesame street, I am asked how much of New Haven would be lost to sea level rise. World Fellows give talks across campus each semester, but also in the city.” 

“Mandatory selfie in the cafeteria.” 

“I read his famous “Rise and Fall of the Great Powers”  some 25 years ago. Now I follow Yale Professor Paul Kennedy’s fascinating class on “Military History of the West.” Next week I will meet him at his home for further conversation. Being a World Fellow gives me direct access to some of the most influential minds.”

“Next up for today is a class at the School of Drama: ‘Visual Storytelling.’  World Fellows can audit any of the 3000 courses available at Yale. This semester, I wanted to follow a class that has no connection to my work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands. Nearing the end of the semester, I’ve learned (amongst many other things) that there is no such thing. Everything I’ve learned here is somehow useful. This class has already influenced, for instance, the way that I create and deliver my own presentations.” 
 
“Here I am in full student mode.” 
 
“At the Yale School of Management (SOM), I follow the Executive MBA courses. But today, I leave the class to listen to a talk of another World Fellow, Salvatore Iaconesi, on his Human Ecosystem Project. Here he is explaining to SOM students about social media networks. Salvatore and I are both active on social media and often share our experiences.”
 
“Next up: I head to the Yale School of Forestry and Environment for debate about Fracking and its impact on water.  This speaker is Paul Reig from the World Resources Initiative in Washington DC.” 
 
“At the talk, I meet one of the very few Dutch students at Yale, Ralien Bekkers. Earlier this year she received a great deal of her publicity for her effective crowd funding campaign for her tuition at Yale.” 
 
“Now for a quick stop at the home of the World Fellows - Betts House - a historic old mansion turned into offices for many of Yale’s international programs.”
 
“A busy day closes with a lovely dinner at our Managing Director’s house with the rest of the World Fellows, just before Thanksgiving. World Fellow Rami Nakhla is well know as the best cook of the group - he made a wonderful Syrian dinner.  One of the most important parts of this Fellowship is spending time with, challenging, being challenged by and forming strong bonds with the rest of the Fellows.”

“And the beautiful Harkness Tower, in the center of Yale’s campus, on my way home for the day.” 

Find out more about Alexander, and contact him, here.