Community service is an important component to all NSLI-Y programs. Community service allows NSLI-Y scholars to build relationships with and give back to their local communities. Community service also provides an opportunity for NSLI-Y scholars to practice their target language skills. Below are some community service highlights from the 2017 summer programs.
The NSLI-Y Russian participants spent their first weekend in Russia volunteering at Belochka Camp, located outside of Kirov. Four hundred children live at Belochka and were excited to meet the NSLI-Y participants. Many of the campers had never met someone from another country. Students toured the camp and learned more about how Russian children spend their summers. NSLI-Y Russian participants also continued their community service in Narva and spent more time with their host family members. Some students went to the beach to help keep it clean, others volunteered at Narva Library or the Narva Kindergarten. Multiple students have elected to continue the volunteer work they have started even well beyond the 10 hours they committed to serving when accepting the NSLI-Y scholarship.
The NSLI-Y Arabic students in Rabat completed their first community service activity at a local high school. Working alongside their language partners from Mohammed V University and past and current students from the local high school in Temara, the participants completed several beautification projects at Imam Algrazalie High School. These activities included clearing the school quad, cleaning the mosque, planting several trees, painting a wall, and making classroom decorations.
NSLI-Y Hindi participants visited Matoshree Vriddhashram, an NGO in Pune that serves as a foster home for schoolchildren and a retirement home for the elderly. NSLI-Y students engaged in community service work with the children by drawing, teaching them origami, and playing the American children’s game “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Students also took a tour of the retirement home and chatted with its residents in Hindi. Participant Maria said, “Being able to connect with him [one of the residents] using the Hindi that I had learned was a special experience that I would not have had without this program.”
NSLI-Y Hindi participants also introduced themselves to the school children at Natan Bal Shikshak Sangh, a school for economically disadvantaged children. At Natan Bal, students will be creating teaching materials and engaging in activities with the schoolchildren for their weekly community service. During their first meeting, NSLI-Y participants and schoolchildren exchanged Hindi greetings and played games.
NSLI-Y Chinese students spent a day at the Shuangliu Library, where they began with an overview and tour with their teachers and library staff. They also covered expressions in Chinese that would be useful for their volunteer activity. Students then taught English lessons to library visitors, mainly children, using books and games. This activity drew the attention of a local television station, which interviewed several NSLI-Y participants at the end of the day.
At the Senior Center of Shuangliu, the NSLI-Y Chinese students received a tour from volunteers who explained the center’s history and function. Participants then spoke with those living at the center and helped give haircuts and cut fingernails. They also brewed tea, which they recently learned how to do during a cultural activity. Lastly, participants danced and sang songs for the senior citizens.
The NSLI-Y Chinese students also sang and danced with some of the grannies at the nursing home and talked with the residents for quite some time. The students were impressed by the life experiences of these residents. The residents did calligraphy and generously gave their calligraphy work to the students.