Languages

The NSLI-Y program languages include Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian and Turkish. Listed below are all multimedia stories written, and shared by NSLI-Y students, alumni, partners, and supporters. These stories include all NSLI-Y program languages and are ordered chronologically from the most recent post.

Click on a language below to see stories and media related to a specific NSLI-Y program language:

Arabic | Bahasa | Chinese (Mandarin) | Hindi | Korean | Persian (Tajiki) | Russian | Turkish

AJ is from Elk River, MN and participated in the Russian Summer Program 2019 in Moldova.  AJ has always enjoyed learning about languages and linguistics. The first non-native language he learned was American Sign Language. He acquired this skill at the young age of five or six. As he got older, his interests shifted more to verbal languages. He studied French at an immersion school, picked up Hebrew at Shabbat services, and developed a taste for Soviet classics and Italian rap, among other examples. AJ went on to explore theRead More
Shivam is from Saratoga, CA and participated in the Chinese Summer program 2019 in China. As exciting as the prospect of studying abroad for an extended period of time is, there also many questions, concerns and worries. What food will I get to I eat? Will I get along well with my host family? Will I make friends? Will it be hard to learn the language? Questions like these tend to dominate one’s mind before embarking on a life-changing journey such as this one, at least for me they did.Read More
Shraddha is from Round Rock, TX and is participating in the NSLI-Y Arabic Academic Year 2019-2020 in Morocco. “American… hmmm, but where are you really from?” It’s a question I hear multiple times each day, and at this point, I’ve made it into a game, because as a brown girl, saying “American” is never a satisfactory response. “Guess,” I respond, “What do you think?” Occasionally, people are spot on, greeting me with “Namaste” on the street, but surprisingly, the most common nationality assigned to me has been “Syrian.” Often, afterRead More

Posted On November 14, 2019 By In Russian

A Visit to the Matryoshka Factory

Julia is from Milwaukee, WI and participated in the 2019 Russian summer program. In Kirov, Matryoshka dolls are begun by splitting a piece of wood into four. Then a piece is selected, and inserted onto a lathe that spins parallel to the master carver so fast that the wood becomes a blur. Our group stood back and watched him work. He stood at the table with a long piece of metal that had something almost like a straight razor at one end. He would touch it to the spinning wood,Read More
International Education Week (IEW) – a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education – is a national effort to promote programs that prepare youth with 21st century skills in today’s globalized world and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange life experiences with Americans while sending American students to various countries abroad to study languages and build cultural ties.  IEW provides students and alumni on exchange programs such as NSLI-Y with the opportunity to share their culture and experiencesRead More
Pierce at a Pagoda in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Pierce is from Virginia Beach, VA and participated in the 2019 Chinese summer program in Taiwan. The best advice I got before spending the summer in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was from the handbook I received pre-program. It implored me to “expect everything to be much harder than you think it will be. Even basic daily tasks, like ordering food, are more difficult when done in an unfamiliar language and place.” At the time, this worried me. Had I gotten myself into something that I couldn’t handle? Was I in over myRead More
Gilda in traditional Korean dress

Posted On October 31, 2019 By In Korean

What I Learned Studying Abroad

Gilda is from Mastic, NY and participated in the 2018 Korean summer program in South Korea.  Having the opportunity to study abroad is a real blessing for anyone who loves to learn foreign languages and cultures. I studied in China as an exchange student when I was in elementary school, and the experience was so positive that I wanted to study abroad again. I found out about the NSLI-Y program when I was 13 and was immediately attracted to the idea of a program offering full immersion. NSLI-Y was a longRead More
Jacob: Alumnus of the 2012 Morocco program

Posted On October 25, 2019 By In Arabic

Alumni Spotlight: Jacob

Jacob is from Malaga, New Jersey and participated in the 2012 Arabic summer program in Morocco.  Jacob is using his language skills to help the next generation learn Arabic. After returning from the NSLI-Y Arabic program, Jacob carried on his Arabic studies at high school during his senior year. He was so determined to continue studying that he had to drop his lunch period to fit Arabic into his tight schedule! It was during this time that his knack for Arabic linguistics began to take hold and the language became,Read More
Abigail is from Wyckoff, New Jersey and participated in the 2018 NSLI-Y Summer Persian program in Tajikistan. After spending seven, life-changing weeks last summer with NSLI-Y in Dushanbe, Tajikistan became my second home. However, no home is perfect. Educational resources are extremely limited in Tajikistan, and I was motivated to give back to the country that had taught me so much. Last December, I launched an initiative to build a library in Tajikistan. Working with Sultan Akif, CEO and founder of the “Library in a Week” organization (they aim toRead More
Pablo Gutierrez’s music teacher gave him his first introduction to Chinese language and culture. To further this interest, he attended Mandarin Startalk summer language learning programs two years in a row. It was through StarTalk that he also learned about NSLI-Y and decided to apply. He participated in the 2016-2017 academic year program in Taiwan. Pablo was first struck by how different things were in Taiwan. From humorous things like garbage trucks playing whimsical music to more challenging aspects such as standing out as a foreigner, there was much toRead More
Natalie Johnson was raised in Milwaukee. As a child, she developed an interest in East Asia through her passion for anime. During her junior year of high school, she took a Global History class that covered modern Chinese history, which sparked a specific interest in China and a desire to experience it firsthand. At this time, she learned about NSLI-Y through her older sister. Her dreams came true when she participated in the summer 2014 and academic year 2015-16 programs in China. Her NSLI-Y experiences were rewarding, but also challenging.Read More
Nicholas Wade’s future changed unexpectedly when he met a Foreign Service Officer at a career fair during his freshman year of high school. She described to him the life and work of a Foreign Service Officer; he immediately became interested in the career. When he asked what languages would be most important to learn, he was told that Arabic was in high demand. The officer also told him about the NSLI-Y scholarship to study less commonly taught languages. Because of that conversation, he began studying Arabic on his own afterRead More