alumni spotlight Tag

Photo of Kate on a swing
Kate is from Madison, WI and participated in the 2017-18 Chinese AY program in Taiwan. Born in the Guangxi Zhuang region of China, Kate Jasenski was adopted at a year old. She grew up embracing American multiculturalism with both her American life and Chinese heritage as a large part of her identity. To increase her connection to her Chinese background, Kate wanted to learn Chinese to make connections and build relationships.   “Language is the most basic way people connect with one another. Connecting through language would help me better understandRead More
John with his host family

Posted On August 14, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Russian

Alumni Spotlight: John Muckler

John is from West Branch, IA and participated in the 2017-2018 Russian AY program in Moldova. When John first stumbled across the NSLI-Y program, he assumed that it wasn’t for him. He had never left the country, so he thought a year abroad would be impossible. However, his interest in Russian culture and desire to dispel negative media portrayal of the country led him to give the application a try. It was as he was writing his essays that he really began to grasp what NSLI-Y entailed and how heRead More
Picture of Alex on the beach with Korean friends

Posted On August 7, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Korean

Looking back on a Year of Language Advances in South Korea

Alex is from Las Vegas, NV and participated in the Korea AY program from 2017-2018. Alex’s language journey began in 9th grade. Her first time walking through the many Asian markets of her hometown, Las Vegas, Alex experienced a new variety of smells, tastes, and most intriguingly, languages. “Las Vegas is one of the most racially diverse cities in America. I was fortunate to experience Korean, Chinese, and other Asian cultures first hand while growing up.” Korean culture provided the motivational spark for Alex to begin studying Korean. She didRead More
Picture of Andrew holding dragon made out of candy.

Posted On August 1, 2018By Nicole WeitznerIn Chinese (Mandarin)

Alumni Spotlight: Andrew Leonard

After spending a transformative summer in Xian, China on the NSLI-Y program, Andrew Leonard arrived home to his New Hampshire school district that sadly did not offer Chinese courses as a foreign language option. Andrew, like many other young Americans, looked for more language options at home. First, Andrew tried online courses; “I enjoyed learning Mandarin so much during my summer NSLI-Y program in Xi’an that I looked for virtual options back home. However, online options were not as interactive and immersive as I was used to in China. I knewRead More
Picture of Allan in front of mosque by water.

Posted On July 20, 2018By Nicole WeitznerIn Arabic

Alumni Spotlight: Allan Cate

Allan is from Burke, VA and participated in the Arabic program in Morocco. At school, Allan sat next to a girl from Morocco and learned about the diversity and beauty of her country. Yet every day when he got home to watch the news, he noticed that any mention of countries like Morocco was passed up for images of war, violence, and extremism in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This desire to hear about Middle Eastern politics from a local perspective and to delveRead More
CJ smiling with a friend.

Posted On May 1, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Arabic

Alumni Spotlight: C.J. Aragon

C.J. is from Albuquerque, NM and participated in the Arabic programs in Egypt and Morocco. There is a saying in the NSLI-Y community that, “you are just one C.J. away from knowing everyone.” Meaning, Carlo James Aragon (better known as C.J.) knows so many NSLI-Y alumni and applicants that you are sure to have him as a mutual acquaintance. C.J. has touched many in the NSLI-Y community, spanning across cultures and continents. C.J.’s passion for cross-cultural connections has shone through during his two NSLI-Y Arabic programs and time abroad inRead More
Pictured is Hudson High School's auditorium with a group of students at an outreach event.

Posted On January 5, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Global

Alumni Spotlight: Rahul and Rohan’s Outreach

Rahul and Rohan Krishnan both attend high school in Worcester, Massachusetts. Brothers Rahul and Rohan Krishnan share more than just their family: they share the unique experience of living abroad immersed in another culture, language, and family. They each spent a summer abroad with NSLI-Y: Rahul studied Chinese in Shanghai, China over the summer of 2016; and Rohan studied Arabic during the summer of 2017 in Rabat, Morocco. Though they spent their time on program on different continents, both share a passion for outreach and are actively advocating for NSLI-Y.Read More
Devon Parikh and his NSLI-Y group in Latvia.

Posted On October 30, 2017By Signe KnutsonIn Russian

Immersive Language Studying: Devon Parikh in Latvia

Devon Parikh had the opportunity to participate in the 2017 NSLI-Y summer program to study Russian in Daugavpils, Latvia, where 95% of the population speaks Russian. He wanted to study abroad because he had only studied languages in the classroom, and he wanted to study and use Russian in real situations and have an immersive experience. Prior to NSLI-Y, Devon had signed up for a beginner Russian class in high school and did not know much about Latvia. He feels he progressed significantly in the language and improved his understanding ofRead More
Pablo posing in front of a beautiful forest.
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
In 2009, Patrick Deem spent an academic year in Egypt on the NSLI-Y program. His interest in the Middle East grew from a combination of factors. Patrick’s grandfather was Egyptian, but he never had the chance to meet him as his mother was adopted. This aspect of his heritage had always intrigued him. He also saw many conflicting news stories about the region and wanted to experience it for himself. He was initially surprised both by how different and similar the U.S. and Egypt were. For example, there were shoppingRead More