Alumni Tag

Annabeth Gellman began studying Chinese in tenth grade and learned of NSLI-Y through her Chinese teacher. In the summer of 2009, just after graduating, she participated in the NSLI-Y Chinese program in Shanghai. Upon arriving in China, one major challenge was learning the transportation system. This was her first experience with international travel, and her host family lived on the outskirts of Shanghai with no subway line. As a result, her commute to school involved finding her way on several modes of transportation. In order to succeed, she often foundRead More
Julius Mitchell says he began studying Chinese by accident. He had studied Spanish in his middle school in Chicago and had hoped to continue it in high school. When registering for language classes at his math, science and world language high school, he listed Spanish as his first choice and, on a whim, listed Chinese as his second choice. When he was placed in Chinese classes, he was shocked at first, but quickly fell in love with the language. He especially enjoyed using a different part of his brain toRead More
Coca-Cola Scholars Banquet
On April 3, 2014, NSLI-Y India, Academic Year 2012-13 Alumna Maddie attended the Coca-Cola Scholars Banquet, which honored 150 nationally recognized recipients selected as “exceptional people [with a] thirst for knowledge and desire to make a difference in the world,” according to the Coca Cola Scholarship foundation. The banquet was highlighted by keynote speaker and former Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, whom Maddie was given the distinguished honor of being paired with for the event. “I was recently named a Coca-Cola Scholar, and at the banquet held for theRead More

Posted On August 14, 2017By Signe KnutsonIn Arabic

Bringing Down Barriers: Nicholas in Morocco

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
"This picture includes a few of the many NSLI-Yians who I became very close to. We were wearing the Korean traditional clothing called hanbok/한복 at the National Museum of Korea."

Posted On August 14, 2017By Nicole WeitznerIn Korean

From Basic Greetings to a Human Connection

Excerpts from an interview with alumna Bilqees, NSLI-Y South Korea, Summer 2015 Bilqees sought out opportunities to study Korean even before she knew about NSLI-Y. Early in high school, she started learning it online “on a whim” and later enrolled in weekly classes at a Chicago-area Korean-American Community Center. Bilqees learned about NSLI-Y in her high school Arabic class and was ecstatic to learn of the Korean language option. It is this curiosity and openness to new experiences that seems to have helped Bilqees develop her language skills as aRead More

Posted On August 14, 2017By Nicole WeitznerIn Arabic

“Embrace your Third Culture”

“Be proud of who you are… be proud of where you’re from, but embrace your third culture.” – Tania, NSLI-Y Morocco, Summer 2015 Excerpts from an interview with alumna Tania, NSLI-Y Morocco, Summer 2015 As one of few bilingual students in her southern Indiana elementary school, Tania identified language differences from an early age. Her Salvadoran family was the source of her Latina identity, but she recalls, “I was astounded by the amount of languages in the world.” Her curiosity led her online to pick up other languages and, years laterRead More

Posted On August 14, 2017By Ligaya BeebeIn Chinese (Mandarin)

Rewarding Challenges: Natalie in China

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
Lauren pictured with her host family at the airport
Starting a new chapter of my life at American University has made me reminiscent about my NSLI-Y experience in Zhuhai, China. Learning how to navigate a new city has reminded me of trying to blend in on the streets of Zhuhai, even though I was clearly a “老外”, or foreigner.  While it has been a few years since my NSLI-Y program, the lessons I learned both in and out of the classroom continue to contribute to my personal, academic, and professional growth. Being immersed in a different lifestyle with aRead More
Madeleine standing with peers in traditional outfits

Posted On July 31, 2017By Signe KnutsonIn Arabic

A Dandelion in Marrakech

In military communities, there is a saying that military brats (children of service men and women) are like dandelions—they can grow anywhere. I reminded myself of this as I packed eight months’ worth of modest, desert-appropriate apparel into two large suitcases. In September of 2015, my mom drove me from Fort Bragg, NC, to Washington, DC, with my luggage and a complete lack of Arabic language skills, for my NSLI-Y Pre-Departure Orientation. A few days later, with my Resident Director and eleven other students, I boarded a plane headed toRead More
Shobhit at American Councils with Alumni Representatives
After being raised in a small town in Maryland, Shobhit Kumar had the opportunity to attend an international high school in New Mexico called United World College (UWC), where the majority of the students are international. While there, he was exposed to many foreign cultures for the first time. UWC is also where he first learned about NSLI-Y from peers. His decision to apply to learn Chinese was influenced by his Chinese friends at UWC; although they were close friends, he still felt a cultural gap. He concluded that studyingRead More