Life after NSLI-Y Tag

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
Alex with his host brother.

Posted On May 16, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Korean

Returning to Korea: One Year later

Alex is from Louisville, CO and participated in the 2014 Korea summer and 2016-2017 Korea academic year programs. 334 days, 11 hours, and 25 minutes after my initial departure, I find myself back in Seoul, South Korea; the city that was my home for 268 days, 10 hours, and 20 minutes. At first everything seems just as I left it, nothing changing, everything the same. I can still effortlessly navigate the subways by memory; I easily remember the location of my favorite candy at a local convenience store I frequented;Read 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
Gavin and his friends jumping on the Salt Lake.

Posted On November 19, 2017By Signe KnutsonIn Turkish

“That’s So Niche”: Reflecting on My Summer in Ankara

Gavin is from Virginia Beach, VA and participated in the 2015 Turkey summer program. At Harvard, concentration declaration—that is choosing a major—is a significant step in the collegiate experience. For most students, this might be a fairly ordinary event as they join departments with hundreds of peers all studying the same topics. Government, psychology, and economics concentrators display their academic choices to all who will give nominal affirmation, whether it’s Facebook friends, relatives, or onlookers in the dining hall. But, if you study something as “obscure” as Turkish and MiddleRead More
Paula posing with a group of people.

Posted On February 14, 0201By Signe KnutsonIn Korean

Intercultural Learning through Internships

Paula is from Libertyville, IL and participated in the 2014 Korea summer program. Although it’s been a bit since my participation in the NSLI-Y Korean summer program in Seoul, the love of languages it nurtured in me and curiosity about the State Department and other international exchanges it fostered in me have continued to shape my life three years (and counting!) out. Many people in the exchange community know that I try to keep my experiences alive with a social media presence about my language-learning journeys, as well as connectionsRead More