Angela Li is an alumna of the 2020 Virtual Summer Intensive Korean program, the 2021 Summer Korean program, and the 2022-2023 Academic Year Korean program. Angela currently attends the University of Florida where she studies Computer Science and Political Science and serves as a NSLI-Y Alumni Representative for the Southeast region. The opportunities to interact with peers in different cultural and linguistic environments through study abroad has reinforced Angela’s desire to work in an international environment. She hopes to work in the intersection of technology and politics and is hoping to join the Foreign Service as a diplomat.

Angela was inspired to study abroad by her older sister’s stories about gaining international friendships and new experiences while studying abroad in college. Angela sought out opportunities to study abroad as well, despite being a high school student. She believes that NSLI-Y was the perfect opportunity for her as it removed the financial barrier of study abroad and provided a chance to intensively study a language as a high school student.

Angela notes that studying Korean helped her to understand her role as a global citizen and connect with her Asian heritage. Angela says that, “While Korean culture is different from the Chinese culture of my heritage, comparing the similarities and differences between them gave me a deeper understanding of both. As a Chinese-American, I grew more into that unique identity as a representative of the intersection of both cultures. I became more confident in who I am because I was put in a new environment outside of my comfort zone.”

Angela’s favorite moments while studying abroad were many of the mundane everyday moments, “discussing politics over dinner with my host parents, walking to the subway station during morning rush hour while listening to music, playing uno with my host siblings late at night, and laughing at but learning from our target language mistakes. The Seoul subway song, night view from Namsan Tower, and smell of samgyeopsal will be forever ingrained in my head.”

Besides the strong language skills that she gained, NSLI-Y helped Angela to grow personally as well. Angela says that, “I learned how to be flexible, open-minded, and adventurous. I became more focused on living in the moment, finding joy and excitement in the small, mundane moments. I gained confidence in my ability to not only live, but thrive abroad. I would not be the person I am today without the NSLI-Y program.”