All posts by Kyle Sandmann

Join NSLI-Y Interactive on Tuesday, September 29 at 7:00 PM EST for the webinar Beyond The Classroom: Learning Languages Abroad. In this free virtual event, a panel of alumni and current students will share ideas on how to leverage immersive experiences while in their host countries in order to improve language skills. Panelists will highlight experiences that show how they were able to successfully learn and use their target language outside the classroom. The event will include presentations from each of the guest speakers, followed by a Q&A session.  RegisterRead More

Posted On September 17, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Indonesian

A Virtual Bridge Between Cultures

Zoey is from Rochester, MN and an alumna of the Indonesian 2020 Virtual Summer Intensive program. The NSLI-Y Virtual Summer Intensive speaks true to its name: two hours of language instruction every weekday on Zoom, cultural classes on Sundays, cultural projects, two calls per week with our peer leaders, and completing the Global Competence Certificate. I looked forward to all of it. In those packed five weeks, I learned more and grew more online than I had imagined possible. Language classes contained a mix of vocabulary and images, basic grammarRead More
To ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) chose to make its summer program entirely virtual. The NSLI-Y Virtual Summer Intensive (VSI) program of 2020 was a virtual alternative to NSLI-Y’s standard summer programming that aimed to provide an intensive virtual language learning experience for NSLI-Y students. The program ran for five weeks from July 6 – August 7, 2020, with programs in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian (Bahasa), Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Turkish, and Russian. In addition to providing anRead More
Caine and his classmates practice yoga virtually

Posted On September 4, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Hindi

I Am Become Death: An Essay on Sanskrit Literature

Caine is from Noblesville, IN and an alumnus of the Hindi 2020 Virtual Summer Intensive program. Over the past five weeks, I have been learning Hindi with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Virtual Summer Intensive (NSLI-Y VSI). The NSLI-Y VSI is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in which we dedicate five weeks to the study of a critical language—mine being Hindi. As the culmination of the program approached, I dedicated myself to the study of ancient Sanskrit literature. WhileRead More
Elias at a Buddhist Temple in Korea

Posted On August 28, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Korean

Buddhism in Korea

Elias is from Asheville, NC and an alumnus of the Korean AY 2019-20 program in Seoul, South Korea. After a temple stay cultural excursion with our implementing organization, my curiosity surrounding Buddhism sparked. The temple was only a short bus ride from where my host family lived, and my host mother encouraged me to go back after I told her how much I enjoyed my first experience. I would visit on weekends, and would practice yoga or meditations by myself on the grounds. One of the Nuns whom I had metRead More
Table of goods at Huimin Jie Market in Xi'an, China

Posted On August 21, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Chinese (Mandarin)

Huimin Jie Market

Aparna is from Madison, AL and an alumna of the 2019 Chinese summer program in Xi’an, China. Huimin Jie’s labyrinthine avenues are studded on either side with food stands and assorted shops. Vendors call to the throngs of patrons who trickle past the stalls, and it is the sizzles and scents of their frying meats and doughs that dominate the environment. To turn one corner is to come upon the pair of confectioners who pound with wooden hammers a stubborn chunk of crystal candy. Continuing the stroll, one will soonRead More
Aurelia with her YES Abroad host family
Aurelia Vanderwilde is an alumna of the 2018 Indonesian Summer program in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Two years ago, I studied abroad for six weeks on the NSLI-Y Indonesian summer program and this experience changed the trajectory of my life. I had always known that I wanted to study abroad, I took Chinese classes when I was younger and then participated in a Startalk summer program, which is where I learned about NSLI-Y. I first applied to NSLI-Y as a high school freshman but, was unfortunately not selected. The next year IRead More
Anna in a park in Beijing, China

Posted On August 7, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Chinese (Mandarin)

The Lessons of the Wenwan Walnut

Anna is from Waxhaw, NC and an alumna of the 2019-2020 Chinese academic year program in Beijing, China. Melodious music flooded the area as the fountain flared its water to the beat of the music. As I looked around for a place to sit, I spotted an open area next to an elderly Chinese couple. I mustered up all my courage to sit next to them and strike up a conversation. Unexpectedly, what began as a simple hello grew into a discussion about our families, traveling experiences, homes, and evenRead More
Grace in front of the famous temple at Petra, Jordan

Posted On July 31, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Arabic

Potatoes and Tahini

Grace is from Meridian, ID and an alumna of the 2019 Arabic summer program in Amman, Jordan. I grew up in Meridian, Idaho, where I had limited exposure to other cultures, religions, and ethnic groups. In my geographic bubble, the only information I ever received about the Middle East was from the lens of 9/11 or what I heard my family members discussing at the dining room table. For the longest time, I didn’t even know Arabic was a language. However, since beginning my Arabic learning process five years ago inRead More
Zachary takes a winter selfie while hiking on a mountain in Seoul

Posted On July 24, 2020By Kyle SandmannIn Korean

Historical Perspectives and Studying Abroad

Zachary is from Portland, OR and an alumnus of the Korean AY 2019-20 program in Seoul, South Korea. 안녕하십니까? 저는 한국에서 유학했던 재커리 램지라고 합니다. 2019년 9월부터 2020년 2월까지 서울에서 한국어를 공부하고자 고등학교를 다니며 홈스테이 가족과 살았습니다. 예전 NSLI-Y 한국어 동창들의 경험에 비해 올해 유학했던 학생들의 시간은 짧지만 특별했습니다. NSLI-Y 프로그램에 참가하고 한국 유학을 결정한 것을 한번도 후회하지 않았습니다. 우리 프로그램을 체험한 후, 느끼고 배운바를 조언하겠습니다. Hello, I’m Zachary, and I studied in Korea with NSLI-Y. From September 2019 to February 2020, I went to high school and lived with aRead More