All posts by Nicole Weitzner

Picture of Andrew holding dragon made out of candy.

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

Alumni Spotlight: Andrew

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

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

Posted On August 14, 2017By Nicole WeitznerIn Turkish

Why NSLI-Y Matters: My Distinctive Experience

Watch Noah’s video montage of the sights seen during the NSLI-Y Turkey mid-year orientation in Antalya, a popular destination for sightseeing and the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast. Below, he writes about how his experiences in Turkey have changed him and the true significance of cultural exchange.  By Noah, NSLI-Y Turkey, Academic Year 2014 – 2015 Whether it is the 14-year-old Syrian scrap metal collector, the Turkish soldiers on the train, or fishermen playing backgammon in the street, I am always willing to stop and have a discussion. BeforeRead 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
"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
The host family experience can be one of the most nerve-wracking and intimidating elements of an NSLI-Y program. However, as Russian Summer 2016 students Alex, Michele, and Grace quickly discovered, Russian host families have a special knack for making students feel welcome as soon as they walk through the door. After enjoying their host families’ warm hospitality in Moscow, these participants hope to bring some of those customs back to their families in the U.S. Alex: “Having ‘tea’ at my house in the U.S. will never be the same. I loveRead More

Posted On September 22, 2016By Nicole WeitznerIn Russian

Celebrating American Independence Day in Estonia

On July 7, NSLI-Y students joined U.S. Embassy personnel, Narva College and Tartu University staff, host families, and students from the University of Pittsburgh, to celebrate U.S. Independence Day in the Northern Yard inside Narva Castle. Despite the cold rain, everyone had a great time. Students had one-on-one time to talk with the Ambassador, who told them about diplomatic luminaries such as George Kennan and Charles Bohlen, and the experience of studying Russian in Narva-Joesuu. Elliott, the Resident Director in Estonia, took the opportunity to thank each host family for their hospitality.Read More

Posted On September 14, 2016By Nicole WeitznerIn Russian

Russia Beyond the Stereotypes

With so much media coverage of the current political situation, it is no wonder that many Americans view Russia in a negative light. Movie portrayals, news segments, and cultural stereotypes all contribute to a conception of Russia that often does not hold true once setting foot in the country. NSLI-Y Russia Summer 2016 participants Kaitlyn, Anna, Ashley, and Sarah found that life in Moscow surprised them in many ways, disproving more than a few expectations. Kaitlyn: “Before departing for this trip, I expected Moscow to be an entirely different worldRead More
A picture of Brayton and his host family on a dock.

Posted On September 8, 2016By Nicole WeitznerIn Chinese (Mandarin)

Opening the Door to Language Learning

When I first arrived in Taiwan, my expectations were slightly far-fetched. “It’ll be so easy!” “I’ll pick it up without even trying.” “I’ll be fluent in no time!” These were some of the thoughts that were floating through my mind prior to departure. Well, was I in for a rude awakening. Prior to my year in Taiwan, I had taken three years of Chinese classes in high school, but blamed my lack of proficiency on easy course material. I was convinced that simply living abroad would magically improve my Chinese skillsRead More