alumni spotlight Tag

Pablo Gutierrez’s music teacher gave him his first introduction to Chinese language and culture. To further this interest, he attended Mandarin Startalk summer language learning programs two years in a row. It was through StarTalk that he also learned about NSLI-Y and decided to apply. He participated in the 2016-2017 academic year program in Taiwan. Pablo was first struck by how different things were in Taiwan. From humorous things like garbage trucks playing whimsical music to more challenging aspects such as standing out as a foreigner, there was much toRead More
Jacob: Alumnus of the 2012 Morocco program

Posted On October 25, 2019By Meike FaberIn Arabic

Alumni Spotlight: Jacob

Jacob is from Malaga, New Jersey and participated in the 2012 Arabic summer program in Morocco.  Jacob is using his language skills to help the next generation learn Arabic. After returning from the NSLI-Y Arabic program, Jacob carried on his Arabic studies at high school during his senior year. He was so determined to continue studying that he had to drop his lunch period to fit Arabic into his tight schedule! It was during this time that his knack for Arabic linguistics began to take hold and the language became,Read More
Meliha wearing all blue sitting next to a blue wall

Posted On February 28, 2019By Signe KnutsonIn Arabic

Celebrating Food and Diversity in Morocco

Meliha is from Boise, ID and participated in the Arabic Academic Year 2017-2018 program in Morocco. While participating on NSLI-Y in Morocco, Meliha quickly learned that food brings people together! To bond with her host mom, Meliha spent many hours by her side, learning how to make Moroccan bread. During the holidays, she and her friends cooked a Christmas dinner for their local peers. And just for fun, she and her fellow NSLI-Y participant, Isaac, whipped up bagels for their Moroccan friends so they could experience a taste of AmericanRead More
Ingrid with her host mom
Ingrid, a current NSLI-Y student in Taiwan, was recently nominated as the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ American Abroad Student of the Month for January 2019. Congratulations, Ingrid! “Ingrid passionately integrates herself into her host community through volunteering. She planned and implemented English language classes for students and young adults, led cultural exchanges through sports and cooking with students at Qingye and Taiwu Elementary schools, and volunteered with a local food bank and an organization dedicated to assisting the elderly. In the latter, Ingrid was able to utilize vocabulary fromRead More
Group picture in Taiwan with students and their host families during orientation
Hailing from Seattle with one of the largest Chinese-American populations in the U.S., Wilson had always been surrounded by Chinese culture and language. As an Asian American himself, he saw the interaction with Chinese-Americans as an important cultural exchange. Wilson wanted to participate in NSLI-Y to continue cultural exchange through proficiency in the Chinese language. Wilson took part in the summer Chinese program in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Throughout the six week program, he participated in Chinese classes about four hours each weekday. During the classes, he and his peers would participateRead More
Photo of Kate on a swing
Kate is from Madison, WI and participated in the 2017-18 Chinese AY program in Taiwan. Born in the Guangxi Zhuang region of China, Kate Jasenski was adopted at a year old. She grew up embracing American multiculturalism with both her American life and Chinese heritage as a large part of her identity. To increase her connection to her Chinese background, Kate wanted to learn Chinese to make connections and build relationships.   “Language is the most basic way people connect with one another. Connecting through language would help me better understandRead More
John with his host family

Posted On August 14, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Russian

Alumni Spotlight: John

John is from West Branch, IA and participated in the 2017-2018 Russian AY program in Moldova. When John first stumbled across the NSLI-Y program, he assumed that it wasn’t for him. He had never left the country, so he thought a year abroad would be impossible. However, his interest in Russian culture and desire to dispel negative media portrayal of the country led him to give the application a try. It was as he was writing his essays that he really began to grasp what NSLI-Y entailed and how heRead More
Picture of Alex on the beach with Korean friends

Posted On August 7, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Korean

Looking back on a Year of Language Advances in South Korea

Alex is from Las Vegas, NV and participated in the Korea AY program from 2017-2018. Alex’s language journey began in 9th grade. Her first time walking through the many Asian markets of her hometown, Las Vegas, Alex experienced a new variety of smells, tastes, and most intriguingly, languages. “Las Vegas is one of the most racially diverse cities in America. I was fortunate to experience Korean, Chinese, and other Asian cultures first hand while growing up.” Korean culture provided the motivational spark for Alex to begin studying Korean. She didRead More
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