Alumni Tag

Posted On December 4, 2019By Kyle SandmannIn Russian

Crashing Chisinau: My Summer in Moldova

AJ is from Elk River, MN and participated in the Russian Summer Program 2019 in Moldova.  AJ has always enjoyed learning about languages and linguistics. The first non-native language he learned was American Sign Language. He acquired this skill at the young age of five or six. As he got older, his interests shifted more to verbal languages. He studied French at an immersion school, picked up Hebrew at Shabbat services, and developed a taste for Soviet classics and Italian rap, among other examples. AJ went on to explore theRead More
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

Posted On November 20, 2019By Ligaya BeebeIn Chinese (Mandarin)

Rewarding Challenges: Natalie in China

Natalie Johnson was raised in Milwaukee. As a child, she developed an interest in East Asia through her passion for anime. During her junior year of high school, she took a Global History class that covered modern Chinese history, which sparked a specific interest in China and a desire to experience it firsthand. At this time, she learned about NSLI-Y through her older sister. Her dreams came true when she participated in the summer 2014 and academic year 2015-16 programs in China. Her NSLI-Y experiences were rewarding, but also challenging.Read More

Posted On November 19, 2019By Ligaya BeebeIn Arabic

Bringing Down Barriers: Nicholas in Morocco

Nicholas Wade’s future changed unexpectedly when he met a Foreign Service Officer at a career fair during his freshman year of high school. She described to him the life and work of a Foreign Service Officer; he immediately became interested in the career. When he asked what languages would be most important to learn, he was told that Arabic was in high demand. The officer also told him about the NSLI-Y scholarship to study less commonly taught languages. Because of that conversation, he began studying Arabic on his own afterRead More

Posted On November 14, 2019By Kyle SandmannIn Russian

A Visit to the Matryoshka Factory

Julia is from Milwaukee, WI and participated in the 2019 Russian summer program. In Kirov, Matryoshka dolls are begun by splitting a piece of wood into four. Then a piece is selected, and inserted onto a lathe that spins parallel to the master carver so fast that the wood becomes a blur. Our group stood back and watched him work. He stood at the table with a long piece of metal that had something almost like a straight razor at one end. He would touch it to the spinning wood,Read More
International Education Week (IEW) – a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education – is a national effort to promote programs that prepare youth with 21st century skills in today’s globalized world and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange life experiences with Americans while sending American students to various countries abroad to study languages and build cultural ties.  IEW provides students and alumni on exchange programs such as NSLI-Y with the opportunity to share their culture and experiencesRead More
Pierce at a Pagoda in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Posted On November 7, 2019By Kyle SandmannIn Chinese (Mandarin)

My Best Advice: Worry vs. Reality

Pierce is from Virginia Beach, VA and participated in the 2019 Chinese summer program in Taiwan. The best advice I got before spending the summer in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was from the handbook I received pre-program. It implored me to “expect everything to be much harder than you think it will be. Even basic daily tasks, like ordering food, are more difficult when done in an unfamiliar language and place.” At the time, this worried me. Had I gotten myself into something that I couldn’t handle? Was I in over myRead More
Gilda in traditional Korean dress

Posted On October 31, 2019By Meike FaberIn Korean

What I Learned Studying Abroad

Gilda is from Mastic, NY and participated in the 2018 Korean summer program in South Korea.  Having the opportunity to study abroad is a real blessing for anyone who loves to learn foreign languages and cultures. I studied in China as an exchange student when I was in elementary school, and the experience was so positive that I wanted to study abroad again. I found out about the NSLI-Y program when I was 13 and was immediately attracted to the idea of a program offering full immersion. NSLI-Y was a longRead 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
Turkish and Persian Virtual Alumni Event
On Monday, October 21 at 8pm ET, NSLI-Y Interactive hosted a Turkish and Persian Alumni Virtual Event! This event featured four alumni speakers from the NSLI-Y Turkish and Persian programs, who presented on why they chose their NSLI-Y languages, what they gained from their program experiences, and what daily life on a NSLI-Y program looks like. The alumni also shared advice they had for prospective students applying for NSLI-Y – don’t forget, the application deadline is on October 30! Attendees were able to connect virtually with the speakers and askRead More