Life after NSLI-Y Tag

New Semantics: Student Language Magazine
Vanessa is an alumna of the 2018 Summer NSLI-Y Persian program in Tajikistan and editor of New Semantics, a language blog-magazine. Vanessa recently organized the virtual event, NSLI-Y Alumni Insights (NAI) in collaboration with New Semantics.  New Semantics, is a blog-magazine that showcases student creative work and expert interviews, highlighting student passion for language and culture. Contributors have studied 16+ languages altogether, hailing from Kentucky to the United Arab Emirates. New Semantics thus illustrates the multitude of perspectives in our diverse world, joining them in this forum for cross-cultural dialogue. New Alumni Insights (NAI) isRead More
NSLI-Y Alumni at 2019 Workshop

Posted On March 14, 2019By Meike FaberIn Global

NSLI-Y Alumni Representative Workshop

On the first weekend of 2019, 18 NSLI-Y alumni flew into the nation’s capital for the 2019 NSLI-Y Alumni Representative Workshop. The training prepared us for a new leadership role and fostered deep friendships! Every hour of our stay was packed with informative, skill-building sessions meant to enable us to fulfill our roles. From a presentation about Department of State resources, to a leadership training session, event brainstorming activities, trivia competition, and a public speaking hour, we all left DC with a new understanding of what it means to be a NSLI-Y AlumniRead More
Vanessa in Tajikistan!

Posted On February 20, 2019By Meike FaberIn Persian (Tajiki)

Alumni Spotlight: Vanessa

Vanessa is from in New Brunswick, NJ and participated in the Persian Summer 2018 program in Tajikistan. Vanessa is a language lover, plain and simple. This is apparent from the multitude of languages she is studying. Vanessa is a Chinese American, and grew up speaking both Chinese and English. She also learned Spanish in school and self-taught herself Japanese. She loves to spend hours studying the syntax and structures of languages. Her linguaphile tendencies hit a pinnacle when she participated in an International Linguistics Competition in Dublin, Ireland. At the competition,Read More
Kristin with friends in Moldova

Posted On February 7, 2019By Meike FaberIn Russian

Learning to Communicate

Kristin is from Chicago, IL and Winter Haven, FL and participated in the Russia Summer 2015 program and the Moldova Academic Year 2017-2018 program. “What have you learned about the world from language study?” I was fifteen years old when I uncovered my love for languages. That summer, I completed the NSLI-Y program in Kirov, Russia. It changed my life and ignited a passion for language learning. The next summer I intensively studied Chinese at the University of Mississippi. This past school year, I participated in the NSLI-Y academic yearRead 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
Alex with his host brother.

Posted On May 16, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Korean

Returning to Korea: One Year later

Alex is from Louisville, CO and participated in the 2014 Korea summer and 2016-2017 Korea academic year programs. 334 days, 11 hours, and 25 minutes after my initial departure, I find myself back in Seoul, South Korea; the city that was my home for 268 days, 10 hours, and 20 minutes. At first everything seems just as I left it, nothing changing, everything the same. I can still effortlessly navigate the subways by memory; I easily remember the location of my favorite candy at a local convenience store I frequented;Read More
CJ smiling with a friend.

Posted On May 1, 2018By Signe KnutsonIn Arabic

Alumni Spotlight: C.J.

C.J. is from Albuquerque, NM and participated in the Arabic programs in Egypt and Morocco. There is a saying in the NSLI-Y community that, “you are just one C.J. away from knowing everyone.” Meaning, Carlo James Aragon (better known as C.J.) knows so many NSLI-Y alumni and applicants that you are sure to have him as a mutual acquaintance. C.J. has touched many in the NSLI-Y community, spanning across cultures and continents. C.J.’s passion for cross-cultural connections has shone through during his two NSLI-Y Arabic programs and time abroad inRead More
Gavin and his friends jumping on the Salt Lake.

Posted On November 19, 2017By Signe KnutsonIn Turkish

“That’s So Niche”: Reflecting on My Summer in Ankara

Gavin is from Virginia Beach, VA and participated in the 2015 Turkey summer program. At Harvard, concentration declaration—that is choosing a major—is a significant step in the collegiate experience. For most students, this might be a fairly ordinary event as they join departments with hundreds of peers all studying the same topics. Government, psychology, and economics concentrators display their academic choices to all who will give nominal affirmation, whether it’s Facebook friends, relatives, or onlookers in the dining hall. But, if you study something as “obscure” as Turkish and MiddleRead More
Paula posing with a group of people.

Posted On February 14, 0201By Signe KnutsonIn Korean

Intercultural Learning through Internships

Paula is from Libertyville, IL and participated in the 2014 Korea summer program. Although it’s been a bit since my participation in the NSLI-Y Korean summer program in Seoul, the love of languages it nurtured in me and curiosity about the State Department and other international exchanges it fostered in me have continued to shape my life three years (and counting!) out. Many people in the exchange community know that I try to keep my experiences alive with a social media presence about my language-learning journeys, as well as connectionsRead More