Full scholarship program for high school seniors promotes study of strategic languages abroad

Published 12:56 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

By Staff
NEW YORK – The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program is offering 550 full scholarships to U.S. high school students to study abroad and learn languages that most students do not have opportunities to learn, but are rapidly becoming critical to know.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Youth Programs Division, NSLI-Y is designed to increase American citizens' capacity to engage foreign governments and peoples through the critical languages of Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Russian and Turkish.
The program is administered by a team of organizations including AFS-USA, American Councils for International Education, Concordia Language Villages and iEARN-USA.
Together, they will award U.S. government funding in the form of full scholarships to 550 U.S. high school and just-graduated students (ages 15-18) to participate in summer (six-eight weeks), one-semester and full-year language programs in countries where these languages are widely spoken.
"Recent years have demonstrated how important it is that Americans learn languages of countries that will be prominent in the 21st century," noted Lisa Choate, vice president of the American Councils for International Education. "Students in this scholarship program will be well-positioned for careers in a wide range of fields."
Programs immerse participants in language acquisition courses throughout their stay in the host country.
Students live with a host family, gaining invaluable formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures.
Students will attend school and interact with international students in person and through online technologies.
Students wishing to apply for full scholarships must: be U.S. citizens, be 15-18 years of age and enrolled in high school at the time of application, and have at least a 2.5 GPA.
Students may participate in the program during high school or during the "gap year" between high school and college.
Beginning language students are invited to participate, although all levels of instruction are available.
Fluency is not required, but students with oral and written experience in the program languages are especially valued for their experience.
Students returning from their NSLI-Y international experience will be able to apply their knowledge in university and professional opportunities.
For more information about the scholarship and to apply online, visit www.NSLIforyouth.org.