image of nsli-y korean students smiling and posing together with a banner that has korean writing

The U.S State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) merit-based scholarship programs for high school students to study a foreign language abroad for a summer or academic year begin in Summer 2018 for Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Persian (Tajiki) and Russian languages.

Programs immerse participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them invaluable formal and informal language practice, and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures.

The application deadline for the 2018-19 programs is November 2, 2017, at 4 PM Eastern Time. More information on the application process and frequently asked questions may be found here.

Transport yourself to one of our host countries through NSLI-Y Interactive stories, which are written by current NSLI-Y students and alumni, and recount their invaluable experiences abroad. Below are some highlighted stories that may provide insight on your country of interest:

To access the stories, click the word "read" in your desired language category.

"In military communities, there is a saying that military brats (children of service men and women) are like dandelions—they can grow anywhere". Read about Madeleine's experience revitalizing her childhood passion for the Middle East through NSLI-Y.

nsli-y alum in front of buildings with intricate architecture with greenery in the background

Chinese (Mandarin): "By observing how the Taiwanese students reacted to their first glimpse of the Hispanic culture, I was able to make inferences on how the current generation of Taiwanese students accept and interpret cultures that are different from their own." Read about Anthony's experience as a cultural ambassador in building bridges between Taiwanese culture and his own.

"Language is the key that unlocks so much about people and different cultures. The answers to some of our world’s most complex issues could lie with someone who is obstructed by a language barrier." Read about Stephanie's experience in reconnecting with her Indian heritage by visiting India and ultimately realizing the power of language exchange.

Indonesian: No interactive stories are available for Bahasa Indonesian because it is the newest NSLI-Y language. Apply to study Bahasa Indonesian and your story may one day be written here!

"Prior to doing this project, I had only considered Japanese colonization of Korea as a broad concept, but because of this I could see how Japanese colonization influenced everyday life for individuals, which was made all the more poignant since we were focusing on people our age." Read and watch the comprehensive cultural analyses NSLI-Y Korea Academic Year 2015-16 students examined about modern Korean culture, covering topics from lightning-fast Korean delivery to Korean Buddhist architecture.

NSLI-Y alumna with her friends dressed in Moroccan attire.

Persian (Tajiki): "Mayesha Awal’s favorite subject has always been science... Along with her interest in science, Mayesha’s home life also sparked in her a passion for culture and languages." Read about Mayesha's experience in the scenic country of Tajikistan, and discover the interdisciplinary interests of NSLI-Y students and their unifying passion: language and cultural immersion.

Russian: "During my time at the host family, I have picked up many habits that I enjoy and plan to take back to my life in America. These include the never-ending supply of food to satisfy your guests when they may be too polite to ask, the punctuality and planning ahead of time for each minute of the day, the home and lounge clothes, the weekly farmers market, the constant supply of “chai”..." Read about the experiences of various NSLI-Y alumni as they describe their host countries making a long impact on their cultural awareness and daily habits.

Turkish: " “I anticipated how much Turkey would become a part of me, but what I couldn’t have predicted was how much my experience abroad changed my identity as an American. I had never realized how much internalized American-centric bias I had harbored…Living in Turkey made me realize that each country hosts its own universe of thought, culture, and creative wealth.” Read about Gianna's journey in developing her language skills to the point of seamlessly having conversations with her Turkish classmates, teachers, and host families; once she could tell jokes in Turkish, Gianna says, she knew could effortlessly express her personality as she does in English.