大家好！我是Gabe Bowman，但是我的中文名字是波高。我是搞高四的学生，来自密歇根的安娜堡。我参加NSLI-Y的2021暑假中文项目。我申请NSLI-Y项目因为我很喜欢学外语。我想当一个翻译。我九年级学日文，但是我觉得日文太难了。所以，我的中国朋友告诉我 ”你应该试学中文”。我十年级学中文和耳闻NSLI-Y项目。所以我十一年级 申请NSLI-Y。
Hello everyone! My name is Gabe Bowman, but my Chinese name is 波高 (bo1 gao1). I am a high school senior from the Ann Arbor area of Michigan. When I applied to NSLI-Y, I had only studied Mandarin formally for a school year, but I knew that I loved it. I originally started studying Mandarin because I had some experience with Japanese, but thought that the grammar of Japanese was too difficult. So a Chinese friend of mine suggested I try Chinese, and I quickly fell in love with the language.
The next year, my school dean of students found NSLI-Y’s website and showed it to me on the off chance that I would be interested. At the time, I was looking to study abroad but only to improve my Spanish. However, over time it became clear that I was much better at Chinese than Spanish, so I decided to go ahead and apply.
I was notified of my acceptance to the program in April 2021, but to my disappointment it was going to be held virtually. However, given the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not surprised. Although the program was virtual, it was still an incredible experience. Every day we learned about 15-30 new vocabulary words, as well as 3-4 new grammar patterns. Every week we had a cultural activity and cumulative project, both of which utilized the words and grammar we had been learning that week. I had an excellent teacher who had the rare gift of being able to explain unfamiliar concepts using familiar words, all in Mandarin. Although the program was online, our teacher and the program staff did their best to make it feel like we were actually on the streets of Shanghai (where the program was based) through the cultural activities (my favorite of which was Chinese style cooking) and even a Chinese karaoke contest, which was a major feat to pull off virtually.
The online format did have some unexpected benefits, though. For one, I was able to continue my part time job over the summer and managed to balance my time between my responsibilities at home, my friends, and schoolwork from the program. For two, I was able to improve my speaking and listening skills quite a bit, despite not living with a host family. However, I think one of the biggest benefits of this program is how much you discover about yourself. During the first week or two of the program I was enjoying myself. By the middle, I was communicating with confidence that my 10th grade self never would have even imagined having. By the end of the program, I had become convinced that I was created to study and learn languages, particularly Mandarin. All in all, it was such a rewarding experience that words cannot begin to describe it. All I can say is that if you have a heart for global issues and a passion for languages, you can do no better than to apply for NSLI-Y. You will be amazed at how much just six weeks can change and improve not just your language skills, but yourself as a person.