On Wednesday, December 21st at 7:00 PM EST, NSLI-Y Interactive will host our final virtual event of 2022: "Celebrating Holidays with NSLI-Y".

A panel of NSLI-Y summer and academic year alumni will share their experiences celebrating holidays within their host locations. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with panelists through a Q&A session at the end of the virtual event.

To register for this virtual event, you can click on the following link: https://bit.ly/NSLI-YHolidays

Meet the speakers below!

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumna Aynaz

Aynaz, Arabic Summer 2022

Aynaz (she/her) is an alumna of the 2022 Arabic Summer program in Rabat, Morocco with iEARN-USA. She currently resides in Illinois in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.

A very notable holiday she celebrated during her NSLI-Y program was Eid al-Adha. Leading up to the holiday, Aynaz could hear the different sheep ‘baa’-ing from different houses in her neighborhood. She enjoyed how everyone from her host family got together to celebrate Eid al-Adha, and how included she felt during such a sacred holiday.

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumna Italia

Italia, Indonesian Summer 2022

Italia (she/her) is from Los Angeles, California, and she participated in the 2022 Indonesian Summer program in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with AFS-USA.

During her NSLI-Y program, Italia celebrated Eid al-Adha, a holiday sacred to Islam. The morning of, she recalls joining her host family while they prayed with the local community, before helping to set up the breakfast table with her host siblings.

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumnus Liam

Liam, Arabic Summer 2022

Liam (he/him) participated in the 2021 Arabic Virtual Summer program hosted by teachers in Jordan, and the 2022 Arabic Summer in Marrakech, Morocco with American Councils! Currently, Liam is a high school senior from High Point, North Carolina.

While in Morocco, he also celebrated Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha was a wonderful experience for Liam, because he got to spend time with his host family's extended family and witness a beautiful holiday celebrating sacrifice and charity. His whole family working together to slaughter, prepare, and feast on sheep was the most memorable part of the holiday.

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumnus Rohan

Rohan, Arabic Summer 2022

Rohan (he/him), completed the 2022 Arabic Summer program, in Rabat, Morocco with iEARN-USA. Currently, Rohan is a senior in high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

During his NSLI-Y program, Rohan was also able to experience the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, and it was a great way to connect with his host family, learn about Moroccan culture, and further his immersion. Along with the celebrations, Rohan enjoyed learning to cook the various foods associated with the holiday, and it was wonderful to experience his host family's traditions.

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumnus Othman

Othman, Arabic Academic Year 2018-2019

Othman (he/him) is an alumnus of the 2017-2018 Arabic Academic Year program in Rabat, Morocco with Amideast. He is working on his bachelor's degree at Université Grenoble Alpes in France, and is currently studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan.

A very notable holiday he celebrated during his NSLI-Y program was the Prophet Muhammed's birthday, otherwise known as Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif, where traditional instruments are played in the streets with singing and chanting, and people gather together to celebrate, eat special food and wear traditional Moroccan jellabas and kaftans.

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumnus Poppy

Poppy, Korean Academic Year 2019-2020

Poppy (he/him) is an alumnus of the 2019-2020 Korean Academic Year program in Seoul, South Korea with iEARN-USA. He is currently studying Digital Marketing at the University of Central Oklahoma, in Oklahoma City.

During his NSLI-Y program, one of his most memorable holiday experiences was he and his cohort's celebration of 'Friendsgiving', which took place on the U.S. Thanksgiving Day. He and his fellow cohort members met with North Korean refugees/defectors, shared traditional foods from both South and North Korea as well as American Thanksgiving classics, played games, and shared stories about their respective cultures, past hardships, and adjustments to a new culture in South Korea. This celebration was particularly memorable to Poppy, as it was incredibly eye-opening to learn the stories of silenced voices from Korean history, getting a deeper understanding of the nation's dynamics, all while using his target language and making lasting connections with the people he met.

A headshot of NSLI-Y alumna Tiketa

Tiketa, Chinese (Mandarin) Academic Year 2021-2022

Tiketa (they/she) is currently a high school student in Rochester, New York, and participated in the 2021-2022 Chinese (Mandarin) Academic Year program in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with iEARN-USA. During their NSLI-Y program, some notable holiday experiences Tiketa had involved the Lunar New Year, and Children’s Day.

For Lunar New Year, Tiketa recalls spending time with their host family and other NSLI-Y alumni. Tiketa spent the holiday weekend in Tainan going to museums, enjoying hotpot at local restaurants, and visiting temples learning how her host family worshiped! Tiketa and previous host students spent the night of Lunar New Year at their host-grandmother’s house eating and celebrating with the traditional red envelopes of the holiday.

For Children’s Day, Tiketa spent more time with NSLI-Y friends and their host family, visiting the island of Xiao Liu Qiu to go snorkeling and barbecue. It was nice for Tiketa to connect with their little host siblings and host parents while exploring a different part of Taiwan.