Hailey is an alum of the Fall 2023 Virtual NSLI-Y Korean program from Denver, Colorado. Hailey plans to continue studying Korean and achieve fluency someday.
안녕하세요, 헤일리예요! Hello, my name is Hailey (she/her). I am a high school senior from the vibrant city of Denver, Colorado. I recently had the incredible opportunity to participate in the Fall 2023 Virtual NSLI-Y Korean cohort. My fascination with K-pop ignited my desire to study the Korean language. This newfound love led me to explore other aspects of Korean culture, from movies and TV shows to delectable dishes.
In 2022, I stumbled upon NSLI-Y through a Dept. of State advertisement. Intrigued by their summer and academic year programs, I was drawn to the idea of immersing myself in a new culture. Before deciding to go abroad, Virtual NSLI-Y seemed like the perfect opportunity to dive headfirst into the Korean language and explore whether an extended stay program was right for me.
My Virtual NSLI-Y experience was nothing short of amazing. I found it refreshing to move from the many stresses of senior year of high school to be welcomed by a community of like-minded individuals in Virtual NSLI-Y who also got excited about the things I loved. Our teacher was incredibly supportive, and my fellow cohort members were as friendly as I could have hoped for.
Of course, there were challenges, like trying to get new vocabulary to stick. However, I found that making flashcards and reviewing them once or twice a day (only 5 minutes) made the language-learning process that much easier.
My studies and efforts to overcome challenges soon paid off. One rewarding experience was at my favorite local Korean BBQ restaurant where both Korean and English menus were available. Armed with my knowledge of Hangeul and the Korean vocabulary (which we practiced in class), I was finally able to read and understand parts of the menu and confidently order using the Korean dish names.
After completing Virtual NSLI-Y, I want to continue studying Korean with the hope of achieving fluency someday. I’d like to forge international friendships with other people who speak Korean and possibly work for the United States government as a diplomat.
For any new Virtual NSLI-Y student, I offer this advice: You'll reap what you sow. This program is an incredible opportunity with a phenomenal community of peers, mentors, and teachers. Dive in, stay engaged, and come prepared for lessons – the experience will be as rewarding as you make it.
If you're intrigued by my journey and want to embark on your adventure with Virtual NSLI-Y, I encourage you to learn more on the website: https://www.nsliforyouth.org/virtual/. The world of language and culture awaits!