Will Yu participated in the 2022 Korean Summer Program in Jeonju, South Korea. Will wanted to participate in NSLI-Y to achieve a deeper understanding of Asia. He became interested in Korean culture at a young age and was eager to explore a region of Asia with a culture different from where he grew up. Will notes that “living in a Chinese household in San Francisco, I didn’t have many opportunities to experience Korean culture. Nowadays, Asians are often grouped together as a single race, overlooking the diverse cultures within Asia - I aspired to understand and respect both the connections and distinctions between Chinese and Korean cultures.” Will also wanted to expand his perspective, and believes that, “NSLI-Y gave me the invaluable opportunity to practice communication and build friendships with people from the USA and Asia, developing a global perspective on issues beyond America. It's crucial to connect and collaborate internationally to address global challenges like poverty, healthcare affordability, and climate change.”​

Since participating in NSLI-Y, Will has enrolled in Stanford University, pursuing Data Science and Education. He’s retained his desire to see the world and connect with others, spending the summer of 2023 traveling to Europe. He will spend the upcoming summer biking and teaching across the United States with Stanford Spokes. He will be conducting workshops and learning festivals focused on introducing young students to topics beyond their standard curriculum. ​

Will has also been strongly involved in advocacy and community building regarding LGBTQ+ issues. He was sponsored to attend the 2023 Creating Change Conference, where he learned about youth organizing, radical education, and the intersection of AAPI and queer identity. Will used what he learned to unite the queer affinity spaces of the San Francisco Bay Area to organize the San Francisco March for Queer and Trans Youth Autonomy on March 31st, Transgender Visibility Day. Through organizing this march with other youth leaders, LGBTQ+ organizations, and the San Francisco government, Will learned “the strength and joy in our community and the importance, beauty, and power of radical organizing. I was delighted when hundreds of attendees marched to San Francisco City Hall to listen to stories from queer youth and our demands for equitable rights for LGBTQ+ youth.” For others interested in advocacy, Will urges to never underestimate the power of group organizing. Will says that “Through collaboration and solidarity, we can achieve goals that might seem impossible on our own. The sense of unity and shared purpose fosters resilience, inspiration, and a sense of belonging. Organizing as a group not only empowers us to tackle challenges more effectively but also builds lasting relationships and a strong community committed to making a difference.” ​

Will is grateful for the lasting impacts that NSLI-Y has had upon him. He notes that, “navigating daily life, making friends, and communicating in Korea on my own taught me invaluable lessons in empathy, patience, and effective communication across cultural boundaries. The cross-cultural understanding and adaptability experience I gained through NSLI-Y has helped me to foster a deep sense of empathy - it is now the value that I lead with in all my interactions with others, professional or not. Participating in NSLI-Y was transformative for me, enhancing my confidence, independence, and leadership skills while fostering adaptability and resilience to navigate new challenges with confidence.”​

Will also encourages other LGBTQ+ students to participate in NSLI-Y. Will believes that NSLI-Y is a “unique opportunity to explore diverse cultures worldwide and celebrate the richness of identities, including our own as queer individuals.” He does note that participating in NSLI-Y as a queer person can be daunting initially, but he found that his cohort was “incredibly kind, welcoming, accepting, and ​understanding. NSLI-Y participants are global citizens who value diversity of opinion and background, setting aside identity-based judgments. This program truly offers a supportive environment where you can confidently express your identity and connect with peers and communities from across the globe. I cannot be more grateful that I participated in NSLI-Y.”​