Testimonials of National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Summer Program Participant

About NSLI-Y: The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program was launched in 2006 to promote critical language learning among American youth. The U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with American Councils for International Education, awards and administers merit-based scholarships to high school students for participation in summer and academic year immersion programs in locations where the eight NSLI-Y languages are spoken. NSLI-Y immerses participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. NSLI-Y program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

By Amiya Wiggins

“When I came on this program, initially I did not know what to expect. I did not think that many connections would be made and I would only be learning Hindi. I was entirely wrong. While I was there in Indore, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and fully embrace the Indian culture. At home I did not wear any “feminine” clothing or have a “girly” attitude but, Indians are very strict about the gender roles, so originally I strongly objected wearing skirts, sarees or traditional Indian wear etc. I did not want to give cooking a chance and I didn’t like having to eat after my host brother or father. As the time went on, I became more immersed in the culture and gave things a chance. I wore the traditional wear and actually enjoyed it. I was also more open to helping my mother with cooking, shopping and serving/helping men in the family. In summary, I learned how to be more open to new experiences and ideas even if it conflicted with what I’m used to doing. I think I’ll be more adventurous in the future and willing to tackle more experiences right away. My goal is to travel around the world and help people, and I can be more beneficial if I am able to immerse myself in the culture.”