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Educators

My NSLI-Y experience greatly improved my skills and, more importantly, made me want to continue learning upon my return home.- NSLI-Y Summer Participant

ACIE ClassroomNSLI-Y appreciates the important role educators can play to foster global citizenship through public diplomacy by teaching languages that can help ensure the peace and security of our nation and beyond.  One way teachers can do this is by encouraging and preparing students for study abroad and language immersion programs that develop critical 21st century skills. 

NSLI-Y is grateful for the support educators provide to students in their continued pursuit of language and cultural studies when they return from a study abroad experience, which will prepare them for college and career readiness, as well as promote peace in an ever-changing world. This portion of the NSLI-Y website is intended to provide resources to teachers, counselors, administrators, and other educators to address the following:

  • Provide information about NSLI-Y programming, language instruction and qualities of successful NSLI-Y scholars
  • Support educators with the NSLI-Y Teacher Recommendation process and online form
  • Provide guidance on how NSLI-Y can support your global classroom activities in the United States
  • Encourage educators to spread awareness about NSLI-Y and provide resources for program outreach 

Because of NSLI-Y, I have developed a strong interest in international relations and journalism. I developed these interests due to my interactions with so many different kinds of people during my experience. Through NSLI-Y, I developed my courageousness, inquisitiveness, and open-mindedness and wish to transfer these traits into a journalism career in the future. - NSLI-Y Summer Participant

What kind of student is a good match for NSLI-Y?
NSLI-Y is a challenging endeavor. NSLI-Y participants are immersed in a foreign culture, often with host families, spending most of their days on program studying language and culture inside and outside the classroom. Successful NSLI-Y participants dedicate themselves to language acquisition through both formal and informal learning opportunities, even beyond the NSLI-Y program, and strive to succeed both academically, by improving their language skills, and culturally, by gaining an understanding and appreciation for a new way of life. Participants should be curious and interested in learning about other cultures, enthusiastically embrace their role as citizen youth ambassadors. Further, they recognize the significance of developing cultural sensitivity and possess the maturity to manage the “ups and downs” of a cross-cultural experience. Participants should be prepared to demonstrate open-mindedness, flexibility, and initiative in negotiating the cross-cultural environment. Participants should understand the importance of following program rules and guidelines, especially those related to health and safety. NSLI-Y is a structured language-learning experience, not a travel program, and participants should not expect to travel independently. Participants should also be prepared for the challenges inherent to any cross-cultural experience, including conditions and circumstances significantly different than the U.S. 

Students interested in academic year programs should consider the enormity of the long-term commitment and challenge. For many reasons, not all students are prepared for such an extended period away from home.

NSLI-Y language instruction and programming 
Community ServiceThe goal of the NSLI-Y program is to promote critical language learning among American youth and to spark a lifetime of interest in foreign languages and cultures. NSLI-Y encourages students to build on their language skills in their university and professional career choices, and to dedicate themselves to continued language learning far beyond their time on the program.  NSLI-Y scholars participate in intensive language courses on both summer and academic year programs.  Summer programs include a minimum of 120 hours of formal classroom instruction.  Academic year programs include at least ten hours per week of formal classroom instruction, and most programs include additional academic courses.  Language teachers have significant experience teaching language to speakers of other languages and are usually native speakers in the target language.  NSLI-Y provides orientation to language teachers to ensure their familiarity with NSLI-Y goals, integration of language classroom activities with enrichment activities, and U.S. high school students’ learning styles and academic expectations.  

These intensive language courses are complemented by cultural immersion activities inside and outside of the classroom, including homestays, excursions, and local community service projects. Successful NSLI-Y scholars are dedicated to language acquisition through both formal and informal learning opportunities. Scholars strive to succeed both academically, by improving their language skills, and culturally, by gaining an understanding and appreciation for their host culture and community.

Preparation
NSLI-Y provides a wide variety of preparatory materials and support to students for study abroad.  Preparation for the NSLI-Y experience begins in the spring, shortly after the finalists are selected. All students are provided with resources and guidance to study the language and prepare for their program before departure. Orientation activities may include online resources, handbooks, telephone conference calls, webinars, and opportunities to speak with NSLI-Y alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Prior to departure, students attend an orientation that will address language learning, intercultural learning, and how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.

U.S. Department of State Involvement
NSLI-Y is funded by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  ECA collaborates with American Councils for International Education and a number of experienced international exchange organizations in implementing the NSLI-Y programs. Cities and regions for NSLI-Y programs are selected in cooperation with the U.S. embassies and consulates in the host locations. Embassy and consulate staff in each NSLI-Y location are invited to speak with the students about locality-specific safety and health issues. The Department of State and the implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the NSLI-Y locations, and are in contact with U.S. embassies and missions abroad to ensure participant safety. All NSLI-Y students are registered with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Additional resources and information are available at travel.state.gov and studyabroad.state.gov

Students can find detailed guidance and information about the NSLI-Y online application at www.nsliforyouth.org/how-to-apply.

Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the NSLI-Y teacher recommendation process:

What should be addressed in the teacher recommendation?   
The confidential teacher recommendation is used to determine an applicant’s academic motivation and promise as an exchange student. The recommendation form asks for information about the applicant through both multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions. Teachers are asked to comment on the applicant’s behavior, peer relationships, and ability to work in groups. Additionally, teachers are asked to comment on the talents and skills of collaboration and communication that the student can contribute to an overseas immersion language program and their general suitability for an overseas exchange experience. 

Examples cited in the open-ended questions are particularly helpful to the evaluators. Before completing the recommendation, it can be helpful to talk with the applicant about his/her motivation for participating in NSLI-Y and how it relates to his/her future academic and professional goals.

The NSLI-Y staff and evaluators are grateful for the support of teachers in the application process.  Your honest, candid feedback about the applicant is appreciated and critical to the NSLI-Y selection process! 

How do I complete the online teacher recommendation?
Teachers providing recommendations for 2017-18 NSLI-Y applicants will receive an email notification and further log-in instructions for the online recommendation form from ais_accounts@americancouncils.org.  Recommendations must be submitted through the online application form by November 10, 2016 at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. 

If you have not received the email notification after your student’s application submission, please check your junk or spam folder.  If you cannot find it there, ask the applicant to press the ‘Request Recommendation’ button again in his or her application to send another message.

We recommend that you add ais_accounts@americancouncils.org to your safe or contacts list so that the next message does not go to a spam or junk mail box.  If the student is using your K-12 address, consider providing an alternative email address. K-12 addresses often block email messages from unknown sources, such as the NSLI-Y application system.

What should I do if I’m having trouble submitting my Teacher Recommendation?
If you have been experiencing technical difficulties, please email us at nsliy@americancouncils.org or call (866) 790-2086 and NSLI-Y staff will be available to assist you between 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. 

NSLI-Y alumni return to the United States with an increased understanding of their host culture and proficiency in the target language. According to a recent NSLI-Y alumni survey, over 95% of alumni respondents reported that NSLI-Y increased their interest in language learning and over 80% of NSLI-Y alumni respondents continue to study their NSLI-Y target language. These important skills help NSLI-Y alumni stand out in applying to colleges and jobs, and help prepare them for a global work environment. Given their enthusiasm, NSLI-Y alumni can inspire others in your school to study abroad, learn new languages, and become global citizens. 

NSLI-Y alumni share information about their host countries and cultures with their home communities and schools when they return to the United States. NSLI-Y alumni are provided with various resources to do so through the NSLI-Y Alumni Association and website.

During the 2016-17 academic year, NSLI-Y is excited to continue sharing the NSLI-Y experience with U.S. classrooms virtually. Please see the NSLI-Y Interactive site to explore various forms of media from NSLI-Y programs with your students. Through the eyes of NSLI-Y scholars and alumni, NSLI-Y Interactive offers insights on language study and facets of host communities and cultures. Throughout the 2016-17 school year, virtual events will be housed on the NSLI-Y Interactive platform. Sign up to receive notification about virtual events on the page and check the page throughout the year for updates and new stories from participants and alumni! 

Due to the enthusiasm for international education that is often strengthened by NSLI-Y, many families of applicants, participants, and alumni choose to host a Department of State-sponsored international exchange student. Each year, the Department of State provides competitive scholarships to nearly 2,000 high school exchange students from around the world to spend an academic year in the United States living with host families, attending local schools, and getting to know "real" Americans. These international students provide a wonderful opportunity for enhancing international dialogue and cross-cultural awareness - bringing the world into your school and community.

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