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- U.S. citizen
- Grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent
- 15-18 years of age at start of program (birthdate between July 10, 1998 and June 10, 2002 for summer programs; birthdate between September 20, 1998 and June 30, 2002 for academic year programs)
- Enrolled in high school (grades 9-12, including home school) at the time of application
- Not an immediate family member of an employee of the U.S. Department of State who works in the Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs or an employee at a NSLI-Y administering organization whose duties involve the NSLI-Y program
- Have not previously traveled outside the U.S. on a long-term (more than eight weeks) program sponsored by the Youth Programs Division of the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)
Previous NSLI-Y summer program participants or alumni of ECA-funded short-term programs are only eligible to apply for a NSLI-Y academic year program.
Click here to read additional eligibility criteria from the U.S. Department of State for the 2017-2018 program year.
Previous language study is not a requirement. Students of all levels of language ability are welcome to apply. However, please note that the majority of NSLI-Y participants are at novice or intermediate levels at the start of the program.
The NSLI-Y program seeks applicants who represent the diversity of the United States. Students of all racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds are encouraged to apply, as are students with disabilities. Given that NSLI-Y seeks to support qualified participants who may not otherwise be able to study language abroad, previous international travel or study experience may be considered in the selection process.
Is NSLI-Y right for you?
My host sister and I celebrated Turkish traditions and I ate Turkish food everyday, listened to the call to prayer and lived in Turkey as a local. This experience has given me confidence, passion, and independence; qualities that I am ever so grateful for.- NSLI-Y Summer Participant
NSLI-Y is a prestigious and selective overseas immersion experience for American youth. The goal of NSLI-Y is to promote critical language learning among American youth and to spark a lifetime of interest in language learning. NSLI-Y aims to guide students toward using language in their university and professional careers 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 and research projects. All participants should expect to have homework and take exams during the course of the program. While classes are taught by trained and experienced teachers, students should be prepared to experience teaching methods that may differ from what they are used to in U.S. classrooms. These intensive language courses are complemented by cultural immersion activities, including homestays, excursions, and local community service projects.
NSLI-Y is focused on language acquisition, not travel or sightseeing; there is no guarantee participants will see any or all of the major historical sites in the host country. NSLI-Y is a very structured program and students are expected to participate in all program activities. Participants should not expect to travel independently in the host country; in most cases, it will not be permitted.
Successful NSLI-Y participants dedicate themselves to language acquisition through both formal and informal learning opportunities. Successful participants 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 expect to immerse themselves in the language and cultural experience; they should not expect to complete academic work for their U.S. school while abroad. Participants should also be prepared to demonstrate open-mindedness, flexibility, and initiative in negotiating the cross-cultural environment, as well as to navigate the challenges inherent to any cross-cultural experience, including conditions and circumstances significantly different from those in the U.S.
Before deciding to apply, learn more about the program by exploring this website, NSLI-Y Interactive and connecting with other students via Ask NSLI-Y Alumni, and NSLI-Y’s Facebook page, and Twitter account. We encourage you to discuss this opportunity with your parents and teachers. You may also want to talk with your teachers and school administrators about the possibility of receiving academic credit for your NSLI-Y experience.