The application deadline for 2013-14 NSLI-Y programs has passed. Applications for 2014-15 programs will be available in the late summer of 2013.
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Information on NSLI-Y for parents
Studying abroad in high school can benefit students in a multitude of ways, but the decision to allow your child to participate can be a difficult one for many parents. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether or not NSLI-Y is the right choice for your child. We have compiled the information below to help you make the best decision for your child.
Student Safety and Well-Being
The safety and well-being of our participants is the highest priority of NSLI-Y program administrators. We structure our programs to ensure participant safety and well-being, and we actively prepare students to make good decisions about their own safety and health while traveling. It is imperative that students and their natural families work with NSLI-Y to make decisions that affect the student’s well-being while on program. Living and studying abroad is a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. Despite the excitement of exploring a new language and region of the world, exchange students frequently experience homesickness, loneliness, and other challenges as they adjust to their new environment. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program.
We ask that students share personal information with us during the application process to help us plan for their success on the program. Personal health and family history information will not be evaluated as part of the selection process, but that information is important for assigning the students to an appropriate program module. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavior or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also impact a student’s participation. In order to help NSLI-Y staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience on the NSLI-Y program, please inform us of these situations on the application or as soon as possible thereafter.
NSLI-Y participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations. While organizational structures vary, field staff and trained volunteers in the host country support participants, host families, and natural parents. While on a NSLI-Y program, your child will have regular contact with a trained, program coordinator or resident director who will provide additional support when necessary.
U.S. Department of State Involvement
NSLI-Y is a collaborative program between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the international exchange organizations implementing the program. 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 at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the host country.
Most NSLI-Y programs feature home-stays with host families that have been carefully screened and selected. Some programs place students in host families for the full program duration. Other programs place students in well-monitored dormitories and assign them to host families for weekends or for a segment of the program. All host families receive formal orientation and training to sensitize them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. Resident directors or local coordinators provide support to participants and host families throughout the program.
NSLI-Y provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the NSLI-Y experience begins in the spring, shortly after the finalists are selected. Orientation activities may include online resources, handbooks, telephone conference calls, opportunities to speak with NSLI-Y alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in their departure city that will address how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.
NSLI-Y implementing organizations are supported by the U.S. Department of State and many are listed by the Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET).
With safety in mind, all participants are expected to follow NSLI-Y guidelines and conditions. These guidelines and conditions are outlined in the Participant Agreement, which is part of the application.
NSLI-Y is prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Every NSLI-Y implementing organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. NSLI-Y consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
NSLI-Y participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the cases of emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible in the host country. NSLI-Y participants have the same coverage as other U.S. Department of State-funded travelers. Read more about ASPE coverage.
Find out more about the NSLI-Y program by listening to podcasts from some our recent alumni on the Media Gallery page.