About NSLI-Y

The NSLI-Y program is a great opportunity to not only discover new cultures, but to reflect on our own culture from a different perspective. It was easily one of the best experiences in my life. - NSLI-Y Participant
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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 seven 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 is administered by American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, iEARN, American Cultural Exchange Service (ACES), AMIDEAST, Russian American Foundation (RAF), Stony Brook University, University of Delaware, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of Wisconsin, and other organizations.

Goals of NSLI-Y

  • To improve the ability of Americans to engage with the people of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Turkish-speaking countries through shared language
  • To develop a cadre of Americans with advanced linguistic skills and related cultural understanding who are able to use their linguistic and cultural skills to advance international dialogue and compete effectively in the global economy
  • To provide a tangible incentive for the learning and use of foreign language by creating overseas language study opportunities for U.S. high school students
  • To spark a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures among American youth

See the NSLI-Y 2018-19 application press release.
While in India, I immersed myself in the local culture, used language learning as a tool for diplomacy and promoting understanding, and gained a more well-rounded view of the world around me. - NSLI-Y Summer Participant

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Questions? Need more info? Contact us at 866.790.2086 or nsliy@americancouncils.org

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