The U.S. Department of State’s NSLI-Y program is a prestigious and highly competitive overseas immersion experience for American youth. The goal of NSLI-Y is to improve critical language skills among American youth and to spark a lifetime of interest in language learning. NSLI-Y aims to guide students toward continued language learning beyond their time on the program, and using language in their university studies and/or professional careers. See the Impact portion of our website to learn more about the average language learning gains and impressive achievements of NSLI-Y alumni.

Previous language study is not required. Students at all levels of language ability are invited to apply.

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 in the target language. Participants need to complete pre-program assignments and assessments, do homework, and take exams during the program. While classes are taught by trained and experienced teachers, students may experience different teaching methods from what they are used to in U.S. classrooms. These intensive language courses are complemented by cultural immersion activities. Participants can expect to engage in some physical activity during excursions, commute to school, and/or physical education class at the host school.

NSLI-Y is focused on language acquisition, not travel or sightseeing so there is no guarantee participants will see any major historical sites in the host country. NSLI-Y is a highly structured program and students are expected to participate in all program activities. Participants should not expect to travel independently in the host location; in almost all cases, it will not be permitted.

Successful NSLI-Y participants dedicate themselves to language acquisition through both formal and informal learning opportunities. Successful participants engage actively in academic activities to improve their language skills, and cultural activities to gain understanding for another way of life. Participants are expected to immerse themselves in the language and cultural experience, and to not do academic work for their U.S. school while abroad. Participants need to demonstrate open-mindedness, flexibility, and initiative in negotiating the cross-cultural environment, and navigating the challenges inherent to the immersion experience.

Learn more about the program by exploring NSLI-Y Interactive, and connecting with other students via Ask NSLI-Y Alumni, NSLI-Y’s Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter account. We encourage you to discuss this opportunity with your teachers and parents or legal guardians. You may also want to discuss with your teachers and school administrators the impact that participating in NSLI-Y could have on your graduation requirements. NSLI-Y cannot guarantee transfer of credit to a participant’s home institution, which is at their discretion.