Virtual NSLI-Y, a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, introduces U.S. high school students to languages critical to U.S. national security. Launched in 2019, Virtual NSLI-Y is a 10-week, online, beginner-level foreign language and culture experience, in line with the ACTFL World Readiness Standards. Virtual NSLI-Y also introduces participants to the people and culture of places where the target language is spoken.
Participants are placed into a virtual class of approximately 10 students with an experienced teacher that meets two times per week for 90 minute sessions. Virtual NSLI-Y includes cultural learning and fosters intercultural understanding, designed in line with Asia Society’s Four Domains of Global Competence.
Available Languages in Beginner Level Only: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Russian, Turkish
Language Level Goal: Novice Low
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Virtual NSLI-Y programs may include the following elements:
Virtual NSLI-Y will be offered in Fall 2021 (Sept – Dec) and in Winter 2022 (Jan – March). There will be two separate application cycles. Students may only take part in one Virtual NSLI-Y program.
Classes for the Fall 2021 program will begin the week of September 13 and continue through the week of November 15 for ten weeks of instruction. Pre-program activities will take place in August and September. The application for the Fall 2021 program is has closed.
Classes for the Winter 2022 program will begin the week of January 10 and continue through the week of March 14 for ten weeks of instruction. Pre-program activities will take place in December and January. Application deadline for the Winter 2022 program is October 20, 2021.
In total, the Virtual NSLI-Y program offers a minimum of 30 hours of formal, synchronous instruction. Participants should also expect 3 hours of pre-program preparation before the first session (student orientation, pre-program assignments, and a practice session), up to 3 hours of assignments or homework per week outside of class sessions, and additional optional meetings (for student community-building, cultural opportunities, etc.) outside of regular class times.
Sessions will be 90 minutes each, twice per week. Individual class dates depend on a student’s class schedule (see options below). Attendance requirements will apply.
Virtual NSLI-Y applicants will indicate their preferences for class times in the application. Applicants must rank all schedule options. Those selected for the scholarship will be informed of their status and class placement by early August 2021 for the Fall 2021 program and in November/December 2021 for the Winter 2022 program. Preferences are not guaranteed as class placement will depends on teacher availability and other factors. *Virtual NSLI-Y sessions will not take place on U.S. federal holidays; schedule adjustments to account for this will be communicated to students.*
• U.S. citizen
• U.S. High school student for 2021-22 academic year, between ages of 15-18 at the start of the school year (Birthday range: September 13, 2002 - September 9, 2006) based in the U.S.
• A beginner/novice-level learner in the selected target language, who:
Students who require accommodations for disability or chronic illness are encouraged to apply. Applicants may share information about necessary accommodations in their application; this information will not be considered in the selection process. Finalists will be provided with a disability policy and instructions on how to request reasonable accommodations.
Pre-Program Requirements: Prior to the start of virtual class sessions, participants are expected to complete:
• Student orientation
• Address and contact information updates (for shipping and program contact purposes)
• Accommodations requests, if needed
• Pre-program survey
• Practice session to meet teacher/classmates
• Brief assignments or readings as specified by the teacher prior to the program’s start
• Other surveys, as requested
• Attendance: Students may be considered for dismissal if they miss 3 or more classes. Students must review material that they missed when absent and complete all assignments on schedule.
• Homework assignments and projects
• Additional student group meetings for community-building outside of class hours, cultural opportunities, and U.S. Department of State presentations
• Post-program survey
• Closing Ceremony
Program Terms and Conditions
In 2021-22, there are two Virtual NSLI-Y programs, Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 with different application cycles.
• Application open: April 2021
• Application deadline: June 10, 2021
• Notification of Status and Placement: Early-Mid August 2021
• Pre-program requirements: late August - early September 2021
• Program dates: week of September 13 and continue through the week of November 15
• Post-program requirements: late November – mid December 2021
Why Virtual? NSLI-Y was created to promote and facilitate critical language learning among U.S. high school students through immersive study abroad academic programs. Not every student will be able to study language abroad on NSLI-Y or similar immersive programs, but this virtual format provides another opportunity for U.S. students to experience the academic, cognitive, and cultural benefits of studying critical languages even if they are not offered in their school curriculum. There has been a significant amount of research done on the benefits of studying a language. Read the research on language study benefits. Language learning can also serve as a foundation “to build bridges of understanding” and become more competitive in the 21st century globalized labor market. Read more here about international exchange.Good to Know: An American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, “America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century”, stresses the value and importance of increased “access to language education for all U.S. citizens, irrespective of geography, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background”. Some of the challenges that schools face in meeting this goal (lack of language teachers, little additional resource capacity, large grant focus on STEM curriculum, etc.) can be addressed with virtual, synchronous instruction. Besides “virtual”, there are many different terms to describe online learning environments and methodologies. Read more about of the vocabulary of digital learning spaces and designs.
Explore multimedia stories about NSLI-Y experiences on NSLI-Y Interactive.
Questions? Need more info? Contact us at 866.790.2086 or email@example.com
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