NSLI-Y is and will always be one of the most important developments of the formative years of my youth. The program inspired a never-ending desire to learn more about not only different languages and cultures but also the hopes and desires that connect us as human beings.
– Tyler, NSLI-Y Arabic Alumnus

The U.S. Department of State’s 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 eight NSLI-Y  languages are spoken. NSLI-Y immerses participants in the cultural life of the host community, giving them formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. Participants receive intensive language instruction, live with a host family for all or part of the program, and participate in a variety of cultural activities. For a sample daily schedule, click here.

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

NSLI-Y is administered by American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, iEARN, American Cultural Exchange Service (ACES), A.S.E. Global Bridges, AMIDEAST,  Stony Brook University, and University of Delaware.

NSLI-Y Goals

  • To increase the number of young Americans with the language skills necessary to advance international dialogue, promote economic prosperity and innovation worldwide, and contribute to national security and global stability by building understanding across cultures.
  • To improve Americans’ ability to engage with the people of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Turkish-speaking locations through shared language.
  • 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 2024-25 application press release.

The summer I spent in Jordan was the singularly most defining experience in my life. I’ve never been so challenged, transformed, and inspired as I was when I navigated the challenges and wonders of living abroad.
– Julia, NSLI-Y Arabic Alumna