About NSLI-Y

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 Participant, 2015
Educators ACIR Classroom

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 eight 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. Participants receive intensive language instruction, live with a host family for all or part of the program, and participate in community service and a variety of cultural activities. For a sample daily schedule, click here.


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 Wisconsin Madison, 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 2019-20 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 Participant, 2017

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

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