History of NSLI-Y

NSLI-Y was a pivotal moment in my life that encouraged me to explore the wider world, and to become a representative of my nation and culture wherever life takes me. - Daniel, NSLI-Y Korean Participant, 2012


The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) is a
program of the U.S. Department of State ’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. NSLI-Y is part of a multi-agency U.S. government initiative launched in 2006 to improve Americans' ability to engage with people from around the world. In addition to the U.S. Department of State; the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, and the National Security Agency offer a number of language-focused programs under NSLI. Learn more about NSLI-Y and other programs of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Since its inception in 2006, the NSLI-Y program has experienced dramatic growth in the number of languages taught and the number of scholarships offered. From 2006 through 2008, NSLI-Y offered study abroad opportunities in only two languages: Arabic and Chinese (Mandarin). In these three years, approximately 330 American high school students studied Arabic and Chinese on short-term, summer programs. Today, the program has expanded to offer summer and academic year programs to learn Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian, and Turkish. By the end of the 2017-18 program year, over 6,000 individuals will proudly call themselves NSLI-Y alumni.

The program's history of growth is testimony to the broad interest American youth have in learning and using these critical world languages. NSLI-Y offers an exciting opportunity for all young people who have an interest in languages to experience language learning first-hand through immersion in other cultures.


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

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