National Security Language Initiative for Youth in Beijing, China

DONE BY: Olivia Gaunt | Wheeler School '16 | Wellesley College '21

HOW OPPORTUNITY WAS FOUND: Word of mouth, but you can find more about the program at www.nsliforyouth.org

LENGTH: 9 months

LOCATION: Beijing, China

FUN: ★★★☆☆

PERSONAL GROWTH: ★★★★★

KIND OF PERSONAL GROWTH EXPERIENCED: Dealing with ambiguity

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE: 

Wake up early, attend Chinese class from 8 am to 5 pm with an hour lunch break, free time off campus for 2 hours, study time in dorms in the evenings. On weekends, go out and enjoy the city with your host family and other friends!

DESCRIPTION OF WORK/ACTIVITIES DONE: 

Primarily language classes, but there are also plenty of volunteer opportunities, including many at the US embassy in Beijing!

PROVIDES: 

  • Housing
  • Accommodation
  • Monthly stipend

TOP TIPS: 

  1. Go to the website and start working on your application as soon as you can, because the program is quite selective and will involve regional interviews if you get far enough in the process.
  2. Definitely learn to pack light--remember often times you can buy necessities in the host country.
  3. Keep an open mind! This experience might not be something you're used to, and might be uncomfortable sometimes, but it's all part of the experience and you will learn from absolutely everything.

MOST MEANINGFUL LESSON TAKEN AWAY: 

I learned a lot about the way people act in cultures different from my own, and that all of those differences are just as valid when you observe their source.

MORE NO-CRAP TALK: 

Jiyoung Jeong