NSLI-Y (National Security Language Initiative for Youth) Beijing, China

DONE BY: Clara Spars | Sonoma Academy '16, Stanford University '21 | Santa Rosa, CA 

HOW OPPORTUNITY WAS FOUND: Through the dean of students at high school 

LENGTH: 9 months     

LOCATION: Beijing, China 

WOULD RECOMMEND FOR GAP YEARERS WHO: would like to fully immerse themselves in & get better/fluent at a language. 

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE (WEEKDAYS): 

  • 7:15am: Classes begin 
  • 8 hours of Mandarin classes/electives related to learning Mandarin 
  • Evening: 2 hours of free time 
  • 2 hour mandatory study session in dorms under supervision  
  • 11:30pm: Lights out (power automatically shuts off) 

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE (WEEKENDS):

  • Spent with host family rather than in the dorm; free to do whatever 

TYPES OF ACTIVITIES DONE:

Studying, sight seeing 

 PROVIDES:

  • Plane ticket, round trip to/from the city where program is located 
  • 3 meals/day, every day 
  • Accommodation 
  • Stipend for travel/souvenirs/snacks 

FUN: ★★★★☆

PERSONAL GROWTH: ★★★★★

TOP 3 TIPS: 

1.     Try to use the language as much as possible

2.     Go out when you can to find things to do

3.    Associate/interact with people across different generations--can learn a lot about culture this way

MOST MEANINGFUL LESSON TAKEN AWAY: 

Abandon all preconceptions of a place/people, and experience your time in a new environment without any expectations/stereotypes. This way, I gained a lot of adaptability. 

MORE NO CRAP TALK: The way I've described the program's daily schedule sort of makes the program sounds like prison, but I actually had a lot of fun! My favorite part of my time in Beijing was just walking around and exploring the city via subway.  

 

Jiyoung Jeong