Studying Abroad in South Korea Again? (NSLI-Y Korea Academic Year 2018-2019)

안녕하세요 여러분!~

As evidenced by the title of this blog post and the featured image, I have been afforded the opportunity to yet again study Korean in South Korea thanks to NSLI-Y (The National Security Initiative for Youth). On April 12th, 2018, I received an email in my inbox informing me on my acceptance to the 2018-2019 NSLI-Y Korea Academic Year program!!! This program will enable me to study Korean for 9 months in Seoul, South Korea as a gap year before I begin my time at university.

NSLIY Acceptance 1

The emojis don’t just cover up my personal information; they also represent my exact feelings towards receiving this scholarship!!!~

It has been a little while since I found out for two major reasons: 1. I had to figure out if a gap year was right for me as an individual and a student. 2. I had to make sure that the university I committed to would allow me to defer my admission til the fall of 2019 as well as my scholarship.

The latter proved to be more of a daunting task because I had no idea how to go about asking for a deferral, and the FAQ section of the school’s website was only so helpful.

(Have I mentioned in a blog post where I will be attending college? Well, just in case I haven’t, I will be attending Columbia University in NYC as a QuestBridge Match scholarship recipient. I will be making a post on QuestBridge and my experience when it becomes more applicable– right before applications open, for example.)

It ended up taking about a week to figure out whether or not I could accept my spot on the NSLI-Y Program. This was very stressful and frustrating because it seemed that everyone in our finalist group chat had already been deferred and had accepted the scholarship. I wanted to be excited about the prospect of spending a year in South Korea, but I could not let myself until I knew it was official–because I honestly did not know whether or not I would be accepted. I couldn’t find any information about QuestBridge (Match) Scholars taking gap years, so I went through that one week in the dark and extremely anxious.

One week may not seem like a big deal, but after waiting since November to know of the results of my application, one more week was honestly very torturous.

But, finally, it has been figured out!! And, I will be going to South Korea with NSLI-Y yet again (but this time for 9 months!)

Story Time:

I just wanted to add how/when I found out that I had been accepted into the program! (More so for my remembrance, but hopefully you can find enjoyment or a few laughs from it!)

I was sitting in AP Spanish as my teacher discussed our plans for the Socratic Seminar we would be having after we annotated the reading (It was by a famous Spanish author. Jorge Borges I think?) And like the bad student I am (just kidding), I kept checking my email throughout the class. I truly did not think I was going to get anything because I thought (if they did come out that day) it wouldn’t be til after 3 pm. However, to my surprise, an email was waiting in my inbox with the subject line “NSLI-Y 2018-19 Application Status” and an attached PDF.

Emaill

Internally, I freaked out. But I was in class, so I had to contain myself. After class, tears started welling up in my eyes because everything started to become very real as I knew I could now check my email at any moment. I let my Spanish teacher know that I had received an email regarding my gap year (because she supported my wishes to take a gap year since the beginning of the school year) and that I would check it in the bathroom.

She offered her classroom because she did not have a class third period, but I knew I was going to cry (with either decision) and I figured being alone would be best. I went to the least traveled to bathroom in the school and opened the email. I read the first line and literally screamed. I erupted into a crying fit and I could not contain my happiness. I ended up missing the first 40 minutes of my third period class (American Problems) because I went to see my counselor to tell her the great news and calm myself down.

From there I told my friends and my (other) Spanish teacher who wrote the NSLI-Y recommendation for me as well as some teachers who were around. I waited to tell my mom when til I got home because, of course, in person messages are lot better than sharing the news via text message.

So that was how I found out! And I would like to just end this post with how utterly grateful I am to be able to receive another amazing opportunity to study Korean– especially because everything is paid for by the government. I am thankful for everything and everyone! I officially accepted the NSLI-Y scholarship on April 21st, 2018. Therefore, I could finally make this post! To more awesome endeavors in Korea!~

(P.S. I wrote a blog post earlier this year about my AY interview experience, but I will wait on posting it until December or January since it will be more relevant then! I will also post an updated interview tips/advice blog post then too!~ So look out for that– by following my blog!!)

고마워요!~ 다음에 봐요.

  • Emma 엠마

NSLI-Y Alumni Dinner Event (Chinatown, Chicago – March 29th, 2018)

안녕하세요 여러분! 你好 朋友们!

This past week I had the amazing opportunity to host an alumni dinner in Chinatown, Chicago (my first in-person event) as part of my role as this year’s Chicago (Great Lakes Region) NSLI-Y Alumni Representative! I had been planning this event for about a month or so and when the date finally came, I was so nervous! I really wanted to make a good impression on the other alumni by organizing a successful first event~~

CNY Event 9

Behind the Scenes: Preparation

I took over NSLI-Y’s Snapchat in order to document the event (Follow NSLI-Y on Snapchat: @nsliforyouth) and it was a lot of fun taking photos of the alumni! Plus, their introductory videos were very cute! We had some shy alums but I was glad that they were open to group photos~~

CNY Event 2

We started off the dinner event by introducing ourselves. It was interesting to see that we had a variety of alumni eating with us. We had two college graduates, one current university senior, and then two seniors in high school (including me). It was fun hearing about what they had done after their NSLI-Y programs: studying abroad, traveling, interning with the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, working for the Department of State, taking NSLI-Y (target) language classes, and even taking up new languages.

CNY Event 8

(Left to Right): Diana {Morocco Summer 2017}, Angela {China Summer 2011}, Teri {Egypt Summer 2010}, Me {Korea Summer 2016}, and Elizabeth {Morocco Summer 2014}.

We discussed Chinese New Year (even though this event is quite a late celebration) and its traditions. We allowed Angela to take the floor and share her experience studying in China. Though this was an event for the Chinese New Year, we still discussed all of our experiences and because the majority of the alumni present were Arabic alumni, I got to hear a lot about the Morocco and Egypt programs.

Till this event, I had not personally talked to any alumni that had participated in the NSLI-Y Egypt programs, so it was very interesting to hear from Teri. Let’s just say that programs have changed so much in comparison to the stories she told…

We talked about our language learning journeys, our host families, and issues of race and identity on program. Our discussions were quite in-depth and stimulating.

CNY Event 7

Of course, we also ate plenty of food (too much to be exact!)

CNY Event 3

CNY Event 4

We feasted on a lot of delicious Chinese foods: Beef Fried Rice, Mongolian Beef, Beef & Broccoli, Orange Chicken, General Tso Chicken, Mapo Tofu, and Vegetable Chow Mein.

CNY Event 5

Teri, Angela, and Diana enjoying the course!~

CNY Event 1

Elizabeth the Model ❤

CNY Event 6

Snapchat saw it first!

This event was a lot of fun and I enjoyed meeting these alumni and hearing their stories (while sharing mine as well). I hope that I can hold a few more events so I can connect with as many Chicago alumni as possible! Though we had a few cancellations right before this event, I am proud of the turnout~

To all the NSLI-Y alumni out there, make sure to join your regional alumni Facebook pages! This is where you will be notified about events in your area.

Thank you for reading this blog post!~ I hope you enjoyed~ 😉 Don’t forget to subscribe for future posts about events I host as Chicago’s NSLI-Y alum rep as well as other posts about language learning, travel, etc. 다음애 봐요!~

  • Emma 엠마