Learn a Foreign Language: Scholarships Available

Posted by Melvin W. Hall
January 9, 2009
Man in Front of Wall Engraved With Foreign Languages

About the Author: Melvin W. Hall serves in the Youth Programs Division of the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Recent conflicts around the world, highly publicized by the media with vivid images, urgent tones, and non-stop coverage, serve as a reminder of the "Great Game." It is the term used to describe the struggle that takes place between states, nations, political groups, and national leaders for power and influence. And the drama of the Great Game tends to exacerbate and reinforce the surface differences between cultures, nations, and governments. A foil to the Great Game is the "Quiet Game," which Djavad Salehi-Isfahani recently described as the "everyday game of life where families get up in the morning, have plans for themselves, [and] for their children." It is the Quiet Game, because we seldom hear about the family life of people from around the world, their individual interactions, their hopes and conversations about the future, and the reasons and circumstances which compel them to make decisions about their lives. And when we engage in the Quiet Game with people from around the world, we take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to learn about their individual aspirations and dreams for their families and children.

The Quiet Game, however, is not made available to us in the same way the Great Game is made available. Engaging in the Quiet Game with our counterparts from around the world requires commitment -- commitment to seek out cross-cultural encounters, commitment to learn someone else’s language, and commitment to live for an extended period of time in another culture. The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) gives committed American young people the opportunity to be full participants in the Quiet Game -- to sit down at the dinner table with their international peers and participate in their discussions and daily lives.

NSLI-Y, a Department of State funded program, provides full-scholarships for American youth ages 15 to 18 to learn Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Turkish in summer, semester, and academic-year overseas immersion programs. NSLI-Y programs immerse students in the language and culture of the host country through formal education and daily interaction with host country counterparts (families and communities). While participating in a rigorous program of language study, it is expected that most NSLI-Y participants will live with host families. In addition, community service projects will be an important part of the language curriculum. Participants will interact with their host country peers to complete various community service projects in their language of study, such as working in orphanages, promoting environmental awareness, and developing youth programs. In essence, NSLI-Y language programs are a springboard to a lifetime of language use and participating with people from around the world in the Quiet Game of their everyday lives.

NSLI-Y is a wonderful opportunity for all American youth who have an interest in languages and a desire to experience other cultures firsthand in a learning environment. The deadline for 2009 and 2010 applications is February 2, 2009.

Join the NSLI-Y Group at Exchanges Connect, an international social network, to meet past participants of NSLI-Y language programs, ask questions about NSLI-Y programs, and take part in on-line discussions about language learning.

You may apply for the program through the American Councils.

Comments

Comments

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
January 9, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Is there active program for older adults in this manner?

...Or are we considered disposible unless we are still active in Govt., influencial fiscally or of family namesake?

Good V.
|
United States
January 9, 2009

Anthony in U.S.A. writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- Joseph, baby!

Ya took the words right out of my mouth.

But in all reality, the answer to your question is a resounding, emphatic, "No!!"

Joey, baby, you are your own garbage man. You, and no one else, decides your disposability. The sooner you understand, the sooner you advance.

You truly "create" your own destiny. Heck, look at the fellows for example; they set their own stake and built an empire of freedom around, and around and around it. Brilliant!!

The planet truly spins constantly, regardless of our own miniscule, personal axis, it continues to rotate. The key is to properly gauge the rotation of the world in which we live in, estimate the proper trajectory, close our eyes, and jump in.

You'll be surprised how fast you'll be swept up in the spin of things. As long as you’re okay with "motion" you have nothing to worry about!

Joey, darling,

Just keep on truck’in. You must never hesitate. If another language is what you want. Learn it.

If you want to rub shoulders with the big boys, then get close. You need not another to grant permission.

This entire world belongs to you. Exercise your potential. They'll come runnin!

If you have more to bring to the table than only your appetite, you'll be invited to dinner.

Can anyone say "head of the table?"

That’s right Joe - Joe. You are not disposable . . .or are you?

The answer lies within.

Lesley
|
North Carolina, USA
January 9, 2009

Lesley in North Carolina writes:

In reference to the above youth program, I am 28 yrs of age and a City Police Officer and would like to learn a foreign language; my preference being Russian, however, I cannot afford to take classes and am unaware of any programs for people of my age. I am already paying back student loans from by Bachelors Degree and would like to apply for a position with the U.S. State Dept. but feel learing and knowing a foreign language would be helpful. Any ideas? I do however, think the above youth program is wonderful and only wish it were around when I was a child.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 10, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I'll take out trash for DoS anytime, but that brings me to a solution to the old timer's dilemma Anthony, ( having stole the words out of my mouth dude, I gotta think of something besides a worthy pep talk to cure the so called unworthy...or just too old and slow...in mind.)

I think if a person has a demonstrated interest, and meets the background check, I think State should invest in a work/study program. Not just for the young and impressionable, but for crotchety old farts like myself and Joe who could find new usefulness with having a few new horizons in the distance, while we earn our keep.

We ain't braindead yet...(chuckle).

Let's face it Joe, we actually serve a usefull purpose by making this blog readable...LOL! If that's any comfort...

Katrina H.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 10, 2009

Katrina in Washington, DC writes:

The Game Conflict

The Quiet Game, describes what we believe we know and experience daily.

The "Great Game" is right in front of us, yet seldom publicized and has the most affect on aspirations, dreams families and children. The Great Game consists of "Public Politicians and Players", hiding their own cards and taking ours! The game is played everywhere, right here as well as in other countries. Are the laws for disbarment the same? Do we pass "GO" and collect $200.00 or go to jail trying to shed light on this game?

K. H.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 10, 2009

Katrina in Washington, DC writes:

Can someone please tell me where the local laws are written regarding representation of Minorities? Thank you.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
January 10, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

LOL! What else can I say, and my lineage is rather rare, I have not forgotten Cornwall....

Rub shoulders with the Big who? Boys? LOL! Love it, you sound like Frank Carlucci when no one is around...

The question was put out there as it is apparent there are many on the board who may be interested in further development and all the references thus far as to aid or help are geared toward the youth for obvious reasons...yet one seems to forget, we were the generation who were supposed to change things...LOL! So what happened? Twenty years latter and Rip Van Winkle wakes up to the same world.....Tony Baby....Sweetheart...LOL!

Quando lei stato andato tanto tempo, lei deve assicurarla sa dove lei cammina. Mentre il paesaggio potrebbe aver cambiato, le persone che lei deve assicurarsi di...capice?

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
January 10, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

@ Lesley in North Carolina -- In reference to learning new languages my simple suggestion is alot of websites online offer free learning. Since I'm like an ideas kind of a guy, you have a multitude of ways of learning without having to pay big bucks.

- Library offers books and cassettes on learning
- Online websites
- Rosetta Stone language software is a brand name which does actually cost but it appears to be one of the best learning tools

Good luck and enjoy learning a new language.

John
|
Greece
January 10, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico, Joe in Tennessee and Anthony in U.S.A. -- I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.

A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself...

According to my poor opinion, it's very important to have you in here (in DipNote) guys. And, you make this Blog not only readable, but also "writable!" (Chuckle&LOL!)

I think that you are joking about your "ages," on the ground that as long as you still write, you are still "babies," willing to offer for a better world...

P.S. I do not know about the DoS jobs: so, Eric, apply.

Luke F.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 12, 2009

DipNote Blogger Luke Forgerson writes:

@ Lesley in North Carolina -- I encourage you to speak with the State Department's Diplomat-in-Residence at Duke University. He will be able to give you guidance on Department careers. His contact information is available here.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 12, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Age is a matter of mind over matter John, If you don't mind it doesn't matter, but it won't change the fact that I wouldn't get an A-1 medical clearance for world-wide service.

Hell, I'm just lucky to be fully functional, and I count my blessings.

----------------

"The Great Game" - End to a myth:

Ain't no game, great or otherwise, to call diplomacy such just cheapens the experience, and belittles the human condition.

It assumes "we the people" are just pawns in somebody's power trip. And that folks are quietly playing at living.

Now that dipnote has opened the pandora's box of public opinion on an interactive level, it's time folks started shedding old ways of percieving things.

Time to step outside the box of those definitions that limit private and public diplomacy.

When diplomacy is used as a tool to save lives, it is no game one can comfortably quantify by who wins or loses and keep score, quietly or not.

Unless you're into body counts.

(This myth busted for one and all courtesy of common sense.)

Melvin H.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 13, 2009

DipNote Blogger Melvin Hall writes:

Thank you for your questions about language programs for adults. There are several U.S. Government sponsored programs. Each program has unique eligibility requirements (may require enrollment at a university or college). I have posted the links to these programs below. I especially recommend that you look at what the Flagship Language Program has to offer. In addition, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Professional Exchanges Division offers reciprocal exchange programs for American and international fellows. I recommend you visit the Professional Exchanges Division website for a list of their programs. Finally, I recommend you visit your local community colleges or universities to ask about adult language programs and exchanges. These institutions may be aware of privately funded programs.

Undergraduate and Graduate Language ProgramsCritical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer InstitutesFulbright U.S. Student ProgramGilman ScholarshipsThe Language FlagshipNational Security Education Program (NSEP)

Ron
|
New York, USA
January 13, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Learn a Language....see the world.....

Reminds me of the matchbook cover: Can you draw this pirate?

Way too little; way too late for Bush & Co...

The Great Game could have been avoided,,,,,,

Instead, Bush made it a deadly game...

Quiet Game?....is that like wiretapping U.S. citizens?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 14, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Thanks for the links Melvin, I've tried a number of times to become an FSO so I have no illusions of my chances, but I'll give the Dip. in Res. @ UNM a call and see if there's a glimmer of hope to be had.

I should also add that my comments regarding "The Great Game" were not directed at you personally. Just to be clear.

I was just re-reading the post, and I realized it might get taken the wrong way. The term irks my sensibilities for sure, but I don't take issue with anyone personally for using it.

It just doesn't accurately reflect reality as I know it.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
January 15, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

QUOTE:John in Greece writes:@ Eric in New Mexico, Joe in Tennessee and Anthony in U.S.A. -- I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself END QUOTE...

Never considered myself a wild animal, though Mankind in General is still primitive by far compared to the leaps in technology we have made -- nor have I ever considered myself sorry for such. Perturbed at false accusations, etc. of the past perhaps and unwise personal decisions (like most people), but that's it.

As far as age, there is a reality to limitations and usefulness for certain occupations etc. and still cannot phantom why there is always a direction to personalize in tangents.

I appreciate the actual answers given to finding adult aid in learning new langue skills.

It is critical for many professionals at this time in America to become more mobile in their occupations unless Nationalization was to take place in industry here.

Fortunately, my children had the foresight to be multi linguistic at an expert level. I am afraid many of us older Americans never seen the need for such, as America was the Center of the Universe -- who would want or need to leave it for work or continue an occupation of choice, unless it was in another country by choice?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 15, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Joe, I think if you look back, you'll realize I've simply prodded you to be the best you can be.

Would you expect less from a friend?

I have no doubt John's comments were made with the same intent to the both of us.

Que vida loca! Here's to your success. Cheers!

John
|
Greece
January 15, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Joe in TN -- Dear Joe, I really RESPECT you and your comments. I think this makes things more clear!

I attempted to say that "age" does not matter as long as the brain is so intelligent, like yours.

I really thank you for all your posted comments that made me a better "thinker". (I may disagree with some -- but I think this is healthy) Nevertheless, I admire your way of thinking and the strength of your argumentation and references you bring to table.

I apologize if I made you think something else!

PS: Thank you very much Eric. It's exactly as you say!

Manuel
|
California, USA
January 16, 2009

Manuel in California writes:

Where was this when I was growing up?

It is never too late to learn a foreign language. :)

I am teaching myself Arabic. It is not as hard as I thought it would be

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