I would personally go anywhere that NSLI-Y offers just because I want to learn about the world, but my parents do not want me doing the Arabic program because they are worried that it wouldn't be safe. I want to respect my parents wishes, but I also want NSLI-Y to know that I am open to anything just for the sake of learning about a new culture. So what can I do to either (a) Convince my parents that I will be safe doing the Arabic program, or (b) Get across to NSLI-Y that I would do any program, except the Arabic one because my parents feel it might be unsafe?
I would say do both. Try convincing your parents at first. The Dept. of State would not send students to a country if it was unsafe. In the case of Egypt, they handled everything well. They made sure students were kept inside their homes and away from danger until they could get them evacuated as quickly as possible. The Dept of State could not predict that the Arab Spring was going to happen. If they really cannot be convinced, tell your interviewers about your program selection choice and why you cannot go to a country that speaks Arabic. It would show that you are very respectful, and you want to explore the whole world. You are happy with going anywhere, which makes it really easy to get into a program that is not competitive. Good luck! Let me know if you have more questions.
Thanks Grant, and JJ Sham for your help! I will definitely try both of your suggestions!
Hey Aundrea! My name is Kalyn Campbell and I am actually in Rabat, Morocco right now on the summer NSLI scholarship to study Arabic, and it is by far the best experience of my life! First off, I'm curious as to what kind of reservations you parents have about sending you to an Arab country just so I can get a better understanding of what to tell you about it! What I do know is that both countries that NSLI sends students to are very safe. Jordan has had very little unrest, the king is still pretty popular, and it is overall a very stable and secure country. I spent two weeks there this past fall, and there wasn't a single time that I didn't feel safe. The other country that NSLI sends Arabic students to is Morocco, which is where I have spent the past three weeks of my summer, but I will be here until the beginning of August. Morocco is very stable despite its location next to Arab Spring countries, and the people are absolutely amazing. No one on our trip has experienced crime or felt unsafe because Morocco is a very welcoming country and the locations of the two schools as well as the homestays are in very secure areas. Of course, there are the usual things you will encounter in an Arab and semi third-world country such as bad tap water, cat calls and some verbal harassment (for girls), and poverty, but these are things that you would face as a foreigner in any country, especially the countries that NSLI sends students to!
Another word of advice. Although you are totally open to apply for "any language", I would recommend focusing in on one, which would demonstrate your devotion to learning a language. It's fine if you apply for all, but I think it would help to choose one and go with it! (Personally, I'd go with Arabic!)
I hope that this helps, and let me know if I can answer any other questions, because I would be more than happy to help! Trust me, I went through this whole process, and I would've loved to have someone help me out!
Thanks Kalyn! This helped a bunch! I will definitely take your advice and try to focus in on a specific language. And I will show my parents what you wrote so that they can see for themselves that State Department would never send kids somewhere that is unsafe. Hopefully this will help convince them because I am very interested in the Arabic culture. Oh, and to answer your question, my parents are very worried about uprisings and such, even though all of the NSLI-Y countries are peaceful at the moment. Have fun in Morocco! Maybe you can tell me more about it when you get back!
Try to convince your parents, but if you can't, just don't put Arabic as a choice! My parents were only comfortable sending me to a Chinese-speaking country or South Korea, so those were the two language options I had put down. On the application, when asked about my choices, I included how I don't want to upset/worry my parents since I will be gone for a whole year if I am given the chance to go. Plus, most people get either their first or second choices, so if you put down Korean or something, chances are they will not send you to an Arabic country.
I also agree with Kalyn that its probably a better idea to have some sort of an idea of where you want to go/why. And the application comes out mid to late September, I think? Then if you make semifinals you will be notified in December. Hope this helps!
Thanks for your help Ami! I will definitely do what you did when asked about your choices on the application if I can't convince my parents that it is much more stable in the Arabic countries than they believe.
hi aundrea! a ton of people here have already given you a lot of great advice, especially since some of them are already on the NSLI-Y program. i hope everything works out for you; come back and let us know if everything worked out, or what you decided to do! personally my parents were very open to me studying abroad when i went last year, but i went to japan and we'd lived there before. for a lot of my friends that were having trouble with their parents letting them go abroad, they did A LOT of research (just like you're doing) and some of them even made a presentation to their parents about the country. sometimes parents are worried because of a lot of misinformation that gets circulated around, so just let them know you've done your research and you're setting the record straight. also let them know how beneficial this will be for you in the end! however, if your parents still won't budge, i'm sure NSLI-Y will understand. it's not like you're the one who is unwilling to go--you want to go anywhere, you've just hit a wall you can't get behind. good luck!