Jacob Shima, a sophomore at Crossroads High School in Santa Monica, has been awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship for 2015-16. Jacob will study Chinese in Zhuhai, China, for the summer.

Jacob is one of only 620 competitively selected students from across the United States who will receive a scholarship to study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish overseas this year. While in China, Jacob will receive formal instruction and informal language practice in an immersion environment.

Jacob has studied two years of Mandarin at school and credits his love for the language and culture to his teacher, Midori. He was excited to learn that his host brother shares common interests including jazz and classical music. While in China, Jacob looks forward to eating new foods, becoming a more proficient speaker and bartering at the local markets. “This is an amazing opportunity,” Jacob states, “I am so grateful!”

The NSLI-Y program seeks to increase the number of Americans who can engage with native speakers of critical languages. The goals of the NSLI-Y program include sparking a life-long interest in foreign languages and cultures, and developing a corps of young Americans with the skills necessary to advance international dialogue and cross- cultural opportunities in the private, academic, and government sectors.

NSLI-Y is administered by American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, American Cultural Exchange Service, AMIDEAST, Chinese Language and Culture Center of Maine, iEARN-USA, Legacy International, Russian American Foundation, Stony Brook University, the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin. Applications for 2016-2017 NSLI-Y programs are expected to be available at www.nsliforyouth.org in the early fall. For information about U.S. Department of State-sponsored exchange programs, visit http://exchanges.state.gov.

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