Buffalo Grove Student to Study Chinese (Mandarin) on U.S. Department of State NSLI-Y Scholarship

  • Maddie O'Brien presenting her project about Chicago to her Chinese class.Meng Zhou

    Maddie O'Brien presenting her project about Chicago to her Chinese class.Meng Zhou

Updated 7/12/2021 10:05 AM

Madailein O'Brien, a high school student in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, was awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Virtual Summer Intensive scholarship to study Chinese (Mandarin) language for six weeks. NSLI-Y is a program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) that promotes critical language learning among American youth. The 2021 Virtual Summer Intensive program is as an online alternative for NSLI-Y immersion programs that could not take place overseas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Madailein, competitively selected from approximately 2,500 applicants from across the United States, is one of over 500 students who will study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish this summer as part of the virtual exchange. The NSLI-Y Virtual Summer Intensive program provides robust language and cultural learning opportunities by virtually connecting the participants with overseas teachers, international peers, cultural organizations, and communities where the target language is spoken.


NSLI-Y is part of a multi-agency U.S. Government initiative launched in 2006 to improve Americans' ability to communicate in select critical languages, advance international dialogue, and provide Americans with jobs skills for the global economy. Many NSLI-Y alumni go on to pursue education and careers vital to U.S. national security and credit the program experience with helping them improve their academic, leadership, and cross-cultural communication skills.

NSLI-Y is administered by American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, American Cultural Exchange Service, Amideast, CIEE, iEARN-USA, the Russian American Foundation, Stony Brook University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Wisconsin.

Applications for 2022-23 NSLI-Y programs will be available at www.nsliforyouth.org in the late summer.

The U.S. Department of State provides study abroad opportunities for over 1,000 American high school students and approximately 3,000 international high school students each year. Visit https://exchanges.state.gov/highschool to learn more.

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