2018 NSLI-Y Students & Parents, Welcome to the iEARN-USA Family!


This spring and summer, iEARN-USA would like to welcome 143 NSLI-Y scholarship recipients to the iEARN family!

The vision of iEARN-USA is an interconnected, peaceful and just world. The mission of iEARN-USA is to empower educators, young people and their communities through global collaboration and transformative learning. One of the important ways that iEARN-USA works to achieve this mission is through physical exchange opportunities for youth, such as the NSLI-Y program.

NSLI-Y is a State Department funded program that provides full scholarships for high school students to study languages abroad. One of the goals of this program is to improve the ability of Americans to engage with people around the world through shared language. Another goal of the program is to create a cadre of young Americans who have the advanced linguistic and cultural skills to be able to advance international dialogue. This kind of people-to-people diplomacy is crucial to creating a more interconnected and peaceful world.

As Michelle Obama said in a 2011 speech at Howard University:

"These [exchange]  experiences… set the stage for young people all over the world to come together and work together to make our world stronger, because make no mistake about it, whether it’s climate change or terrorism, economic recovery or the spread of nuclear weapons ... the defining challenges of our time are shared challenges. Neither of our countries can confront these alone. The only way forward, the only way to solve these problems, is by working together.

That’s why it is so important for more of our young people to live and study in each other’s countries. That’s how, student by student, we develop that habit of cooperation, by immersing yourself in someone else’s culture, by sharing your stories and letting them share theirs, by taking the time to get past the stereotypes and misperceptions that too often divide us."


Perhaps it goes without saying, though it does bear repeating: being able to use a shared language is a crucial starting point for any effective communication and collaboration.

Since 2009, iEARN-USA has administered the NSLI-Y program for 1003 students, and each of those students represents just one dot in an interconnected web of newly created international relationships. Students go overseas and create strong, long-lasting friendships with their their host families, teachers, program administrators, friends, and neighbors in their host communities. Even if they cannot speak the language when they first arrive, students figure out how to mime, gesture, smile, and laugh their way to a shared understanding. iEARN-USA is proud to welcome the 2018 cohort of iEARN NSLI-Y students. As NSLI-Y is a merit-based scholarship, these 143 new iEARN NSLI-Y students represent the very best and brightest of American youth. They are innovative, diverse, and optimistic. Commenting on the benefits she experienced from participating in an iEARN NSLI-Y program, one alumna wrote,

“I have also become more hopeful about my own country. Being able to make friends who are just as passionate about learning and cultural understanding as I am has allowed me to see a better side of my own country, and if people like those I have met on this program are the future of the United States then I am truly excited for the interconnected world they will help create.” We think of these new NSLI-Y participants not only as citizen ambassadors for the United States, but also as global representatives of iEARN-USA’s mission, creating a more interconnected, peaceful and just world, one friendship at a time.

Are you a U.S. educator? Encourage your high school students to apply for the scholarship next year!

Are you a new NSLI-Y finalist or parent? Find out more about how you can connect your teacher or school to iEARN-USA’s robust international network of educators.