Building a Strong Foundation as an iEARN NSLI-Y Program Alumni and Intern

Alexi With I Earn Usa Team

Alexi with iEARN-USA team.

This Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019, we’re raising funds and sharing stories from the iEARN community to raise awareness and funds to support global iEARN-USA global education and youth programming. Make a donation to support iEARN-USA’s Giving Tuesday campaign by visiting:, or share your own iEARN story!

My name is Alexi and I am a senior studying political science at Brown University. Four years prior I was an iEARN student in Seoul, South Korea under the National Security Language Scholarship for Youth. The following summer I interned at the iEARN-USA NYC office, working behind the scenes to support student programs going to Taiwan, China, India and South Korea. Experiencing the turning-of-tables from student-to-supporter at iEARN has made my time with iEARN inarguably significant and memorable.

Alexi Birthday Party At Host School In Korea

Alexi's birthday party at host school in Korea.

Briefly put, my experiences with iEARN opened up many personal growth opportunities while abroad, which post-program have also been incredibly valuable in my undergraduate career. I also believe iEARN will have continuing influence in the coming years. For instance, I am currently applying to PhD programs where I hope to engage in focused research on international cyber policy with South Korea as one state of my country interests. The language and cultural skills gained as an iEARN student have enabled me to approach problems more dynamically and comprehensively. 

My experiences with iEARN also motivated me to pursue further study abroad opportunities. Since my time in Seoul with iEARN, I have studied in Gwangju, South Korea and Moscow, Russia. Each experience extended my perspectives and widened potential career avenues as I consider post-graduation options. In this sense, iEARN undoubtedly has helped me along my own personal journey by creating a strong foundation of international curiosity, collaboration, and confidence.

Alexi With Host Family In Korea

Alexi with her host family in Korea.

“iEARN undoubtedly has helped me along my own personal journey by creating a strong foundation of international curiosity, collaboration, and confidence." - Alexi, iEARN NSLI-Y Program Alumna

Overall, I am certain that iEARN-USA programming can benefit a wide array of students, but also teachers and organizations, by pushing individuals to challenge themselves via new international educational networks. Experiencing iEARN from both a student and intern perspective, I have come to understand that iEARN is run by an incredibly dedicated team who sees the addition of new partners and students as another extension this “team.” While I was an intern for iEARN in 2016, I created with a group of students the acronym CORPS to signify how the students wanted to navigate their semester abroad together. I think CORPS -- which also means unit or team -- also effectively describes iEARN as a greater whole: celebrate our victories, open-minded, respect, positive communication, support.

Alexi I Earn Usa Intership Presentation

Alexi's iEARN-USA internship presentation.

Alexi is an iEARN-USA alum of the National Security Language for Youth (NSLI-Y), a U.S. Department of State program that provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students and recent high school graduates to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs.

iEARN-USA has been implementing partner of the NSLI-Y program since 2009, and supported more than 1,000 youth to study critical languages abroad, live with host families, learn about other cultures, and have a transformative international exchange experience. iEARN-USA NSLI-Y staff also host multi-virtual events each year to support students before, during, and after their program experiences.

Support programming and opportunities for youth to become global citizens and leaders in their local and global communities with a gift to iEARN-USA today. 

Donate to iEARN-USA’s Giving Tuesday campaign through December 3, 2019!