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ASMS Student Studies Korean on U.S. Department of State NSLI-Y Scholarship

Marcella Nametag

Alabama School of Mathematics and Science (ASMS) rising senior, Marcella Todd, was awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Virtual Summer Intensive scholarship to study Korean language for five 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 2020 Virtual Summer Intensive program was created as an online alternative to the NSLI-Y overseas immersion program .

Marcella completed both an online application and Skype interview process, and she was competitively selected from approximately 3,000 applicants from across the United States. Marcella meets 2 hours every weekday with her teacher who lives in Korea along with the other students in the program from across the country. After the class meets, Marcella also participates in one-on-one tutoring with a college student from South Korea. Her tutor helps her recap material she learned in class in addition to her homework.

“We have learned a lot of Korean vocabulary and grammar. The class is mostly in Korean, and we interact and talk with our teacher regularly. One example of a homework assignment we received was recording a video of us introducing our friend and their hobby in Korean. One activity we did in class that I enjoyed was coloring traditional Korean patterns/art. We are also going to receive noodles in the mail which I’m excited about,” says Todd.

The NSLI-Y Virtual Summer Intensive program aims to provide robust language and cultural learning opportunities by virtually connecting the participants with teachers, international peers, cultural organizations, and communities where the target language is spoken.

Marcella shares, “The most meaningful part of the program for me is how much the tutors and teachers are willing to help. I personally really struggle with pronunciation, so my tutor set aside some extra time to help me, and now I feel more confident. You can really tell that they care about the students even though we have not met in person.”

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.

For Marcella specifically, she explains, “I think the program gives me more context of the world around me and helps me realize how connected the world is. It has also helped me become more educated in international affairs which is something I want to pursue in my future.”

Marcella is from Mobile, AL, and she will graduate in May of 2021 with the goal of pursuing degrees in Computer Science and International Studies.

  • Jul 27, 2020