Suraj Chandran of Edison, a sophomore at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, recently earned a scholarship to study in China for six weeks this summer. He applied for this opportunity through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
The program offers scholarships in three cities in China, and Suraj will be among a group of 20 students studying in Xi’an. He will study Mandarin for 20 hours per week, attend field trips to historical and cultural sites, and participate in community service activities. Suraj is thrilled to receive this opportunity.
“It’s a beautiful language and a rich culture,” said Suraj, who acknowledged his W-H Mandarin teachers, Hua Liu and Alice Zhao, for all of their support and teaching. “I want to improve my Chinese and I’m also looking forward to interacting with the people and understanding the people.”
Suraj developed a deeper interest for studying aboard on a W-H school trip to China during Spring Break in 2015. He also realized that a full immersion to the Chinese culture for an extended time period would help him communicate more effectively in the language. Suraj learned about the program from W-H schoolmate Yumna Naqvi ’18, who is spending her junior year studying in China as part of a different scholarship program.
“I really wanted a summer program so she suggested NSLI-Y. I’m most looking forward to the homestay experience to see what day-to-day life is all about. I’ll also have to get used to doing things on my own since my parents aren’t going to be there,” Suraj said.
The NSLI-Y program 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. NSLI-Y is part of a U.S. government initiative that prepares American citizens to be leaders in a global world.