NSLI-Y Acceptance!

Acceptance emailIt’s been quite a while since I’ve updated my blog, and I thought several times about posting but could never get beyond a few mediocre drafts. My problem might be that I think too much about how my writing sounds and eventually get annoyed before I can ever post anything…

I haven’t written about it here yet, but for some time now I’ve been self-studying Korean alongside Japanese.

Anyone who knows me is aware of my interest in Korean pop culture, but might only associate my passion for language with Japanese.

I actually hesitated a lot to learn two languages at once because I was afraid that it would slow down my growth in Japanese and that I would end up mixing up them up. It turns out that these were both very valid concerns. Japanese and Korean share practically identical grammar and several cognates, which makes it all too easy to begin sentences in one language and end them in the other. As such, I don’t even touch Japanese when studying Korean and vice versa. Naturally, my Japanese isn’t in its best condition.

But I don’t regret my decision at all. I’ve fallen so deeply in love with the logic and sound of the Korean language that I’m more regretful about not trying to learn it earlier.

Around this time last year, I discovered the existence of a program called NSLI-Y through a serendipitous Google search for exchange programs to Japan. To put it briefly, NSLI-Y (National Security Language Initiative for Youth) is a scholarship that’s funded by the government and sends high school students to foreign countries to study languages critical to national security.

It just so happened that I’d be eligible during the next applicant cycle and that one of the countries offered was South Korea. I then took the dive into the painfully long application process that I’ll have to discuss some other time.

And just a few days ago, on March 30 at 1:37 P.M.,  while sitting at my kitchen dining table anxiously drinking water and refreshing my email repeatedly, I received a finalist notification for the Korean summer program!

I don’t fully believe it at the moment, but I will be studying Korean in Seoul from June 28th to August 12th! This opportunity is so meaningful to me, as my dream since middle school has been to study abroad and I can’t remember ever wanting something more than this scholarship.

So the point of this post is that for the thousandth time, I have decided to blog at somewhat consistent intervals. I’ll have so much to write about this summer that might actually be of interest to others interested in the program or simply in Korea, and I feel like it’s important to document my experience. That being said, I don’t have the most committed relationship with blogging and despite trying several times with the best intentions, it’s never really worked out.

But I really do want to try again. Blogs about NSLI-Y kept me sane and hopeful while waiting for my notification, and I’d love for my posts to do the same for someone else.

I think it’s safe to anticipate a few more posts before I leave for Korea, so thank you for reading, and please do check back!


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