Anna Pies and Ethan Schlett Receive Scholarship to Travel Abroad this Summer

Bella Schuelke, Reporter

Sophomore Anna Pies and Junior Ethan Schlett applied for a Chinese Summer Program scholarship through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth and won. They will leave for Taiwan on June 20th alongside eight other students who live in different areas of America. They will return at the end of August.

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth provides students with opportunities to travel to locations where their eight NSLI-Y languages are spoken, such as Morocco, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Russia, and others. They aim to increase engagement between Americans and the residents of these countries, to improve language of participants, and to spark interest in culture and language of participants.

Schlett and Pies both became aware of this opportunity through his Arrowhead language instructor, Wei Yao.

Schlett says, “She had mentioned programs like this in the past and I simply asked her about it and this was the connection she had.”

In order to be considered for the scholarship, Schlett had to “fill out a lengthy 20 page application that included, but wasn’t limited to: personal information, passport/visa info, contact info, school info, family info, eligibility certification, past travel experience; hobby, activity, work, and awards sections.” He compared the forms to the National Honor Society application, saying they shared common criteria.

Schlett says, “I needed to get the school to send my transcripts to the appropriate recipient, as well as my doctor with specific medical forms. Lastly, I needed a teacher recommendation (whom of which I chose Yao Laoshi, naturally), a parent recommendation (my mom), and two essays.”

The essay prompts required applicants to write about three reason they wanted to participate in this program, and either a recent time you have been misunderstood or a time when you improved yourself.

Schlett says he heard that the chances of being accepted are highest for juniors with at least two years of language experience.

During their trip, Pies and Schlett will spend most of the day “learning the language, but there will also be some interaction with local high school students, community service, and trips to a few culturally significant locations such as the Great Wall of China and Beijing.  I will spend four weeks living on campus in a dorm and two weeks with a host family,” says Pies.

Their entire trip is paid for, including “the flights, foods, accomodations, and even a monthly stipend,” Schlett says.

Both Pies and Schlett hope to improve their Chinese skills while traveling abroad.

Schlett says, “Key areas in any language can only be mended by immersing yourself in the language. I would really like to have a change of scenery, if I am to be honest. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for the majority of my life and have been to China once before on the 2018 school trip. I want to meet new people and live in a different environment, even if it’s only for a couple months.”

Pies says, “I definitely want to gain life experience and cultural awareness along with improved language skills.”

So far, both Schlett and Pies recommend applying for a scholarship through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth program.

Anyone who is interested can apply here for the 2019-2020 school year trips, or for the 2020 summer trips. Through this program, multiple languages are offered and no prior experience is necessary for some of the trips.