Category: NSLI-Y

Letters from last October

From my journal and notes on my phone. 10/19/19: Strange how for me, for a long time, China represented freedom. 10/21/19: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life. As our interactions become bigger, broader. and fashionable, our actions and reactions become just as big. bold, and flashy, making it even easier to miss […]

The sixth attempt

I’ve tried to write this blog post five times. The first time was the first week after 2020 New Years Day. At that time, I was packing up my things in the girl’s dorm of Beijing 80, excited for a month of interrupted time with my host family, followed by a week traveling with my […]


The weather is bitingly cold now. I’m sitting in the main courtyard of Beijing 80, looking past the circular topiary hedge as the sun beings to set. It’s only 5 pm, but the days are shorter now, sunlight rarer. I can see it now, though, soft hues of pink and orange in the cloudless and […]

Finding balance in a world of “chaotic good”

I’m not doing great.
I’m not doing bad, either. I think I’m somewhere in this weird mix of teenage angnst/hormones/homesickness—that, mixed in with dipping in and out of the classic “study-abroad-honeymoon-phase”, has led to me, the discombobulated mess, attempting to memorize Chinese flashcards one minute and write college application supplements the next.

On leadership, 4×100 relays, and Beijing Opera

he morning of Saturday, October 12, 2019, my dear classmates and I stood in a bloc formation decked out in full Beijing opera dress, marching onto the center stage of the track to the beat of Chinese military marches.

Nouns for America, Nouns for China

Hello from—you guessed it—computer class again! Just a quick update on my NSLI-Y life in Beijing: this past Saturday, I spent my first afternoon with my Beijing host family, the 叶 family. They were lovely—as the parents were preparing lunch for us, I sat with their freshman daughter and discussed the nuances of Greek mythology […]

Musings from computer class

Currently sitting in computer class. Here at Beijing 80, we’ve been “learning” Scratch (yes, Kai, the same computer language you learned as an 8-year-old), but it’s mostly consisted of most of the class making hilarious memes (Leila and Alec often have the best ones) and a handful of the students actually following along (oh Joel, […]

Two weeks in

Hi everyone! Wanted to quickly update while my VPN was still working (they’re going down quickly as we approach the 70th anniversary of the PRoC).  I’m hailing from the courtyard here at Beijing 80 where I’m currently eating matcha cookies and drinking mango juice, watching these two Chinese students play with a baseball and baseball […]

Walking the lonely wooden bridge

“你走你的阳光道,我走我的独木桥。” You can walk your sun-lit path, I’m going to walk my lonely wooden bridge. Or so says my mother. She taught me this phrase, like many other Chinese idiomatic phrases, in the middle of a lecture. Now, more than ever, this phrase is being applied to my life here in Beijing. A recap of […]

Thoughts on 1 week at Beijing 80

Hello from Beijing! To be honest, it still hasn’t hit me completely that I’m here, at the political center of this vastly influential and enormous country, with 15 government-issued friends, sitting through 7-9 hours of Chinese class and 2 hours of designated self-study time afterward—who knew there were so many damn hours in a day? […]

Last day at home

So. We’re finally here. The little countdown timer is at 0, I have a hot pink palm tree suitcase full of sweaters, shoes, and gifts, another (much prettier) carry on full of summer clothes, sheet music, and camera equipment, we’ve taken family portraits at the 6 AM Lincoln Memorial/Washington Monument sunrise, and I’ve said 再见 […]

NSLI-Y Application tips

Applying to NSLI-Y took over my life for the first months of fall. I spent hours from September to October agonizing over my application, specifically the essays. Along the way, I learned a lot of lessons. Here are my words of advice to any aspiring study-abroad high schooler.

The beginning

Last night, Friday, April 5th, at 4:26 PM, I was standing in my kitchen at home getting ready to teach a piano lesson. Out of habit, I refreshed my email (damn Apple Mail for their inconsistent email notifications) and saw that I had received an email from NSLI-Y.