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Academy Student to Study Arabic in Morocco on U.S. State Department Scholarship

Monday, July 16, 2018


Sharing Day - Lillian

Lillian Giles, who just completed her junior year at Salem Academy, was recently awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship for 2018-19 by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“For years, I dreamt about what it would be like to actually get into NSLI-Y or YES Abroad,” she said. “Salem stood alongside me as I searched for the path that was right for me. My teachers and friends were always understanding of the way my heart yearned for adventures and challenges.”

Lillian, the daughter of Steve and Annamae Giles of Winston-Salem, will study Arabic in Morocco for the academic year.

“I have always traveled with my family,” Lillian said.”This has been a deeply binding and influential part of my development. I am interested in pursuing a career in international relations or foreign policy,  and continuing my studies of the Middle East and Latin America.”

The decision to leave the Academy her senior year was not an easy one, but Lillian said she just couldn’t pass up such a rare honor, and she couldn’t have both.

“Since I was 13 years-old, Salem Academy was the place I wanted to make my home,” she said. “I had changed schools so many times, and I thought that this would be the school where I would stay.”

Lillian said she is thankful to Ms. Overton, her advisor; Mr. Royster, who recommended her for the program; and Mrs. Sorrells, who is her “inspiration.”

While at Salem Academy, Lillian worked to develop a “Girl Up Club.” She also served on the Winston-Salem Youth Advisory Council. She was involved in volleyball, basketball, track, and Model UN, and spent “a large chunk of her time” babysitting.

Of more than 3,300 applications from across the United States, Lillian is one of approximately 670 students who will study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Indonesian or Russian overseas this coming year. While in Morocco, she will receive formal language instruction, live with a host family and experience the local culture as part of an immersion environment.

The NSLI-Y program is part of a multi-agency U.S. Government initiative launched in 2006 to improve Americans’ ability to communicate in select critical languages to advance international dialogue and increase American economic global competitiveness. The goals of the NSLI-Y program include: promoting critical language learning among American youth; enhancing cross-cultural understanding and deepening trust; sparking a lifetime of interest in foreign language and culture; and developing the skills to advance international dialogue, compete effectively in the global marketplace, promote mutual understanding, and contribute to a more peaceful world.

NSLI-Y is administered by American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, American Cultural Exchange Service, AMIDEAST, iEARN-USA, the Russian American Foundation, Stony Brook University, the University of Delaware, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the University of Wisconsin.

Applications for 2019-20 NSLI-Y programs are expected to be available at www.nsliforyouth.org in the late summer. For information about all U.S. Department of State exchange programs for American high school students, visit https://exchanges.state.gov/highschool.

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