Westborough student to study Arabic in Morocco this summer

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Nguyen awarded National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship

Ryan Nguyen
Photo/submitted

Westborough – Ryan Nguyen, a rising senior at Westborough High School, will be studying Arabic in Morocco this summer after being awarded a prestigious, competitive scholarship from the U.S. Department of State.

Nguyen was one of approximately 660 students selected out of 3,300 applicants to be awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship. NSLI-Y is a program administered through the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

While in Morocco, Nguyen will receive formal language instruction, live with a host family, and experience the local culture as part of an immersion environment.

“Words can’t explain how grateful I am for such an opportunity. Languages and culture have played a huge role throughout all my life, but what really inspired me to reach sky-high and break out of my comfort zone were my Spanish teacher, Señora Palladino, and the other world language department faculty who demonstrate so much love and enthusiasm for their profession,” Nguyen said.

When at home, he is a member of the Imperial Lion Dance in Worcester, and an active member of Westborough Cultural Council and the Youth Commission. He has been part of organizing and helping to create a school mural representing all the diverse cultures of the students, and teaching Spanish and Vietnamese language and culture classes to children at the local library and elementary school. He has also helped to organize a school-wide assembly celebrating Westborough’s diversity (to be held in October of the coming school year).

NSLI-Y 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. Many NSLI-Y alumni go on to pursue education and careers vital to U.S. national security and credit the program experience with helping them improve their academic, leadership, and cross-cultural communication skills. The program 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, and the University of Wisconsin. For more information visit exchanges.state.gov/highschool.