SiriusA: The Complete Timeline for the NSLI-Y Applicant

Disclaimer: A complete chronology, this is very long and contains useful and anecdotal information concerning the NSLI-Y Application Process from being a Prospective Applicant all the way to being a Finalist.

안녕~ Heyo~ If you’re reading this blog post, you are probably either

A: a prospective NSLI-Yian (like Earthling, but for NSLI-Y)
Keyword: @Prospective

B: someone who was rejected from NSLI-Y
Keyword: @Hope

C: a Semifinalist
Keyword: @Semi

D: a fellow NSLI-Yian of the Class of 2019 (AYYYY WE MADE IT!!!)
Keyword: @Fellow

E: an alumnus NSLI-Yian who is reminiscing about the past
Keyword: @Alumni

F: a human being who has access to the Internet somehow 😉
Keyword: @Human

In an effort to provide the most relevant information to the appropriate reader, I’ve divided this blog post into sections. Feel free to skip to whatever fits your fancy by searching for the Keyword associated with each type.

For example, if you’re a Semifinalist, Ctrl F “@Semi” and jump to that section.
Of course, feel free to read on~
(Ctrl F for Windows, Cmd F for Macs, as of 2019/6/13)

@Prospective (for the Prospective NSLI-Yians)

The prospective NSLI-Yian goes through a variety of different phases.
(By the way, NSLI-Yians are people who receive scholarships to travel to a foreign country and become at least bilingual)
Listed below are some of the moods you might encounter for your convenience.

  • “wait. language scholarships are a thing? i got to apply”
  • “wait.. why are they so annoyingly expensive”
  • “wait… i get to travel and receive stipend and learn dat language? i got to apply to NSLI-Y”
  • “(internally wishes the selection committee to accept the application that you worked on for weeks/months)”
  • “(internally wishes the selection committee to accept the application that you worked on last week)” <– DON’T DO THIS
  • “/outwardly is super confident in your application because you poured your time, effort, sweat, and tears like you never have before”
  • “(internally doubts that you’ll make it even past the first round because it’s cOmPeTiTiVe)”

When I became a prospective applicant, I was pretty excited. I felt like I had nothing to lose by applying. I had self-studied Japanese for since middle school. Chinese was my heritage language and I was taking Spanish in school. The self-proclaimed language nerd, I literally wasn’t aware of the existence of study abroad scholarships until my high school Spanish teacher talked about it in class.

To be honest, i was S H O O K.

After the S H O O K phase, I went onto the NSLI-Y website and signed up to be reminded when the application came out.

NSLI-Y Application is Now Available!
This is the start line.

To be honest with you, there are just so many blog posts on the Internet that have advice for the prospective student.

My Advice: Don’t study a dozen or more blog posts and over-analyze them (even though you think you’re not)

Do, however, plan for every requirement the application offers — recommendation letter, transcript, essays, logistical data tasks.

August 2018 — I received the notification
September 2018 — I asked my Spanish teacher for a rec letter, brainstormed my essays, took time on the weekends to do the annoying logistic tasks, etc.
October 2018 — I submitted my application.

And most importantly, pour your entire heart and passion into your application.

“If the other person can see your linguistic passion leap off your application, you’re a strong applicant.”

– Jonathan, NSLI-Y Summer Seoul Finalist

Personally, I think this was the defining characteristic of my application, and though I am not on the committee that selects applicants, I’m sure that skimming through the links I’ve posted below will show this to be one definite way to become a NSLI-Yian.

My Curated List of Links
Instructions: Just skim these.

Good Luck! and Don’t Procrastinate!

@Hope (for those who were rejected)

You(ノT_T)ノ ^┻━┻ NSLI-Y
(ノT_T)ノ ^┻━┻


Perhaps you just saw the notification five minutes ago, or it’s already been a couple of months now.

How are you doing?

Perhaps you’ve been taking it a bit too hard on yourself, or you’ve kept replaying the one thing you’re sure ruined your application or interview.

Perhaps you’re confused. Perhaps you’ve given up.

Here’s a tip.


Why? Three Reasons.

One — Because replaying your supposed mistakes aren’t helping you.

Two — Because with every new application cycle, you have a chance to demonstrate your newfound appreciation or linguistic awesomeness in your application.

Three — Because your rejection now says nothing about your future destiny.

Perhaps you’ve stopped, and reflected on your application, and what this means in your future…

Will you decide to stay down

Or stand back up?

To reflect on how you could improve your application

To further explore your fascination with said language and culture.

No matter what your motivation is for applying, no matter what your background is, no matter how many foreign languages you know, you can do it.

The next step is yours to take.

@Semi (For those awaiting their interviews, aka Semifinalists)

At this point in the NSLI-Y Application process, you might be feeling one of the following moods.

  • “(impatiently waiting for my notification)”
  • “(S H O O K when you passed the first round)”
  • “(dancing in the car outside the library because you didn’t want to make a scene in the library)” <– tbh, this was me
  • “/realizing that you have to do an interview”
  • “/again scrubbing the internet for tips on interviewing”
NSLI-Y Semifinalist Notification Letter

My ADVICE – Don’t scrub the Internet looking for a dozen blog posts and keep sTrEsSiNg oUt.

Do practice interviewing with someone like your high school counselor or your foreign language teacher.

Do watch your email inbox vigilantly for any updates from the interviewer. (They got a lot of people to interview, make sure they don’t forget you want to interview)

“Fill your interview time with your fascination with said language and your unique perspective, as if you were talking with a friend who loves foreign language and culture.”

– Jonathan, NSLI-Y Summer Seoul Finalist

Quite frankly, your interview CAN BE that friend who loves foreign language and culture. Literally in my interview, I couldn’t stop talking about how fascinated I was with Korean, its unique alphabet, its similarities to Japanese, and . . .
I’m going to stop here.

Because you have your own unique reasons for learning said language, whether it be Korean or otherwise.
Build off of that to create a wonderful experience in your interview.

Go show that interviewer what you’ve got! You can do it!

P.S. If you want, here’s my curated list of links for you to SKIM.
(Don’t over-analyze these y’all)

other resources

@Fellow (for all my Fellow NSLI-Yians!!!!!)


I know for all of us in the KakaoTalk group chat for the Seoul Summer program, one recurrent theme is how excited everyone is to meet one another.

This blog post is so long, so I decided to split it.

Click this link <> to read my blog post about my reflections and observations since I’ve become a NSLI-Y Finalist~

@Alumni (for the honorable NSLI-Y alumni)

Frankly, I’m not an alumnus yet, but I can attempt to write a blog post as if I am writing a time capsule letter to myself.

Feel free to check out my separate blog post here at <>.

Note to Future Self: Making my first blog post is pretty cool, but not when pulling an all-nighter because sTrEsS.


Thus, this extremely long blog post concludes.
I hope this blog post was of use and aided you in educating or entertaining you.

I recently started my own personal blog, which aims to record my adventures on this Earth throughout my lifetime. Feel free to click HERE if you want to check it out.

전말 감사합니다~

One thought on “SiriusA: The Complete Timeline for the NSLI-Y Applicant

  1. Just saw this little shoutout appear in my WordPress notifications after logging in for the first time in a year. Oops. Love the blog name, and congratulations on NSLI-Y!


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