Chase Goddard, 17, is spending the summer in Suzhou, China, and studying Chinese as part of a state department-sponsored immersion program.
The rising senior at Rye Country Day School flew into Asia a few weeks ago and is staying with a host family for the next several weeks.
I sat down with Chase at his family’s home in Rye recently, a few days before he got on the plane, and he told me how he was feeling ahead of the biggest trip of his life (so far). Check out the video interview above.
Goddard has been serious about studying the Chinese language since he was in grade school. Furthering his linguistic abilities was so important that it was one of the main reasons he decided to transfer from Midland Elementary in the Rye school district to RCDS, where there is an extensive language program.
While in Suzhou, Goddard will take four hours of class a day and participate in cultural immersion activities with other students that are part of the program.
Goddard was one of two RCDS students who were awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship for 2014-2015.
The NSLI-Y program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students to learn less commonly-taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion
programs. The State Department offers approximately 625 students per year the change to study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish overseas through NSLI-Y. Launched in 2006, NSLI-Y seeks to increase the number of Americans who can engage with native speakers of critical
languages by providing formal instruction and informal language practice in an immersion environment.
For more information and applications for 2015-2016 NSLI-Y programs, go to www.nsliforyouth.org and exchanges.state.gov.