Eye of the Tiger

Oliver pursues international experience

%28COURTESY%2F+JULIETTE+OLIVER%29+Senior+Juliette+OIiver+visited+San+Jose%2C+Costa+Rica+during+her+sophomore+year+through+the+educational+tour+program+Education+First+in+order+to+enhance+her+knowledge+of+different+cultures.
(COURTESY/ JULIETTE OLIVER) Senior Juliette OIiver visited San Jose, Costa Rica during her sophomore year through the educational tour program Education First in order to enhance her knowledge of different cultures.

(COURTESY/ JULIETTE OLIVER) Senior Juliette OIiver visited San Jose, Costa Rica during her sophomore year through the educational tour program Education First in order to enhance her knowledge of different cultures.

(COURTESY/ JULIETTE OLIVER) Senior Juliette OIiver visited San Jose, Costa Rica during her sophomore year through the educational tour program Education First in order to enhance her knowledge of different cultures.

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Roseville High School senior Juliette Oliver looks forward to a chance to study abroad in light of signing up for a government scholarship program in hopes of gaining experience to one day become a US Ambassador. 

Following her semi-finalist interview for The National Security Language Initiative for Youth, all application materials and interview reports need to be read by at least three individuals.

Evaluators assess the applicant’s’ level of commitment to language study and intercultural understanding, motivation for language learning, and ability to live and adapt to a new environment, essentially deciding who is selected. Finalists are notified by the end of April.   

“I am pretty ecstatic that I am in the semifinals, that they think that there is something that they see in me that is worth going on this program and that is all that I could ask for,” Oliver said.

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth, or NSLIY,  provides merit based scholarships for high school students and graduates to learn less commonly taught languages overseas. It includes teaching languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Russian, Hindi and Turkish.

Oliver’s desired language to study is Chinese due to her realization of the importance of knowing the widely spoken language

“There are about 1.5 billion people speaking chinese, and as an ambassador I find it valuable to be able to communicate with them,” Oliver said.

Oliver has already begun traveling to different places across the world, gaining new perspective along the way. 

“I think that traveling helps give you a unique perspective that can’t be taught anywhere,” Oliver said.

Oliver is politically interested because it is where power is held and to Oliver where she can make a difference.

According to Juliette’s mother Patty Oliver, she’s helped inspire her daughter achieve her goal of studying abroad by traveling together and encouraging her to go out and explore on her own.

“We have always taken little trips here and there, but her first big trip was in 2012 when we traveled to Europe,” Patty said.

All participants of NSLIY are required to participate in pre-program language classes and complete a pre-program survey. Normally language classes range anywhere from ten to twenty hours a week in this program and are available year round. 

To Patty, there is always the fear that Oliver will want to stay and live in another country.

“It’s a pull between letting go and hanging on but it is a little worrisome knowing that she will be so far for so long,” Patty said.

Despite this, Patty feels as though her daughter will be safe because as a mother she will be concerned for her daughter’s safety whether she is in Europe, Jamaica or China.

If accepted Oliver faces the challenge of missing events such as her birthday and holidays, despite this Oliver looks forward to embracing other cultural traditions.

“I will get to see these cultural traditions of the host family and living with I will be exposed to so many amazing experiences that I will grow as a person,” Oliver said. “I’m really just so excited to get to see all of the things I will experience there.”

Oliver’s friend Stephanie Lunar is proud of her friends opportunity to study abroad.

“I’m extremely proud and happy for her. She has been wanting to have this opportunity since she first heard about it from Dooley. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since day one,” Lunar said. “Her excitement is contagious and I’m cheering her on.”

Lunar has supported Oliver’s plans since the beginning and  believes that the scholarship will bring her closer to her ambitions.

“I’m proud of her for taking the time and dedicating herself to her dream. After all she is juggling sports, work, and school, partaking in this study abroad program will bring her one step closer to becoming a foreign ambassador,” Patty Oliver said. 

Host families typically do not speak much, if any, English. Students will be expected to use the target language at home. The homestay experience is sometimes challenging, particularly in the beginning, but many participants say that it is the most rewarding part of the NSLIY experience.

Participants will travel to their host countries in groups.All participants will have a resident director and/or local coordinator in the same or nearby community who will provide guidance and support for the duration of the program.

NSLIY is focused on language acquisition, not travel or sightseeing. There is no guarantee participants will see any or all of the major historical sites in the host country. Participants should not expect to travel independently in the host country; in most cases, it will not be permitted.There are very few costs that are not covered by the scholarship including cost of obtaining a U.S. passport, medical exams and immunizations, pocket money and any excess baggage fees.

“I honestly think that not a lot of societies today are interested in learning and going to countries for the cultural value I think a lot of people wanna go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower or they want to go to someplace to see some kind of like building or just because it’s fun not necessarily because they’re interested in the culture,”Oliver said

To Oliver one of the many different challenges are included in the program such as language barriers.

“I think a lot of people are scared of the challenges that they may face going abroad you know I’ve often got a lot of questions about the place where you can’t even read their alphabet and I’m like well that’s quite a challenge and that’s the challenge I think really excites me,”Oliver said

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