Alumni Salman Haji credits his NSLI-Y experience as the ultimate factor in making his decision to pursue international affairs and the U.S. Foreign Service. As a Legacy participant, four years ago completing NSLI-Y program, Haji was selected into the prestigious Pickering Fellowship program which seeks to support Americans from diverse backgrounds throughout their graduate school and ensures their entry into the Foreign Service.
Haji also currently interns at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Office of English Language Programs where he focuses in the EUR (Europe and Eurasia) and NEA (Near East – Middle East and North Africa) regions. Haji offers encouragement to fellow alumni:
“I’ve learned on the job that who you now know will later impact your life in a very crucial way – either in your career, personal or social lives. Success in the Foreign Service does not come easily without networking with different groups of people, and it is vital to make these connections early in the career. I advise other NSLI-Y alumni to look out for opportunities. Don’t say that something is impossible. My dream as a NSLI-Y participant was to join the Foreign Service, to see the world, to learn languages, and to make a change. I was intimidated by joining the State Department and I didn’t think I would be able to pass the required tests and other criteria in order to become a Foreign Service Officer. But I applied to the Pickering Fellowship which has given me a future. As a NSLI-Y participant, you already have unique characteristics. Embody those, connect with others, look out for more opportunities to follow your dreams, and you will eventually get to where you want to be.”
Haji also received a Critical Language Scholarship (Jordan, Summer 2012) and Gilman Scholarship (France, 2013).
The Arabic Language Institute is part of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, provides full, merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs. NSLI-Y is part of a broader government-wide presidential initiative that prepares American citizens to be leaders in a global world.