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2020 Carlisle High School grad earns State Department scholarship to study Arabic
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2020 Carlisle High School grad earns State Department scholarship to study Arabic


Xenia Makosky would have jumped at the chance to study Arabic in Morocco this summer.

The global COVID-19 pandemic foiled that part of the plan, but this 2020 Carlisle High School graduate is not letting the setback define the whole experience.

“I feel honored to be part of this unique program,” Makosky said. “I’m thankful to have this opportunity to connect remotely with my language teacher in Rabat each morning and to have cultural sessions in the afternoon to learn as much as I can about the Arab-speaking world.”

Makosky was awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth Virtual Summer Intensive scholarship to study the Arabic language for five weeks. The initiative is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that promotes critical language learning among American youths.

The virtual program was created as an online alternative to an overseas immersion program in response to the Department’s Global Level 4 Health Advisory and ECA’s pause of in-person exchange programs.

Makosky became interested in NSLI-Y following an immersive experience in Arabic during the summer of 2019 at the Middlebury Interactive Languages Academy in Vermont. She furthered her studies during her senior year at Carlisle High School as a Britton Scholar at Dickinson College. This fall, Makosky will begin her freshman year at Dickinson College as a Presidential Scholar.

About 3,000 applicants from across the U.S. competed for a NSLI-Y scholarship. Of those, Makosky was one of about 500 selected to study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Russian or Turkish during the summer virtual exchange program.

The program’s goal is to guide youths to robust language and cultural learning opportunities by virtually connecting them with teachers, international peers, cultural organizations and communities where the target language is spoken.

NSLI-Y is part of a multi-agency U.S. government initiative launched in 2006 to improve the ability of Americans to communicate effectively in select critical languages. The idea is to advance an international dialogue and to provide younths with job skills in the global economy.

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.

Email Joseph Cress at

NSLI-Y is administered by the American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, the American Cultural Exchange Service, AMIDEAST, iEarn-USA, the Russian American Foundation, Stony Brook University, the University of Delaware and the University of Wisconsin.

Email Joseph Cress at

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