Today marks 30 days till I find myself on a plane heading to Seattle for the first part of a really exciting summer. Ever since I recieved a NSLI-Y scholarship, I’ve been counting down the days. Obviously, I went out and downloaded two different apps to count the days for me because math is not my strong suit and it is definitely something I don’t want to be doing over the summer months. I remember when my countdown was in the 80s, 60s, and now it will be in the 20s starting tomorrow! It’s all pretty overwhelming if you ask me. Anyway, Thursday was a very interesting day for me. It was interesting because my brother was graduating Junior High that day. Not only that, but I was going to have to take my OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) at my old elementary school where the graduation was taking place. The graduation was at 7pm and I had my call at 6:30 so it was a pretty tight squeeze. The beginning of the call was very hectic as I was in the car and the AC was louder than ever. I tried to put the call on speaker but instead, I ended up ending the call. After I laughed at my inability to do anything without messing up, my interviewer called back and I profusely apologized to her about what I had done. She called back once my family had parked so I resumed the call while walking through the parking lot. It was actually very amusing seeing that a large amount of children and adults stared at me while I walked to the main doors due to the fact that I was speaking in a foreign language to someone on the phone. I was still on the call once we made it to the doors so my family went on inside and I stayed to the side of the school to finish up the call and not disturb anyone else. The “door holder” kept staring at me during the whole interview as well. My interview lasted around 15 minutes and then once I was done, I rushed to the gym and tried to find my family in the mass of graduates and families. This was a very difficult task but eventually I was able to find my family. Overall, my OPI went very well. My interviewer went slow and she would rephrase questions and add examples when I told her I didn’t understand. I kept laughing at myself when I would say I didn’t understand and she would reassure me that I was doing well. To future NSLIYians who will be taking an OPI, don’t sweat the small stuff. You are only taking it so that the program has record of your language ability before the program so that they can compare it to your skills afterwards. It’s not a test and you won’t get a grade. If you do bad, your scholarship will not be revoked so don’t worry about it. Also, Don’t do too much studying before hand because you want to truly show them your language level. Think of it this way, if you do bad, there’s more room for improvement while in the host country.
“Never Neglect An Opportunity For Improvement.” Sir William Jones