안녕하세요 여러분! In this blog post I will be writing about my experiences with the NSLI-Y interview. Like I previously stated in my last interview blog post, I have had two interviews with NSLI-Y. Once during my freshman year of high school when I was applying to the 2015 Korean Summer Program (which I didn’t get accepted to) and the second interview was for the 2016 Korean Summer Program during my sophomore year which I was fortunately accepted to. This post will solely be about my experience and if you want to hear about my advice and tips for the interview, I have already posted a blog about that linked here.
Date: 01/04/15 Time: 3pm
I found out that I was a semi-finalist on the first of December a little after 3pm. I was stalking the NSLI-Y forum on College Confidential and was getting disappointed when I saw that other people in my area had gotten their notifications. I eventually just refreshed my email and there, waiting in the my inbox, was my semi notification!~ I was made aware of my interview date, location, and time on December 13th through my email. My interview was scheduled at a church. It was on the 4th of January (a Sunday) which was the last day of my winter break as well. My interview was scheduled for 3pm but I arrived at the location at around 2:30pm with my dad. I was nervous that we accidently went to the wrong location but then when I got to the door there was a sign for the NSLI-Y and AFS interviews so I knew I was in the right place. From my research from past applicants some had to fill out a questionnaire of some sorts. I didn’t have to but others did so I would keep that in mind when figuring out how early you want to arrive at the interview location.
I used the 30 minutes before the interview to calm myself down as I had become extremely nervous after seeing all the other well-dressed semi-finalists. The “waiting room” I was in was the basement of the church. There were fold up tables placed in a circle but when I came in there were no chairs open so I just stood near the windows reading the AFS magazines they also provided. The area also had snack tables with water bottles and an assortment chips and crackers. 10 minutes before my interview, a man came up to me and introduced himself to me. He then came back to me at 3pm and introduced himself again but this time as my interviewer. We left the “waiting room” and cut through someone else’s interview to get to our room. (I apologize to whoever that was! I know it was pretty awkward…) We sat around a small, round table and conducted the interview. He had a packet and papers that he was filling out during the interview. There were mandatory questions he had to fill out and he straight out told me that. My interviewer was extremely nice and pretty easy to talk to. He had been a former exchange student. He went to Austria in his junior year of high school. The only small problem I had with him was that he didn’t speak English too well. I had to ask him multiple times to repeat his questions at certain times because I could not understand some of the words coming out of his mouth due to his thick accent. He, however, was completely understanding and would repeat anything I asked him to. I was also able to talk to him about himself which helped make the interview feel less awkward. My interview lasted around 45 minutes. I was waiting for him to call in my dad for the interview as I saw that happen to the other finalists in the “waiting room” when I was there earlier. However, mine didn’t ask for my dad. Overall my first interview experience was not like how most of the blogs I had read made it seem. There were no situational questions like “What would you do if you got into a fight with your host mother?” or really any questions explicitly about study abroad at all besides the “Why do you want to go?” question.
Date: 01/03/16 Time: 1pm
I found out that I was a semi-finalist on December 2nd. I recieved the email a little before 11am central time during my math class and yes, I did check my email in the bathroom secretly. I can honestly say that I returned to my math class with the biggest smile on my face. I was notified of my interview by email on December 15th. My interview was at the same location as it was last year. It was still on a Sunday (On the third of January) but my time was a bit earlier than it was last year. I came around 30 minutes early again but less for my nerves and more because I was wanted to meet and talk with another semi-finalist for Russian Summer that lives around my area. There is not much to add since the location was the same and so was everything else. I also was able to talk to one of my alumni friends who had done Russian summer the past year (We talked almost everyday on the CC forum and we both applied together. However, she made it the past year while I was rejected.)
My interviewer this time around was a young girl who had studied abroad in Spain during college and had hosted several students while she was growing up at home. The interview went very smoothly and I felt a lot less stressed and nervous than I did during my last interview. There were no awkward silences and I found myself answering the questions with ease. When I finished there was something in me that told me I did really well. Again, at this interview, I did not have to fill out the questionnaire and my interviewer did not interview my dad either. My interview was around an hour. The questions from both of my interviews were extremely different from each other which was good because they were easier to answer than the other ones but they were also a little hard since they were not expected. However, I was able to answer them well even with the surprise factor.
That is all I have for you guys! I hope you enjoyed reading about my interview experiences and I hoped this can help future semi-finalists prepare for their interview. If you would like to read a post about my interview tips and advice, please click here. Thanks for reading! 안녕 친구들!~
- 엠마 (Emma)