Since I am now an alumni of the NSLI-Y program, I will be starting a series on my blog about the opportunities that are available to alumni of the NSLI-Y program. The first one I will be talking about is showcased in this blog post. (Duh!) The Alumni Association is a network of exchange alumni that encourage alumni to continue their language learning, serve the community, promote NSLI-Y, and the association helps alumni with professional development. Alumni Representative positions are given to exchange alumni which makes them responsible for engaging alumni in their respective regions. (Each representative is given a region of the country or they can be a virtual engagement Alumni Representative.) The application for Alumni Representatives is emailed to all alumni from all program years and languages around the middle to end of November. If you want to know more about the position and the Alumni Association, visit the Alumni Association tab on the NSLI-Y website which I will link here.
This year I was given an Alumni Representative position for virtual engagement which means instead of my role being to connect alumni from my region, I am in charge of connecting alumni nationwide with virtual events. (I am also a Korean summer 2016 NSLI-Y alum for those that have not done an extensive reading of my blog.) One of the obligations of an Alumni Representative is to attend a three day workshop in DC coordinated by American Councils in order to learn about the roles, responsibilities, and rules for the position. Therefore, this past weekend, I was sent to DC with 15 other Alumni Representatives for the workshop and I will document our happenings on this blog post. (Prepare yourself… for a very very long blog post.)
On Friday (Jan 6th, 2017) I took a flight with Nicole (Russian Summer 2016 Alum – Chicago/Great Lakes Alumni Representative) and Ryan (Chinese Fall Semester 2011 Allum – Midwest/St Louis Alumni Representative) to Washington D.C. for the workshop. Representatives would be arriving on Friday anywhere from 1pm to 5pm and so our workshop would not officially be starting until around 5:45pm but we all had to meet at the lobby of our hotel at 5:30. Since Ryan, Nicole, and I arrived so early (before 3pm), we decided to walk around the area and visit some monuments and such after dropping our luggage off in our rooms.
We went to many monuments and walked for almost three hours straight. Nicole and I would never have been able to find all these cool places without our amazing tour guide Ryan. (It was also my first time in DC and so I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. It was sooo much fun walking around… even though the circular streets were quite annoying.)
Ryan left us early at the Lincoln Memorial because he still had to change into his dress clothes for the activities and presentations tonight. Nicole and I were prepared as we had worn our business casual clothes on the plane and were already dressed nice. We finished up at the Lincoln Memorial around 5pm and we had to hurry up and make it back to our hotel. If we had walked normally, we wouldn’t have made it so we speed walked and ran when crossing the streets. Luckily, we didn’t get stopped at too many streets because it seemed every time we got to a street, pedestrians were allowed to cross. We made it to the lobby at 5:26pm, 4 minutes before the meeting time. Go us! At this time, I met with most of the representatives which I hadn’t known or met before. (Well everyone except for Angela. (Chinese Summer 2015 alum – Southeast/Orlando Alumni Representative) We met on the NSLI-Y forum on College Confidential a few years back. It was really nice to meet her in person finally.)
We all walked to American Councils and the first thing on our agenda was introductions and icebreakers. We met with people from American Councils as well as the other fellow Alumni Representatives and did some speed networking. For dinner we had some middle eastern food before we had a presentation from two women from the Department of State on resources that are available by registering with the international exchange alumni and where to find them. (Resources including internship position listings, databases, etc.) Then we had a presentation on the roles and responsibilities of NSLI-Y Alumni Representatives.
We got back to the hotel around 9pm and a group of us (15/16) decided to go out and explore DC some more. A lot of the representatives wanted to visit some monuments. We were given a curfew of 11pm so as long as we were back in the hotel by then, we were golden. While we were walking to the Lincoln Memorial (for the second time in one day! haha), we passed by the Department of State and we had to take a group selfie.
After walking around the area, we all stopped at this Burger and Shake Place called BTS near our hotel in order to grab some food. The place was known for shakes and since we had already eaten dinner, almost everyone ordered shakes and fries. I ordered their signature shake (BTS Shake) which was a vanilla shake with Butterfinger, Twix, and Snicker chunks. The shake tasted really good but the pieces of candy kept getting stuck in my teeth which was pretty annoying. We all hung out at the restaurant and talked some more in order to get to know each other. While eating, I talked mostly with Mayesha (Persian Summer 2016 Alum – Mid Atlantic/Washington D.C.) as she was across from me.
When I got back to the hotel, I met my roommate which turned out to be Jaime (Chinese Summer 2016 Alum – West Coast/Seattle Alumni Representative) and I had already talked to her a lot since she sat next to me during the presentations. We stayed up till 12:30pm on our phones and just talking about our programs and experiences. We had not gone to the same country, but we were still able to bond over the NSLI-Y experience in general. And it was fun for us to learn more about the other programs. I also found out Jaime has a blog! So I will link that here if anyone is interested in reading a blog about Chinese summer.
And that was the first day of the Alumni Representative Workshop! I wanted to just make one entire post about it but this is already past 1,000 words and I think it would be easier for me (and you, the reader) if I split it up in two parts (or maybe three… depending on how much I end up writing… hehe) But thanks for reading about this opportunity I had because of my NSLI-Y program! I had never met so many alumni in one place and especially alumni from different language programs. I can’t wait to see what events they hold in their regions and I can not wait to attend all the Chicago events with Nicole!~ (It is useful living in a region with another representative~) Thanks for reading this blog post and I hope you enjoyed. Do not forget to follow my blog for more posts about Korea as well as more alumni opportunities and other travels~ 안녕 친구들~!
- 엠마 (Emma)