Saturday (Jan 7th, 2017) was the first (and only) full day of our Alumni Representative Workshop. I woke up at the crack of dawn to get ready and showered before breakfast at the hotel at 7:30am. After breakfast, all the Alumni Representatives and I got right down to business as we had to prepare ourselves for a long day of presentations at American Councils.
We had presentations on our virtual presence on social media as alumni representatives, in-person event planning, the different types of in-person events, goal setting, and virtual events (the one I was most looking forwards to since I needed more information on what I could do being a virtual engagement alumni.)
We also were given some time (in groups) to plan out what events we wanted to hold, figuring out what time we need to start preparing, and what things would need to be prepared. During this time of the workshop, I came up with 4 ideas of events I wanted to hold ( 3 virtual events. Two for every alumni and one just for Korean alumni.) but If you want to know about those… follow the NSLI-Y Alumni Facebook pages and make sure you also follow NSLI-Y’s social media because my events could turn up there ^^
NSLI-Y Social Media
During the middle of all of the presentations, we got to take a short walk around the building. It was super cold outside and it was snowing a lot. It was nice because for the students whom had never seen snow before (like Angela (NSLI-Y Chinese Summer 2015 Alum – Southeast/Orlando Alumni Representative) and the walk was just what we needed to get all of our energy out before some more sitting.
The president of American Councils also showed up and talked to us for a bit about languages, being a cultural ambassadors, etc. It was really interesting to hear what he had to say, especially when he started talking about the Department of State and his language skills (He speaks Russian (A NSLI-Y Language fluently!) We also took a lot of photos with each other in front of the American Council’s “photo” area.
After all of our presentations, we all split up into taxis to head to dinner at Georgetown. We ate at this restaurant called Bangkok Joe’s (and it serves what you think – Thai food). I ended up only ordering a small plate of shrimp dumplings because I wasn’t feeling too well and I knew eating a lot wouldn’t help the situation.
After dinner, some of the reps went ice skating at Washington Harbor. I would have loved to participate in that activity but I was way too cold and like I mentioned earlier – I was not feeling good that evening. I ended up going with another group of reps to walk around Georgetown and find a place to sit in for an hour or so. We ended up deciding to try and find cupcakes (more specifically Georgetown Cupcake). After walking for what seemed like the longest time, we found the cupcakes. I had seen episodes of the show and I was really excited to try out the famous desserts!~
We got back to the hotel around 9pm. Most of us reps were hanging out in the lobby when someone (I think Ben ?) brought up the idea of having a pasta party. Everyone took it very seriously. Nicole also wanted to buy a Department of State Hoodie that she had seen vendors selling in D.C. before and Jeremy mentioned how certain stores, like CVS, sometimes carry merchandise like that. So a group of us (Andy, Jeremy, Nicole, Jaime, James, Alisa, and I) went off to CVS to allow Nicole to buy her sweatshirt but also to buy some pasta and tomato sauce for our pasta party. Nicole could not find what she was looking for but most of us bought some D.C. souvenirs. (I bought postcards and a couple of shot glasses for my parents and their collection.)
After a lot of arguing… the party was decided to be held in Andy, Deni, and Jeremy’s room (I believe I got the roommates right… ? haha). The cooks of the night were Alisa and Andy who made some pretty bomb pasta. The hotel room did not have enough bowls for us so we ended up having to serve some pasta in wine glasses. I was all for eating pasta out of wine glasses – It was definitely an experience.
During the pasta party I was putting some finishing touches on this application I was working on while hanging out with all the Alumni Reps and listening to their stories. Most of the night was spent sharing funny stories and mostly talking about our time in our host country among other things.
We hung out in the hotel room for the longest time because it was our last night together. I ended up getting back up to my room with my roommate Jaime at 1:00am. We both still had to pack as we would be needing to check out of our rooms in the late morning. We packed that night but we also talked for a long time. We ended up staying up until 2:30 “packing” but mostly talking about who knows what. It was really nice getting so close to the Alumni Reps. They are honestly such AMAZING people~ (and so talented too! I am jealous XD)
The next morning (01/08/17) we had breakfast at the hotel again and had our last presentation on public speaking at the hotel rather than walking to American Councils.
The coolest part of Sunday was being interviewed for the Department of State’s Snapchat! On their snapchat they were going to have a segment on us, NSLI-Y Alumni Representatives, and our experiences (since the Department of State funds NSLI-Y). It was very fun to see everyone else get interviewed because I got to hear everyone else speak their target language and hear their favorite parts of their own program. I was also interviewed as the Korean summer alumni. I said (In english) that my favorite part of my study abroad experience was the language exchange camp (한미 캠프) with a bunch of Korean teenagers. (I would have said my host family but Elise had said that and I did not want to repeat anything.) The funniest part of the interview was when we found out that Ryan, Chinese Fall Semester 2011 Alum, had actually met the president of China. After he translated what he had said, we all screamed and demanded the story. It was hilarious! (It was kind of a “you have to be there” type moment)
After the interview, Alisha, Nicole, and I had to leave in a taxi to the airport shortly. We quickly grabbed some lunch at this vegetarian place that was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel.
When we came back, we had to say goodbye to everyone and take our last selfies together (To the west coast kids (whose flights were later in the evening) and to the 4 kids who were staying an extra day). A great part of this workshop was being able to meet so many other alumni from across the country. I can now basically go anywhere in the U.S. and have a friend to possibly meet up with. (And another fellow Chicagoan to hang out with!) I am so happy to be able to have these connections because of my NSLI-Y experience. It was really sad saying goodbye to everyone (even if we had only known each other for a weekend) but I can not wait to see all the pictures of what we alumni end up doing with our events. We will meet up eventually~ 😉
I want to say a big thanks to NSLI-Y, American Councils, and The Department of State for making this weekend possible and I am so grateful to have been able to experience this workshop with some amazing alumni and better yet, be an alumni representative for this year 2017! I can not wait to hold events and do my best in this position that I have been given. Thanks for reading this blog post and I hope you enjoyed. Part 1 of this weekend will be posted here if you have not already read it and do not forget to subscribe to my blog in order to read up on more posts about South Korea, Studying Abroad, and Alumni Opportunities (as I am one now ^^) Thanks again!~
- Emma (엠마)