"The experience is life changing," says Layth Khan '20 of the time he spent in China this summer.
Layth was chosen by the U.S. State Department to participate in the National Security Language Institute for Youth's [NSLI-Y] highly competitive and elite overseas study program. He spent July and part of August in Chengdu where he attended school to learn Mandarin, lived with a host Chinese family and experienced the local culture in a full immersion environment.
"It was an honor to represent my country and Canisius as a student ambassador in China," Layth says, "I had an incredible time and my ability to speak Mandarin improved dramatically as a result of my six weeks there."
The NSLI-Y program is part of a multi-agency U.S. Government initiative launched in 2006 to improve U.S. citizens' abilities to communicate in select critical languages to advance international dialogue and increase U.S. economic global competitiveness. More than 3,300 high school students from across the U.S. applied for the program this year, and Layth was among the 670 selected.
"My goal is to continue to build my knowledge of Mandarin - I'll definitely take the AP placement test," says Layth as he now prepares for his junior year at Canisius. "Whether I pursue the life sciences or business as a career - or both - I think there will be a need for Americans who are able to communicate with Chinese partners and build bridges, and I'd like to play that role."