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Two Juniors Accepted Into Language Intensive in Taiwan


Anika Bhatia Villarama ’25 and Ethan Silverman ’25

Two Ravenscroft students, Anika Bhatia Villarama ’25 and Ethan Silverman ’25, have been accepted into a summer language intensive that will further their study of Chinese language and culture.

The program, the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, is run by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is one part of its programming designed to foster international cooperation by ensuring that Americans have the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge necessary to communicate effectively on the global stage. According to the website, “NSLI-Y provides overseas critical language-study opportunities to American youth through merit-based scholarships to spark a lifetime interest in critical foreign languages and cultures.”

Ethan and Anika will spend six weeks in Taiwan this summer, expanding their Chinese-language proficiency through intensive in-class instruction, cultural presentations and activities, and home stays with host families. They will also enjoy cultural activities such as cooking, arts and crafts, and martial arts instruction.

Both Ravens are currently taking upper-level Mandarin with Upper School teacher Yi-Wen Liu and say this opportunity will help them further their goals for achieving greater fluency.

“I have been studying Mandarin for seven years now, and I come from a multicultural family background so I have had a lot of cultural immersion growing up,” Anika said. “I have done several summer learning programs throughout high school, but I have never gotten to devote the amount of time I wanted into my Chinese-learning experience, so this opportunity was interesting to me. I am most excited to explore Chinese culture outside of the classroom.” 

“Under Ms. Liu and the Ravenscroft program, it’s been amazing to explore the Chinese language and culture,” Ethan added. “She introduced me to the NSLI-Y program and explained how an immersion program is the best way to achieve my goal of being comfortable communicating with native speakers.”

The students, both juniors, also noted that the summer intensive will further their college and career plans as well. 

“I’m very interested in a global/international business experience,” Ethan explained. “Being fluent in Mandarin is something I hope to use when studying abroad in Asia while in college as well as in my future business career.”

Anika agreed. “I would love to get into working in finance and international trade, so my knowledge of Chinese culture will most definitely be valuable.”

Liu said she was very proud of Ethan and Anika for how hard they have worked to earn this opportunity, which is highly competitive.

“As a Mandarin teacher for the past three years, I am very lucky to have students like them,” she said. “They are willing to dedicate their summer to study the language intensively in Taiwan with NSLI-Y. Witnessing their growth and foreseeable future success is the most rewarding part of being a high school Mandarin teacher.”