A Travellerspoint blog

Tips for Semi-Finalist Interviews

Take a deep breath.

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Congratulations to those of you who have been notified of your status as semi-finalist! Exciting, huh? I feel so very proud to say that my sister is a semi-finalist, looking at Russia and Turkey!

Here are just some general tips for your interview, based off of my own experience with my Skype interview:

1. Check your e-mail constantly. The people who will be interviewing aren't necessarily employees of the organization you will be traveling with. They help to do interviews, but work other jobs and are perhaps most importantly of all, world travelers! That means that oftentimes it might be difficult for them to get into contact with you. For instance, I was sent an e-mail notifying me of my interview time about 25 minutes before hand! Make sure to keep an eye on your e-mail correspondence!

2. Relax! The interviewer is trying to get a good idea of your suitability to study out of the country, away from your family, for a longer period of time. There was part of my interview where it was requested that I be the only one in the room, however, there was another portion where the interviewer invited my parents if I so chose. I opted not to (they were upstairs...). If you feel more comfortable with them there, go ahead:)

3.Look presentable I did my Skype interview in my bedroom (making sure it was tidied) and changed into a nicer-looking sweater. If you are dressed a tad bit more professionally, you will feel and speak more effectively :)

4. It's a conversation! I really loved my interview because I learned as much about my interviewer as she did about me! We discussed her time in the Peace corps and my interest in exploring the program. She was very warm, and went off of a sheet of questions she had been given to ask. Don't be looking for a 'right' answer, but speak truthfully.

5.Show a connection to your target country. Why do you want to study in China? What is it about Russia that's always intrigued you? Help the interviewer to understand why you are interested in the specific language that you are.

6.Remember your application? Some of the questions came right off of the application. Especially when it came to challenges. The interviewer is
looking to see how you solve problems and what level of flexibility you have; both very necessary things for travel in a foreign country!

7.SMILE! :) Enjoy this experience. You're a semi-finalist! GO YOU *high five* Relax and keep your mind open. Answer with honesty and heart. Most importantly, SHOW YOUR PASSION! And let your personality shine through!

I hope you find these tips helpful! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Good luck!

Posted by calla.2014 22:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

I Just Came To Say Ni Hao

Highlights of an incredible trip.

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My incredibly talented friend and fellow scholar, Megan, created this incredible compilation of moments from our trip. It gives a great look at our journey! Look for snipits of morning exercises, delicious meals, time in Shanghai and of course, lots and lots of people everywhere! There's even a shot in there of me struggling after accidentally squirting hand sanitizer in my eye...

As we're currently in the throws of a blizzard with this 'Polar Vortex' taking over, it was heart-warming to look back at these wonderful (and very hot hot hot) memories!


Posted by calla.2014 22:49 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Home Sweet Home

Coming back to 14 foot tall corn and real honest-to-goodness ice cream!

Well we went from 102 F temperatures in Shanghai to 50 F degree temperatures in San Francisco! With our feet firmly planted on US soil after an 11 hour flight, it was time to say goodbyes. It was really sad to leave the 17 other students that I had been so blessed to spend my summer with-we all grew incredibly close. After goodbyes and two more flights, I arrived at Countryside around 2:00 am! My family thought it was funny to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant on Sunday after church...of course the cuisine is so very different...Musical rehearsal and preparations for school-which starts on Thursday-have begun!

I would like to thank everyone who supported me during this journey! I really appreciated all of the warm thoughts and prayers! A very big thank you to the US Department of State for this incredible opportunity. I would encourage anyone who is interested in learning top security languages to apply for next year's summer program or for the year program scholarships offered! Visit http://www.nsliforyouth.org/ for more information.

I will likely be doing at least one more post with little suggestions for next year's applicants and finalist to prepare for their trips in the future!

For now, 再见 Zàijiàn! See you again!

Posted by calla.2014 19:14 Comments (4)

Home So Soon

Bittersweet Goodbyes...

Just a quick note to apologize for my lack of updates! We've been very busy recently-finishing up the last of our class, preparing for our Culminating Projects and final exam! In just three days we will be back on the plane and heading home! Six weeks seems such a short time and Jiaxing has indubitably stolen our hearts! So many stories to tell! See you all soon!

Posted by calla.2014 01:03 Comments (3)


Seeing the rebirth of a nation through a different lens.

Last week our group took a trip to Nanhu-The Memorial Hall in Jiaxing that commemorates the birth of the Communist Party of China. That birth was originally supposed to be in Shanghai, with a meeting of the first Communist National Congress comprised of several delegates from across the nation. However, their plan was intercepted and they were forced out of Shanghai. The group took refuge right here in Jiaxing. The impromptu meeting was actually help on a boat in South Lake. I've seen the actual boat, and its pretty neat to think of the history that unraveled on that small vessel that still sits in water today! This meeting developed the rules for and outline of the CPC, and essentially birthed modern day China.

The commemorative museum was beautiful-full of artifacts and displays. There was a lot of information about the background of communism world wide as well.


It made me reflect on our own nation's history. We were, comparatively, learning about China's founding fathers! Put in that perspective, it was a curious experience to approach a governmental system that seems so very foreign in that light.


We took our share of photos, and I tried to soak in as much information as I possibly could about a system of government that has fascinated me for so long. I was excited to see other Americans also become curious!


Perhaps the best part of the trip however, was talking to the Chinese who were visiting. We tested out our language skills, and leaned a lot. One of the gentlemen I spoke with believed that China has much to learn from America because they are still in the process of developing, and we are a shinning example of a developed nation. I tried to politely correct him and explain that there are in reality still parts of America that need to be developed. Americans have a lot to learn from the simplicity of the Chinese and the rich culture that is woven through their daily lives.


Lastly, while my sister thought I was nuts for taking a picture of a sign on the escalator, I thought it was a great english translation-something we can all live by :P Stand Firm, Take Care of Your Children, and Don't Play on the Escalator.

As a former escalatorphobic, I echo the sentiment and sign off the American, Standing Firm in China.

Posted by calla.2014 19:53 Comments (1)

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