The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is taken before and after the immersion program. The purpose of this test is to measure the change in the NSLI-Y scholar’s oral proficiency in the target language from before the program to after. This is useful for NSLI-Y and the State Department to see whether or not the NSLI-Y program improves its scholars’ ability to speak a foreign language.
The OPI is offered in practically every language spoken throughout the world. I took my test in Mandarin Chinese. My interviewer called me promptly at the time I signed up for, and my interview lasted for about 25 minutes. During the interview, I solely spoke Chinese to my interviewer. Some of the topics we talked about were: my family, friends, school, sports, travel, cooking, and other activities. We then did a role-playing activity to simulate something that may occur in China. My simulation was that I borrowed my interviewer’s laptop but something went wrong. I had to explain what happened, and then offer a solution to fix the issue.
I was pretty scared before my interview, especially because I had only just completed Chinese 2 at my high school. However, my interviewer was very nice and gladly repeated herself when it was clear I was struggling.