Anxious. Nervous. Excited.
These three adjectives broadly encompass the whole spectrum of emotions I was feeling between submitting my application and getting my first status update. I was immediately relieved to submit my application just before the due date, however, this relief soon turned to stress and anxiety as I realized that I no longer had control over my nsliy fate. Yet at the same time, I was proud of what I had submitted and knew that I could not have produced a more competitive application. Honestly, these couple weeks between late October and mid-December produced so many emotions for me that changed so rapidly.
I was elated to learn that I had received semifinalist status in December. I was actually at my cross country end-of-season banquet, and when I got that email I practically jumped out of my seat! Knowing that nsliy and iEARN partners recognized my achievements and thought I would be an asset to the program really reaffirmed my confidence in myself and my application.
After my initial happiness began to subside (yet it never completely went away!), I started to complete the semifinalist application. This was not so much an application, but rather health and legal forms to show iEARN that if you are awarded the scholarship you would be good to go. The only major part of this application was the in-person interview, which was required of all applicants. My interview was part of a large interview event for nsliy and other State Department-run study programs. I had a very nice interviewer who had actually done a similar study abroad in Hong Kong when he was in high school. While I cannot say what the exact questions were, many were focused on yourself and “getting to know” you. The interview was clearly looking for honest answers about yourself, your capabilities, your strengths & weaknesses, and your motives for joining the program. Additionally, there were some hypotheticals to see how you would react in different surroundings/situations.
Following my interview, I was feeling very confident in myself. Yet it would be another few weeks (Feb – late March) until I would hear about my finalist status.