Anthony Abinanti, a National Security Language Initiative Youth (NSLI-Y) program participant, is the April 2017 American Abroad Student of the Month. From Upper St. Clair High School in his home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anthony is currently wrapping up an academic year abroad of cultural exchange and Chinese (Mandarin) instruction in Kaohsiung, Taiwan at the Wenzao Urisline College of Languages.
During his year abroad, Anthony has made the most of his abroad experience by studying hard to learn more Chinese, forming bonds with his Taiwanese peers, host family and community members, and immersing himself in activities that allowed him to engage with his new community.
Anthony diligently challenges himself to improve his language skills by recording himself speaking and playing back the recordings, studying independently, and reaching out with his one-on-one tutors. Anthony volunteered at a local elementary school monthly where he, along with his NSLI-Y peers, prepared presentations on different aspects of American culture to share with the elementary school students. Anthony also found time to engage at his own school, where he entered a university calligraphy competition, and could even be found playing tennis with some professors in the morning before class.
In February, Anthony combined fun with education when he interviewed a local overnight internet sensation for his midterm project, which was focused on the study of food within the context of Taiwanese culture and Taiwanese as a language. During a recent typhoon, a woman affectionately named “Aunt Baozi” became famous on the internet for stepping out during a typhoon to eat a baozi, a type of Taiwanese steamed bun. Anthony decided to seek “Aunt Baozi” out, and visited her during a trip to Taipei. With his host family, Anthony stopped by Aunt Baozi’s fruit stand and they all at lunch with her and learned about her life.
Anthony has fully immersed himself in the NSLI-Y experience. Known for his mindfulness to invest time in building cross-cultural relationships, we’re sure that Anthony will be greatly missed by his host community when he returns in a few short months.