The initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and provides merit-based scholarships.
"I found out about the scholarship from my AP world history teacher," Emily said in an email. "I applied because I am passionate about studying abroad as I want to work in the United Nations one day."
Emily will be in Morocco from mid-June to early August. The scholarship covers all program costs including travel, tuition, educational and cultural activities focused on language learning, meals and accommodations. She will stay with a host family.
"This will be the first time I am ever studying Arabic formally," Emily said. "I am currently trying to learn the Arabic alphabet and basic phrases before I leave."
Old Mill High does not offer Arabic, so Emily will attempt to do an online independent study course next year, but the school doesn't have any approved online Arabic classes for high school credit. She is currently in her fifth year of French and has participated in a French immersion program and a five-week conversational French course at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.
"I am extremely excited for Morocco," Emily said. "I know it will be an incredibly life-changing experience. I look forward to taking pictures of everything, bonding with my host family, trying the food, wearing the clothes and am most excited for the magical moment when I am competent enough in Arabic that I can communicate with my Moroccan family and friends."
Emily is currently the founder and president of the Model United Nations team at Old Mill, plus vice president of the IB Advisory Board. She is an active volunteer at AFS, an exchange organization which supports intercultural learning experiences, where she works with the students participating in YES, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program for secondary students from Muslim populations spending time in the United States.
After high school, Emily dreams of attending Tufts University to major in international relations and minor in French and Arabic.
"Once I come back, there will be a wealth of opportunities available to me from the State Department," Emily said. "The exchange itself will be inspiring."