Monday, March 31, 2014

Nico 101

Hey guys! 

So since I still have no more official news from NSLI-Y, I have decided to introduce myself/put myself out there a bit, since maybe newcomers to this blog (HAH - if there are any xD) might not know where this all originated from.

So, hello there. 
My name is Nicholas Borbely, but I typically go by Nico. I'm a 17-year-old high school junior from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I am hugely passionate about languages, other countries and cultures, traveling, human rights, peacemaking, LGBT(QIA) rights, politics, international relations, reading, writing, music, history, animals, swimming, skiing, photography, capoeira, and so on.
My greatest passion is probably languages, which I've been super into since I was about eleven or twelve years old. I speak four languages to varying degrees: native English, fluent Italian, as my wonderful mother hails from a tiny town in northern Italy (and her entire side of the family is there), decent Spanish, which I've taken in school for three years, and haphazard (Egyptian) Arabic, from the ten-month exchange which I spent in Alexandria, Egypt, with AFS Intercultural Programs from September 2012 to June 2013. I want to learn many more as well, including Finnish, Turkish, Korean, Swedish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Czech, Dutch, Portuguese, German, Basque, Maltese, Hebrew, and Russian.
I've been lucky to have some incredible experiences which have helped me explore the world and its linguistic, cultural, and anthropological wonders. I have visited my relatives and close friends in Italy at least once a year for my whole life, and I even spent the second semester of my eighth grade year in my grandmother's home, studying at a local Italian middle school, from August 2010 to January 2011, which allowed me to deepen my familiarity and fluency with the place and in the language which have always been a part of me.
Then I started high school, which I've spent studying at a new International Baccalaureate, or IB, high school, as part of its soon-to-be inaugural graduating class - IB is essentially an advanced, internationalized curriculum which is offered and recognized in almost all of the world's countries. The opportunities I've been exposed to, the things that I've learned, and the amazing  friends that I've made make all of the late nights of project/essay writing and hair pulling (of which there are a great many) more than worth my while. :)
Then in September 2012, having completed my freshmen year, I embarked on the greatest adventure of my life so far, my year in Alexandria, Egypt with AFS, my year in the mother of the world, for which I started this blog. This experience was intense; immensely challenging yet equally rewarding. I lived with the Radwans, my lovely host family, and attended Taymour English School. My host family was by far the best thing about my exchange; they have truly become a second family to me, and I miss them very much. My experience at school was not a highlight of my experience, to put it lightly. But I still did make a few friends there that I'm glad to have met. Overall, my experience in Egypt was a challenge, as living in a country with a culture and a language so utterly different from everything I'd ever known with no one I knew by my side could be imagined. But it was equally rewarding in so many ways. My host family made everything worth it, taking me in like a brother and a son. I made amazing friends I never would have otherwise. I got to travel to beautiful places - I lived in Alexandria, I visited Cairo multiple times, and also got to explore the lesser known but beautiful cities of Ismailia, Luxor, and Aswan. And I gained an imperfect but solid base in one of the world's most beautiful and expressive languages, and an inside view of a hugely misunderstood religion and culture. So in spite of whatever hardships there were to face, it was an unbelievably worthwhile experience, which I'm very proud of. :)

And now.
As I've previously mentioned, last fall, my linguistic curiosity and passionate wanderlust stronger than ever, I applied to the NSLI-Y scholarship, with my top choices being Turkish, Russian, which I later changed to Korean, and Persian, in humble hopes that I might receive the honor of one of these amazing scholarships and get to dive headfirst into a completely new language, culture, and country. And it has payed off, more so that I ever could have hoped. :)
I will be leaving for Bursa four days after I finish finals this June, and spend six weeks there studying Turkish with a group of other Americans.
I know little more than this at the moment, so that's all I will leave you with. But for now I take solace in the fact that I am lucky enough to partake in this wonderful adventure.
Once again, thank you NSLI-Y. <3

Then, I return a week prior to the first day of my senior year, after which I intend to proceed on to college, likely to major in linguistics, anthropology, linguistic anthropology, some regionally specific cultural studies, international relations/studies, or something along those lines. I'm not entirely sure which college in particular yet, but I'm looking at the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin Madison, Indiana U Bloomington, U of Toronto, and several others.

So there you go.
This has been a post.
I sincerely hope that I've not bored you all with my incessant rambling about myself, but I just wanted to put myself out there and say hi to any newcomers. So hi. :)

I will be back as soon as I have any more exciting or significant news or thoughts.
Thanks as usual for reading everyone.
Until next time,

Hey it's my face! :P
^My current favorite song. Just felt like adding it in. 


  1. Hi, I'm a newcomer! I found your blog on the AFS Study Abroad website, liked it, and became a follower. I'm currently on exchange in Indonesia, so if you're wondering where all those Indonesian views are coming from that would be me!

  2. Hi Carly! Haha nice to know that there are some of you guys :) I've been following your blog a while as well; I typically follow back all who follow me, especially other exchange blogs. I've read a bit of yours and I can see a lot of parallels with my own experience! Probably a combination of shared Islamic culture between Egypt and Indonesia, and just general exchange similarities. Anyway, thanks for saying hey :) Hope you're having a lovely and fulfilling time. -Nico