Columbia River High School student Andrew Douglas

Next month, Columbia River High School’s Andrew Douglas is headed to India. Douglas was tapped to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth. The freshman is the only student from the Pacific Northwest and one of only five students from across the U.S. selected for the initiative’s one-year Hindi academic program.

Douglas will attend the private Emerald Heights International School in Indore, India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. He’ll learn the Hindi culture and language—used in government and business—and live with a local family for part of the year.

Douglas has been expanding his global knowledge for much of his life. He’s a history expert and has placed among the top competitors at many regional and national history competitions.

India was his first choice of countries to visit. Douglas, who is considering studying economics, international relations and/or political science in college, points to the country’s growth and relatively small number of U.S.-based native Hindi speakers. “As the U.S. becomes more invested in India, which is going to become a valuable ally, I support that there’s more people in the U.S. who speak Hindi,” he said.

Launched in 2006, the initiative is designed to improve Americans’ ability to speak languages that are not commonly taught in the U.S. and engage with people from around the world.