Academic Programs

Non-Degree Intensive Language Program

The Chinese School prides itself on dedicated faculty and staff, a rigorous, well-implemented curriculum, a speak-Chinese-only total immersion learning environment, and a low student-teacher ratio. At the end of each eight-week summer session, comparisons of entrance and exit speaking and reading proficiency test results lend clear credibility to this claim.

The eight-week session offers courses in modern Mandarin at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. These courses are designed to help learners of all ages 18 and over to develop and improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The curriculum at all levels also aims to help learners acquire and expand their knowledge of Chinese culture.

Total Immersion
Students are exposed to texts prepared in both traditional and simplified characters, as well as to a variety of vocabulary and usages current in both mainland China and Taiwan. Language learning activities in and outside of class simulate real life situations requiring the use of spoken and written Chinese.

Each course covers the equivalent of one academic year’s worth of material within the eight-week period, and will meet for about four hours each day for morning classroom lecture, small group drill sessions, and individual one-on-one practice. Students should expect to devote four to six hours to out-of-class homework and study each day. Additionally, the Chinese School students participate in co-curricular activities, such as tai chi, hiking, calligraphy, cooking, and singing, weekly social events, and daily social exchange during meal times, study groups, and free time activities to practice and improve their language skills.

We have built into our curriculum an active assessment component which monitors and measures student progress. Low faculty-student ratio ensures each student receives individual attention. Teachers are available every day during office hours, in the dorm and dining hall for individual consulting, feedback, and support. Both teachers and students work diligently as coaches and learners, respectively to ensure that each student's ability to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese improves dramatically day-by-day throughout the summer.


Classes and co-curricular activities for the eight-week session are scheduled for Monday-Friday, while films, hikes, performances, and social gatherings are scheduled for the weekends.

Class Lecture: 8:00-9:50 am
Group Drill: 10:10 am - 12:00 noon
Individual Practice: 2:00-3:30 pm
Co-curricular Activities: 4:00-5:30 pm

Placement Level

Placement level will be determined by Chinese School teachers based on an online language assessement completed in the Spring prior to campus arrival, and an oral interview done on the first Saturday of the session. Acceptance into the Chinese School does not assume or guarantee placement in a particular level of instruction. Our main goal is to help all students increase their ability to use Chinese as much as possible within an eight-week period. As students come from many different backgrounds and various instructional programs, students may find themselves placed at a level below or above what they may have expected. In enrolling in the Chinese School, you indicate your willingness to accept guidance from the School as to your placement in the course level most appropriate to your needs and current proficiency.


The 8-week session normally grants 4 units of credit (12 semester-hours). A summer language session is equivalent to roughly one academic year of language study.


Master's Degree Program

The Chinese School graduate-level program focuses specifically on Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. This is designed for current teachers of Chinese or those who wish to teach Chinese.

The Chinese School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5520
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Chinese School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

Mimi Clark, Coordinator