Making a Critical Choice
At the heart of your search for a language program are some critical questions. Which approach to language study will best meet your learning needs? Which will fulfill your desire to acquire fluency as rapidly as possible? Which approach will help you to build not only the language skills, but the cultural understanding necessary to achieve your goal-be it academic research or travel abroad, teaching the language or using it to create a stronger business organization or a better world?
For nearly 100 years, people seeking to answer these questions have chosen to learn-and live-a language at the Middlebury Language Schools. To help you understand why, let me tell you a bit about Middlebury.
Every summer, students and teachers, scholars and artists, entrepreneurs and political leaders from around the world gather at the Middlebury Language Schools. They apply their considerable efforts to one goal-creating the richest, most effective language-learning environment on earth. Within this environment, a miracle occurs: in just seven or nine weeks of study, newcomers to a language gain a remarkable level of fluency. Those who arrive with basic language skills expand them dramatically, allowing them to engage with native speakers in an informed discussion of cultural, political, or social issues.
The catalyst for this miracle is the Language Pledge®, a promise made by students, faculty, and staff to communicate solely in their language of choice for the duration of their time in the program. Within the classroom, the Language Pledge supports the creation of a solid foundation in language -reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Outside the classroom, the Pledge fosters meaningful engagement and fluency acquisition, as students participate in a vast range of cocurricular activities, all of which happen in language.
While this powerful formula has remained consistent throughout our history, the Language Schools have also experienced continuous change and growth. In 2008, the first group of students attended the Brandeis University-Middlebury School of Hebrew, the latest addition to our palette of linguistic choices. In 2009 we added a second Language Schools site: Middlebury at Mills. Located on the historic Mills College campus in Oakland, California, Middlebury at Mills provides the same rich atmosphere as our Vermont campus to learners wishing to study on the West Coast.
I hope that I have been able to answer some of the critical questions you may have and to explain why dedicated, hardworking students and teachers from around the world choose to spend their summers with us. I hope you, too, will choose to join us for a summer of learning that will literally change your life.
—Michael Geisler, Vice President for Language Schools, Schools Abroad, and Graduate Programs