Student Ambassadors

If you would like to connect with a student ambassador to ask questions, please contact Joseph Tamagni, Italian School Coordinator, at italianschool@middlebury.edu.

Arianna Contreras

Hometown: West Covina, California

Program: 7-week Immersion Program

Current: Pasadena City College and Supervisor at Bon Appetit Management Company

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

What surprised me the most were the people. Everybody came from all over the place and we all had at least one thing in common: to learn more about a new language and culture. This common factor is what brought everyone together and I was able to meet and make friends with people I would never had had the opportunity to encounter.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was given a wonderful opportunity to see the Middlebury Language Schools from a different point of view and I decided to pursue it. The Middlebury Italian School opened the doors for me and it completely changed my life. This program helped me figure out what I want to do with my life and I'm excited to be a part of it.

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

By the end of this summer, my Italian improved significantly. I'm a lot more fluid when speaking and reading is becoming more second nature to me in Italian. I'm currently practicing and using my Italian at the Los Angeles Institute of Italian Culture, where I'm attending advanced level Italian. This year I'm applying to Italian graduate programs and I hope to become a professor in Italian and modern languages. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the Italian School?

This program is an experience that everyone should try, it can be a fun summer experience or it can even be a life-changing one. All in all, I strongly believe it is something everyone should experience: it definitely opens one's eyes to the world we live in.

Sally Olstead

Hometown: Wichita, Kansas

Program: 7-week Immersion Program

Current: St. Olaf College, Vocal Performance

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was shocked at how much I had learned and could comprehend by the end of the seven weeks. I participated in theater, and the first few rehearsals were so difficult because everything was so fast paced, and I had taken no formal Italian courses before Middlebury. However, by the end of the summer, I could get through an entire rehearsal without having to translate individual words and phrases back into English in my head! In fact, when I left the Italian School at the end of the summer, I was having trouble speaking English. It took me a few weeks to fully readjust back to my mother language! I certainly never dreamed of having such an immersive experience in my life, especially as a Level 1.5 student, and I'm so grateful to have learned so much from such incredible people.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I had been looking to learn Italian at a summer program because my college doesn't offer it, and I'm going abroad to Milan this coming spring. The program seemed like it would be an incredibly fun and challenging opportunity. I had high hopes for a life-changing experience when I left for the Italian School, and I got that (and so much more)!

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

My Italian saw drastic improvement because of my summer with Middlebury. I walked in not even knowing how to count in Italian, and I walked out struggling to remember idiomatic expressions in English! I study classical voice in college, and now when I hear or sing an aria or art song in Italian I can better understand the meaning and beauty of the words. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the Italian School?

When you are at Middlebury Language Schools, you are surrounded by some of the brightest and best people in the world. I formed so many beautiful friendships at the Italian School that I know will be lifelong. Only the people who have ever experienced a summer at Middlebury can know exactly what you are going through, and to share that with other driven and like-minded students is so special.

Helena Waterous

Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana

Program: 7-week Immersion Program

Current: Indiana University, Music in Voice (Graduate Student)

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was surprised at how much you can really learn through immersion! I gained great proficiency, and was amazed at how well structured the classes and excellent the teachers were. I really had no idea what to expect going in, and couldn’t imagine how it was going to work, and I was very impressed.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I chose to do the course because it seemed like a more effective way (cost, time, and quality) to complete the language requirements for my degree rather than taking (traditional) university classes. I was absolutely right!

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

I am an opera singer, so languages, especially Italian, are very important to my work. I really spoke no conversational Italian before I arrived, and now I would feel confident going to Italy and being able to communicate solely in Italian, which will be essential to my work as a singer. My reading skills have greatly improved as well, which has infinitely improved my ability to relate to and communicate the Italian texts I sing. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the Italian School?

I would like to emphasize the excellence of the music instruction at this program. Patrizia Zanardi and Cosimo Colazzo are excellent teachers and I am so thankful to have worked with them. The experience is invaluable to singers!

Timothy Wong

Hometown: Foster City, California

Program: 7-week Immersion Program

Current: Test Prep and Academic Tutor, AJ Tutoring

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was surprised that the level of immersion felt stronger even when compared to travel overseas in Italy.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

It was highly recommended!

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

I intend to use my new found language skills in order to develop further as a potential graduate student.

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the Italian School?

It's worth it!

The Italian School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5874
F: 802.443.2075

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

Joe Tamagni, Coordinator
italianschool@middlebury.edu