How do you gain true fluency in a language? Eliminate the distractions and immerse yourself.
When you're surrounded by English speakers on a traditional campus, it’s difficult to keep your mind on the language you’re trying to learn. Even when you study abroad, you’ll find plenty of distractions.
A summer at the Portuguese School is an immersion in a pure language environment, from the classroom to the soccer field and all points in between. “We do have distractions here,” says Portuguese School Director Luci Moreira, “but all the distractions are in Portuguese.” These include a wide array of in-language cocurricular activities—among them capoeira, samba, soccer, yoga, and cooking—each designed to help you build new vocabulary while developing cultural fluency.
With the support of the Luso-American Foundation (FLAD) from 2008 to 2010, we were able to bring Portuguese writer Rui Zink and additional faculty. We continue honoring the European Portuguese variant with a faculty and/or writer-in-residence each year. To celebrate our diversity, African writer Ondjak, and the Ambassadors of Cape Verde and Mozambique have joined us for the summer program.
Internationally acclaimed singer Stacey Kent and musician Jim Tomlinson participated in the program, first as students, and later as our artists-in-residence. They will be also perform at the Centennial celebrations of the Middlebury Language Schools this summer.
Each year we bring a Brazilian writer-in-Residence, who has shared their experiences with our students: Roberto DaMatta, Marina Colasanti, Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna, Moacyr Scliar, Conceição Evaristo, Miriam Alves, Álvaro Cardoso, Ana Maria Gonçalves, Laurentino Gomes, and Lira Neto.
For this coming year, we are diligently working to prepare another unforgettable summer, combining an immersion environment with rigorous daily classroom instruction. With these elements in place, students make remarkable gains in fluency, which is the norm in the Portuguese School, not the exception.