“With the language skills I acquired during the seven week course I was able to hit the ground running. My learning curve was incredibly accelerated. My Brazilian host family continuously asked me how long I had been studying Portuguese. I told them about the seven week course that I had taken previous to coming to Brazil, and they always asked, “and what else?” They were so impressed my language skills. The truth is that the Middlebury Portuguese Program prepared me better than I could have ever imagined. At Middlebury, I was taught by Brazilians to comprehend and speak, and this training provided an ideal transition to a real world Brazilian environment. I even crossed several regions of Brazil, and being familiar with several different accents (thanks to my professors at Middlebury from all different regions of Brazil), I was able to adapt with relative ease. My ear was already trained for the “chiado” of Belém and the sotaque of São Paulo. I could not have been prepared any better for my stay in Brazil.”
This isn't Andrew Leong's first time at Middlebury. In 2006, he spent a summer in the Japanese School as part of his exploration of literature written by Japanese migrants to the Americas. Now, he's taking on Portuguese. "The largest part of the Japanese diaspora is in Brazil," says Andrew. "I'm improving my Portuguese so I can do research in-language." After Middlebury, Andrew will travel to Japan on a Fulbright grant. There, he'll study primary source documents and interview migrants of Japanese descent who have returned from Brazil and Peru.
"Once I decided to study Portuguese, I only considered Middlebury. Despite never having formally studied the language, I knew that the Pledge and the top-notch faculty would help me develop a strong foundation for future language study. And I can think of no better place to conjugate verbs than sitting in an Adirondack chair in the verdant hills of Vermont."
"Being from a multicultural family, I've always been a strong proponent of creating a culture of citizen diplomacy around the world. After earning my BA in Anthropology and Spanish, I took this idea and began to focus on developing accessible international exchange programs, mainly in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. It was a desire to speak Portuguese fluently and promote peaceful collaboration and political dialogue in Latin America that attracted me to Middlebury—only an immersion program this strong could achieve such great results in seven weeks. For me, learning Portuguese is a means to becoming a better peace-builder in my home continent of Latin America, as well as an end-goal in itself to gain a greater knowledge of the language and lusophone cultures around the world. The program at Middlebury was challenging, fun, and most of all, effective."
A language student who ended up becoming a multi-lingual world-touring jazz vocalist, Stacey Kent sings the praises of the Portuguese School: "I've spent four summers at the Language Schools studying various languages, but last summer was the first time I attended as a 'Level 1.' This was a daunting task—spending seven weeks studying a new language without knowing a single word beforehand. And yet, I could not have had a better summer! We learned quickly, and I left the course feeling extremely confident about the foundation that I've begun to build in this language. Not only is the teaching excellent, but the dedication and support from professors is immeasurable. It is their encouragement that helps you to hang in there."
"One big family. That's how I felt after my summer at the Middlebury Portuguese School. I got involved in the theatre group and even tried yoga for the first time. Aside from that, we were the soccer champions of our league! The best part of the whole experience was that I made lasting friends, and that everything was done in Portuguese. The instructors were more than teachers—they were friends and mentors. I highly recommend the Portuguese School to anyone seriously interested in improving their Portuguese or learning it from scratch. I don't think you could find a comparable language-learning experience anywhere else."