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Middlebury welcomes more than 1,100 students to the 2020 Summer Language Schools.

Media Contact

Ray, Sarah C.
(802) 443-5794

Language Schools Begin Summer 2020 Session

June 19, 2020

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — June marks the beginning of the Middlebury Language Schools, known internationally for their full immersion approach to language teaching. Founded in 1915, the Language Schools will welcome more than 1,100 students this summer, along with faculty and staff to a first-ever online model. Students will study Abenaki, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Middlebury is launching the School of Abenaki this summer as a two-week pilot program.

Summer 2020 will be the first time that Language Schools will not be held on the Middlebury campus in Vermont. Students will participate in online virtual classrooms for approximately four hours daily. Outside the virtual classroom, instructors will set up cocurricular activities, review sessions, one-on-one tutoring, pronunciation workshops, films, and guest speakers. The Language Schools, which generally run six to eight weeks in length, will conduct both graduate programs and nondegree immersion programs from beginner to advanced level. 

Students will sign a modified version of the Language Pledge, agreeing to speak, read, write, and listen only in the language of their school for as much time as possible during the day, and to continue in the spirit of the Language Pledge, a longtime hallmark of the Language Schools. Students will participate in virtual events such as Abenaki basket making, virtual reality tours of Florence and Tokyo, Portuguese samba dances, and German cooking and baking. The Language Schools will also host virtual events on their YouTube channel that are open to the public and alumni.

“Though students will be studying virtually from their homes around the country and around the world, we’re determined to welcome them to our community of learners in each school, with all the richness of cultural experiences and all the potential for human connection that community has to offer,” said Dean of Language Schools Steve Snyder. “The directors, faculty, and staff remain dedicated to providing the innovative and rigorous instruction in languages and cultures for which the schools are known. It’s the reason we’re here and the work that each of us loves.”

Students will bring a wide range of experiences with them this summer. Twenty-two students, mostly from around the Northeast region of the United States, will enroll in the School of Abenaki. Nearly 20 Yale undergraduates will enroll in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean through the Richard U. Light Fellowship Program. The Language Schools will include undergraduate and graduate students from across the country and around the world, along with working professionals including journalists, active and retired military, healthcare and business professionals, musicians, and clergy.

Since 1915, more than 50,000 students from all walks of life—including more than 12,000 advanced degree holders—have attended one or more of the Language Schools.

More information about the Middlebury Language Schools can be found online or by contacting the Language Schools at 802-443-5510. For a list of virtual summer events open to the public, please see the event list and log onto the Middlebury Language Schools YouTube page.