Middlebury

January 9, 2002

Contact:
Sarah Ray

802-443-5794

sray@middlebury.edu

Posted: January 9, 2002

MIDDLEBURY,
VT
- Middlebury College has established a Portuguese
Language School, which will open in the summer of 2003. As
Middlebury’s ninth language school, it will be the
first new summer program since the Arabic School was
inaugurated in 1982. The College will also offer its
undergraduate students beginner-level Portuguese during the
2002-2003 academic year, and plans to provide opportunities
to study abroad in Brazil starting in 2003.

According to
Michael Katz, Middlebury College dean of language schools
and schools abroad, recent data on Portuguese language
studies indicates there are approximately:

  • 200
    million speakers worldwide
  • 150
    language programs at United States institutions of higher
    education
  • 6,500
    undergraduate students taking courses in Portuguese in
    the United States
  • 500
    graduate students taking courses in Portuguese in the
    United States

Although
Portuguese is the world’s sixth most commonly spoken
language, at present there is only one summer program in the
United States devoted exclusively to its study.

In Brazil,
where Portuguese is the primary language, close to 170
million people make up the world’s sixth largest
population. It ranks fifth in size, has the eighth largest
economy, and is the United States’ largest trading
partner in South America.

"Portugal
itself is a cultural and historic jewel, a vital member of
the European Union, and an important ally of the United
States. Portuguese is still widely used in many of its
former colonies in Africa and Asia," said Katz.

During the
spring of 2002 Middlebury will recruit a director for the
Portuguese School. The director will spend the summer of
2002 observing the other eight language schools in
operation, meeting with staff and administrators, and
planning for the following year. The Portuguese School will
begin full operation in the summer of 2003 with
approximately 30 students. Undergraduate language
instruction will be offered in a seven-week program on three
levels-- beginning, intermediate and advanced.

Last summer,
approximately 1,150 students came to Middlebury to
participate in the Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian,
Japanese, Russian and Spanish Language Schools.

During the
course of the Middlebury College Language schools’
86-year history, more than 36,000 students from all walks of
life—including more than 11,000 advanced degree
holders—have attended one or more of the schools.
Corporate executives study side-by-side with writers,
journalists, doctors, lawyers, missionaries, government
officials and diplomats. Undergraduates and graduate
students from Middlebury College and other institutions also
attend the summer sessions to fulfill language requirements
or complete degrees.

Under the
guidance of approximately 200 faculty members from colleges
and universities throughout the world, students of all ages
and numerous nationalities live on campus, totally immersed
in their target language. Students eat, sleep, drink, and
shop the language they have come to study, and all agree to
abide by the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak
the language of study and no other for the entire summer
session.

Each summer,
the College offers three sessions for foreign languages: a
nine-week session for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian;
a seven-week session for French, German, Italian and
Spanish; and a six-week session for graduate-level French,
German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.