Middlebury

 

Immersion Stress

The Language Schools are renowned for their excellence in producing high levels of language acquisition. The experience of language immersion, combined with the Language Pledge, open opportunities for students to communicate in their target language and deepen their cultural understanding. Here are some important points to remember as you enter the program:

  • Language is one of our primary modes of self-expression. When learning a new language, we are initially limited in our ability to demonstrate our cognitive and creative capabilities, using our fledgling language skills.
  • Embarking on a new language is like entering a new reality, for language is used not only for communication but as the medium through which we construct our world. The words available to us influence how we think about things.
  • In this “new reality” our sense of self may be altered. Because of our limited language abilities, we may begin to perceive of ourselves as less competent than in our “native language personalities”. This may be unnerving for Middlebury language learners who are highly accomplished professionals, teachers, graduate students or undergraduates in their “real” lives.
  • When arriving at Middlebury, one is confronted with a new social milieu. Making friends and discovering one’s position within this setting are natural concerns. With limited communication skills, it may be difficult to let one’s personality shine through.
  • A social hierarchy may develop, where more accomplished speakers seek out other accomplished speakers. Relatively inarticulate beginners may feel frustrated at their inability to express complex ideas or make a precise point. They may find their ability to relate to others affected.
  • Some students react by withdrawing from social interactions and feeling a lack of self-confidence. Depression or anxiety may result. Students often go through several phases of feelings with regard to the Language School experience. “Should I even be here?” “Am I at the right language level?” are questions that some students confront at the outset.