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.
Welcome Summer Students!

Parton offers a variety of health and counseling services to students participating in our Vermont campus summer programs.

We also offer limited health services to summer faculty and staff. Counseling for faculty and staff is available in the local community, but not on campus.

Details on specific services offered during the summer can be found at the links below:

Health Service
Counseling
Insurance
Prescriptions
Language School Immersion Stress

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The Chinese House

chinesehouse
 
108 South Main St.
Middlebury, VT

 
The Chinese House is where eight students of Chinese can live to improve their language skills. Living at the house entails signing a language pledge similar to that of Middlebury's summer school. This pledge obliges the student to speak only Chinese while in the house. It is a place where Chinese students can come together with the resident native-speaking lecturer. The house contains eight singles, a living room area, dining room area, and kitchen where the students may take full advantage of cooking Chinese food.
 

Cooking at the Chinese HouseKaraoke
Celebrating a birthday
 
 
Want to live at the Chinese House?
 
To apply to live or be a PA in the Chinese House, please fill out the application below and send to Prof. Katherine Wang (contact information below).
 

 

If you would like more general information on residing in an interest house, please visit this Residential Life & Housing website:

http://www.middlebury.edu/studentlife/residentiallife/housinginfo

 
 
House Contact
 
Prof. Katherine Wang (2013-2014 housing)
Voter 101
802.443.3402
ywang@middlebury.edu

 

 


 
 
 

Language Schools

Consulting Us About a Distressed Student

Middlebury's Language Schools are renowned for their excellence in producing high levels of language acquisition. The experience of language immersion, combined with the Language Pledge, (a formal commitment required of all students to speak, listen, read, and write in their language of study as the only means of communication for the summer session), open opportunities for students to communicate in their target language and deepen their cultural understanding.

This intense program may produce tension. Some of this may be pleasurable, stimulating, "euphoric" tension, and may enhance the learning experience. However, "dysphoric" tension—disagreeable, discouraging—may also result. What follows is a brief description of some sources of dysphoric tension and things students can do about it.

  • 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 that many face. 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.

Coping Strategies

  • Seek out opportunities to engage in activities where your skills, intelligence, and creativity can be expressed. It will remind you about who you fully are.
  • Participate in sports and exercise; this is an excellent mode of self-expression that requires minimal language use.
  • Go for a long walk alone: enjoy nature and solitude.
  • When necessary, call family and friends at home to put language school (and other) concerns in perspective.
  • Visit the Center for Counseling and Human Relations: it can provide you with a space where you can talk about your concerns (in English) and allow the full expression of your personality. (The language pledge is suspended at the counseling center.)
  • Most of all, try not to be too hard on yourself. Remember, making mistakes is a natural, integral part of learning a new language.

Tips on Being a Good Language Learner (from the Language Schools Handbook)

  • BE OBSERVANT: Keep your eyes and ears open. Much of what you need is going on around you rather than in your teaching materials.
  • BE (OR BECOME) AN EXTROVERT, PARTICIPATE: Jump in, ask when you don't know, make mistakes. Experiment, learn to develop guessing strategies and be willing to make hypotheses.
  • BE PREPARED FOR FRUSTRATION: Interacting with others in another language can be a humbling experience. Increasing one's proficiency in a second (or third) language and culture takes both time and concentrated effort. Learn to be self-conscious in a productive way. Get some exercise and stay as rested as you can.
  • BE YOUR OWN TEACHER: Develop your own strategies, figure out what works for you - taking notes outside of class, mnemonic tricks, talking to yourself, etc.
  • USE MEMORIZATION: Look for routines, fixed or formulaic chunks of language you can use over and over, bits of songs or plays, etc.
  • AIM FOR DISCOURSE, NOT WORDS: Think beyond the sentence, in terms of context, relationships, and overall meaning. A perfectionist's approach to detail will almost certainly prove counterproductive. Especially in the beginning, attention to meaning should come before attention to form.
  • GO WITH THE FLOW: Do not rely on rules or explanations to the exclusion of keeping things moving. Develop your ability to paraphrase and use circumlocutions when you do not know a word, rather than give up or lapse into silence.

Middlebury College
Counseling Services
Ext. 5141

Produced by Ene Piirak, Ph.D., Counseling services. Some material adapted from research conducted by Drs. Radnofsky and Spielmann.

Radnofsky, Mary L. and Spielmann, Guy. "The Role of Euphoric and Dysphoric Tension in Language Acquisition: An Ethnographic Study of Beginners' Experience at the Middlebury French School." Research paper funded by a grant through the Middlebury College Language Schools.

Multilingual and ESL Support

The Writing Center and CTLR are committed to supporting students who are non-native speakers of English. Peer writing tutors are given training and resources for working specifically with ESL students. 

Although Middlebury does not have an intensive English acquisition or ESL program, it does offer language support in a number of ways: The Writing Program offers a First-Year Seminar and Writing Workshop courses (WRPR 0100 & WRPR 0101). In addition, the Writing Center, located in CTLR, offers optional workshops in reading, writing, and speaking, as well as individual sessions with peer tutors and writing faculty. CTLR also collaborates with staff and faculty across the campus to support students within their programs of study.

Engaging in Class DiscussionAcademic Speaking: Class Discussion and Presentations
 Top 60 WordsAcademic English Vocabulary: Top 60 Words

*Also see CTLR Learning Resources

For individual Multilingual Student Support in fall, 2015, please contact Professor of Writing, Hector J. Vila, Ph.D. (hvila@middlebury.edu). In winter and spring 2016, you may also contact the Writing Program's multilingual specialist Shawna Shapiro (sshapiro@middlebury.edu).

(Appointments with professional writing tutors can be made online or by contacting CTLR)

 

 

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Who am I? How should we live?
What can we know? What can I hope for?

Raphael, "School of Athens," 1509-10, Vatican, Rome

Raphael, "School of Athens," 1509-10, Vatican, Rome

 

Many of these most basic questions are developed in depth by different branches of philosophy. For instance, ethics asks: what is good and bad, right and wrong? What is justice? Epistemology asks: what is knowledge as opposed to mere opinion or belief? How do we justify knowledge claims? Aesthetics asks: what is art and what is beauty? Logic asks: what are the rules of critical thinking and sound argument?

Philosophy encourages us to uncover presuppositions, to scrutinize arguments, and to reflect clearly and creatively about the most fundamental questions informing our legal, political, scientific, artistic, and moral pursuits. The Philosophy Department at Middlebury explores these pursuits through a diverse offering of courses, on topics both historical and contemporary. Students well-versed in philosophy gain outstanding preparation for graduate study and law school, as well as for medicine, business, and many other professions.

 

The study of classics at Middlebury provides you both with intellectual skills that are useful in any career, and with the experience of ideas that will enrich your thinking about life and the world around you.

The field of classics covers the languages, literatures, art, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome.  The Classics Department and Classical Studies Program offer courses in ancient languages (Latin and Greek) and a broad range of topics in classical civilization (ancient history, art, law, literature, philosophy, political theory, and religion) for which knowledge of the ancient languages is not necessary. All courses are open to majors and non-majors alike, and many of our students start their language study at Middlebury.

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