If you would like to connect with a student ambassador to ask questions, please contact Sheila Schwaneflugel, School of French Assistant Director, at sschwaneflugel@middlebury.edu.

French student Bill Hamlett

Bill Hamlett

Hometown: Kent, Connecticut
Program: Master’s Summer option
Current: French Teacher, Kent School

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

The surprising mix of rigor and fun, real-life, grounded learning, and the pleasure of getting lost in the beauty and complexity of French language and literature.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

Initially, to deepen my knowledge of French and enrich my expression. I continued for the pleasure of it!

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

Middlebury strengthened my foundations and expanded my cultural knowledge. However, it was experience in France and translating that honed it. Middlebury put me at an enormous advantage in my personal life as a French speaker and professionally as a teacher and translator.

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the School of French?

This is a difficult program, both emotionally and intellectually. But in the end, embracing the unique challenge that Middlebury provides is transformative. The first prerequisite is courage; the second is persistence and patience.

French student Immaculee Niwemugeni

Immaculee Niwemugeni

Hometown: Dover, New Hampshire
Program: Master’s Summer option
Current: French Teacher, Portsmouth High School

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was surprised by the dedication of the students, faculty, and staff.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I chose the Middlebury Language Schools because I liked how welcoming the staff are. They make you feel like you belong at Middlebury.

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

I use the french language everyday in my teaching.

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the School of French?

Being able to speak another language from a francophone country in complete immersion for 6 weeks is amazing. The Middlebury Language Schools has very well qualified teachers and is a great place for future connections.

French student Mark O'Neil

Mark O’Neil

Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Program: Master’s Summer option
Current: French Teacher, Denver Public Schools

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was very impressed by the caliber of professors and the seriousness with which all participants approached the program. Both of these attributes led to a surprising increase in my language skills in all domains. Being in an immersive environment is paramount to language learning and a key to the program at Middlebury.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

It is truly a world-renowned program of study. With professors traveling from all over the francophone world to share with us their expertise, Middlebury Language Schools truly offer a once-in a-lifetime opportunity.

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

The fluidity of my language production has increased immeasurably. The reading and writing have allowed me to augment my vocabulary that I then use when speaking. There are few environments where you can do that all in one setting. As a French teacher, I am able to use my experiences learning new vocabulary and speech techniques that I am able to share with my students. The proximity to learning is so close that I rarely forget what it is like to learn new bits of language, and my students appreciate that understanding.

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the School of French?

Besides the academic aspects, the events and activities truly help to form unique bonds with classmates and professors alike. If you’re in need of networking and/or expanding your horizons as far as friends with similar interests, Middlebury should not be passed up!

French student Erin Smith

Erin Smith

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee
Program: Master’s Summer option
Current: ESOL Instructor, English Language Institute of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I was surprised by the sense of community among students, professors, and staff. Even though I arrived not knowing anyone, I quickly felt I had lots of support and encouragement. I was nervous about living with people I had never met because I’m a fairly introverted person. I was also worried that the environment would be very competitive and that my spoken French wouldn’t be as good as that of the other students. However, these worries proved to be totally unnecessary. I was amazed by how supportive everyone was and by how much everyone wanted each other to succeed. It was an incredible experience.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

Being able to speak French with ease has been a dream of mine since I took my first French class in high school. I majored in French as an undergraduate, but after graduating I didn’t have many opportunities to speak it. I lost some of my fluency and a lot of confidence, and I was disappointed in myself for letting go of something that had meant so much to me for so long. When I heard about the Middlebury Language Pledge®, I knew that I wanted to study there because an immersive environment was exactly what I needed to achieve the level of spoken French that I wanted.

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

My spoken French improved immensely at Middlebury. I had felt pretty comfortable writing in, reading, and listening to French before going to Middlebury, but I didn’t have much confidence in my speaking abilities. Middlebury helped me let go of my fear of making mistakes, which was what I needed to develop my fluency. It also gave me more opportunities to have non-academic conversations, something I didn’t have much experience with before since I had never spent more than a month at a time in a French-speaking country. Now, I use French at work when prospective students from Francophone countries have questions about the English Language Institute of the University of Tennessee. I also use it to help current students feel more comfortable and more at home in Knoxville. In the future I would like to get a Ph.D. in French Studies.

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the School of French?

Middlebury helped me achieve my life-long dream of being comfortable speaking another language. It also allowed me to develop a passion for French and European history, understand cultural issues that I had always had questions about, and meet fantastic people that I will always stay in contact with.

French student Camden Villaire

Camden Villaire

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Program: Master’s Year Abroad
Current: Middlebury College French Master’s

What surprised you about your experience at the Middlebury Language Schools?

The community was just as important as the academics. I met so many wonderful friends there, but the professors and other faculty members were supportive as well.

Why did you choose to study at the Middlebury Language Schools?

I wanted an intensive language program with the option to study abroad for a year in France.

Please describe how your language skills improved due to your studies at Middlebury.

I am currently living in Paris, France. I use the language everyday with other students and during interactions I have in the real world.

What advice would you give someone wanting to attend the School of French?

Even if you are unsure about applying to Middlebury, you should do it! Even if you just want to try one summer, it is worth it. I am so glad I decided to to this program. My language skills have improved and I have met so many wonderful people.