Speaking with a student ambassador is a great way to get a previous student’s perspective on the Language Schools experience.

If you would like to connect with a student ambassador to ask questions, please contact Tina Ilgner, German School Assistant Director, at germanschool@middlebury.edu.

German student Luke Fennema

Luke Fennema

Hometown: Highland, Indiana
Program: Master's Summer Option
Current: German teacher, Illiana Christian High School

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

The food! It was way better than I expected college food to be. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much the professors care about their students and want them to succeed.

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

The food! It was way better than I expected college food to be. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much the professors care about their students and want them to succeed.

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

Middlebury's language pledge meant that I had to speak, hear, and think in German all the time. This helped me become more confident in using the language. At the same time, in my Master's classes I deepened my understanding of how to write academically, interpret literature, and analyze history in the German language. All these skills are helping me to be a better high school German teacher.

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

Come to Middlebury! The professors are amazing, the extracurricular activities help you live the language, and the students are fun to be around. As a high school German teacher, I marveled at the progress made by students over just seven weeks. Nothing will help you learn German better in a short amount of time than Middlebury.

German student Bettina Hoops

Bettina Hoops

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Program: DML in German and French
Current: Lecturer at the University of Michigan, School of Education and German Teacher at Rudolf Steiner High School

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

The quality of instruction at the graduate level pleasantly surprised me.

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

Because of its long history of language instruction and excellent reputation as well as the practicality of the DML program and its pragmatism paired with academic excellence.

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

I am a native German speaker so I was able to reuse my native language skills. I also entered the program to learn research skills. As far as my second language is concerned, I am planning to spend next summer at the French School and expect great improvement in my language skills.

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

The instructors and instruction are excellent in Middlebury. The combination of excellent instruction with the immersion experience and the language pledge create the success of the summer language programs.

German student Chris Power

Chris Power

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Program: Master's Summer Option
Current: Assistant Editor at Asymptote Journal and Senior Teacher of French and German at Fluent City

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

I was surprised by the quality of the instruction. It's a rare privilege to work in such close proximity to renowned researchers and academics.

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

I choose to study at Middlebury, because immersion is the only way to truly master a language. Language courses can teach helpful phrases, but only through living in the language day and night can one approach fluency. 

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

I teach German at Fluent City, and I've worked as a translator in New York at different companies over the past three years. I'm also now applying to Ph.D programs in German, French, and Comparative Literature.

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

Two days ago, four other graduate students and I saw a performance of "Samson et Delilah" at the Metropolitan Opera. I had never had much of an appreciation for opera before studying at Middlebury. One is inundated throughout the summer by cultural events: lectures, exhibitions, musical performances, a German language play and an opera. These are not only opportunities to improve language skills; they are also edifying in their own right.

Moreover, the relationships that one forms with fellow students can last a lifetime. There are so many interesting, creative students and professionals who come together every summer to learn German that one spends the entire summer making exciting new acquaintances. This camaraderie keeps one motivated on the long and difficult road to fluency. I couldn't recommend it enthusiastically enough.