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 Ilgner, German School Assistant Director, at germanschool@middlebury.edu.

German student Adrian Anaya

Adrian Anaya

Hometown: Queretaro, Mexico
Program: 7-week Immersion
Current: Director of Marketing, Membranas Estructuradas

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

I was surprised by the resilience shown by the students in levels 1 and 1.5. If it was hard for me in level 3, I simply cannot imagine what it must have been for them. Truly brave!

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

A close friend of mine who did the Spanish school recommended the program. She said it was a very very special time, regardless of which language you studied. I started to look into the German school, and I was sold by the commitment shown to language learning.

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

I have never learned more than I have at Middlebury. Unlike other peers who more casually studied German, I now have the confidence to speak with native speakers. I know that my German still isn't perfect, but I have gotten past that initial language barrier.

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

Middlebury will change your life. Your brain will always be working at 110% capacity, whether you're eating, playing, and even sleeping. You will not only be learning a language at blitzschnell pace, but also forming some of the tightest friendships you have ever made. I will carry with me the people I met at Middlebury forever. Only attend if you're prepared to have such meaningful connections.

German student Delicia Kamins

Delicia Kamins

Hometown: San Francisco, California
Program: 7-week Immersion
Current: Stony Brook University, Philosophy

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

How much Deutsche Schule became home. I really personally identified with all things Middlebury German School: the rhythm of the lesson plans; the activities, my professors (LOVED my professors - the best there are!!) and my fellow students. We were an actual little German Town in the midst of all of the other Middlebury Language "Towns" (French, Hebrew, etc.)! I think this was because there were such a variety of types of "extracurricular" German-language activities (movies, games, sports, field trips, drama, opera, chorus, and all of the clubs). Though these were not part of the class lesson, they were as important to learning the language because we were living the language. I loved it! I was also really surprised how much I enjoyed the location - absolutely beautiful, and the folks who live there year-round were so supportive of our Language Pledge and goals.

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

I study German philosophy, so I really need to learn the language to read the texts in the language in which it was written, as well as to be able to collaborate on projects with colleagues in Germany. However, my primary goal was to be able to become an expert in German philosophy so that I could share what I find so worthwhile about it with students who would otherwise not be exposed to philosophy, and particularly to German philosophy. As an African-American woman, I did not discover the brilliance of Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger and other German philosophers until I was an adult - but when I did, it changed my life, profoundly so in fact. I want to bring this to young students like I was so that they might choose to study these philosophers early in their lives - and perhaps thereby impact the world in profound ways. To do this to the extent I desire, and to well mentor future undergraduate and graduate students, I need to know the texts as close to the authors' meanings as possible. That means learning German. Middlebury was highly recommended to me by a former Middlebury Summer Language Intensive student at my current university, and the idea was affirmed by my professors who advised me to apply to Middlebury over other language programs such as the Goethe Institute and even over spending the summer in Germany!

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

When I entered the program, I could count to ten. Learning was a lot of work - which is why the extracurricular activities in German helped so much. I had become used to hearing (but not understanding as these were advanced, and in some cases native, speakers) conversations in German, as I stammered my beginner level sentences. One day, I realized that I was following the high level conversations completely! I nearly screamed in surprise. For me, listening and reading comprehension is easier than speaking, so it took a bit longer to hold normal speed and complicated conversations, but it started happening. I think this surprised me so much because in the beginning basic expression took so much effort. But, that's what Middlebury is known for: rapid and real development of a language. I really hope to return next year to continue my development. Since I left able to speak, listen and read in German, I can only imagine how fluent I will become a year from now! I am really appreciative that I am a Middle Summer Language School student!

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

This is really one of the best investments you could ever make with your time and work. It is not often you experience such thorough success so quickly. It feels great! Plus, it's fun - I wasn't expecting it to be that much fun because I figured that to develop such fluency so rapidly would require 16 or 20 hours a day of study study study. Though you do need to put in the work, the real language and skill acquisition seems to emerge from living the language through activities, clubs and friendships. In my experience, if you need to learn a language, Middlebury is where you want to be.

German student Throdore Nollert

Theodore Nollert

Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma
Program: 7-week Immersion
Current: University of Alabama, English

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

How much people in level 1 and 1.5 improved over the course of the summer!

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

I chose the Middlebury Language Schools because of the reputation as the premier summer language-learning program in the US.

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

I developed a much higher accuracy rate with comparatively minor grammatical issues like substantive genders and adjective endings which had plagued me since my youth. My vocabulary expanded significantly, and I read difficult German literature for the first time. Some of the peculiarities I had developed as a heritage speaker were smoothed over, and above all my written German improved thanks to the detailed feedback of my instructor, Glenn Levine. I now communicate with my parents only in German, and regularly speak with my grandmother in German about more complex topics. I've used my German to transcribe some texts in Fraktur for my Master's Thesis and to read a few scholarly articles from the twentieth century. Next semester I'll be taking a graduate-level course in the German department at UA on eighteenth-century literature.

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

I was surprised by the number of aspiring academics at Middlebury. I had taken one prior 'immersion' course in which the students were fairly disinterested. At Middlebury I met a lot of people who were excellent conversation partners, and even made a few contacts who share similar academic interests. Even for those who have no interest in an academic career, however, Middlebury provides a delightfully stimulating mix of dedicated language learners and intellectually inquisitive people. Also, the cafeteria food is the best of any place I have ever spent my summer and the surrounding landscape is idyllic.

German student Angela Yeo

Angela Yeo

Hometown: Mountonborough, New Hampshire
Program: 7-week Immersion
Current: University of Cambridge, Ancient Philosophy

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

How immersive it truly was and how important meal times were to start practicing the concepts and constructions we used in class. Also, how important it was to talk to people in upper levels (I was in Stufe 1).

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

I needed to learn the basics of German quickly for my academic pursuits and I heard that Middlebury was the single best program for doing so. And it is! 

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

My language skills improved phenomenally. I went from 0 German to having roughly the equivalent of 4-5 college semesters. I am using German to further my studies in Philosophy.

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

Take the language pledge seriously but at the same time don't hesitate about calling back home. I called friends/family pretty frequently, but limited the time to once a day and the space to just my bedroom. Making a physical separation between German and English was very important to me.