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 for Singers student Travis Hall

Travis Hall

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Program: German for Singers

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

The biggest surprise about the Middlebury Language Schools was the variety of people present at the program.

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

I am pursuing a career as an opera singer and I believed that the Middlebury Language Schools German for Singers program would aid me in singing German repertoire.

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

When I arrived at Middlebury I knew nothing about German except how to pronounce words. Through speaking in the language daily, hearing native speakers at the program, and having such an accessible faculty my language skills greatly improved. I currently speak German with other people locally, countinously learn German repertoire, and speak to classmates who attended Middlebury to improve my German.

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

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.  

German for Singers student Jenna Lorusso

Jenna Lorusso

Hometown: Acton, Massachusetts
Program: German for Singers
Current: Classical Singer and Voice Teacher

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

I was surprised at how quickly it felt totally normal to be communicating in a second language, and with other speakers of varying skill levels. For me, it really only took a few days for it to feel routine, and I would find myself having a complex conversation with someone. It would suddenly hit me that I was really able to communicate.

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

It’s really the only program of its kind. I’ve always loved learning languages, but making the jump from being able to read and write to being able to have a conversation is a really difficult thing to do without being forced to just dive in within a safe learning environment. I was an invaluable experience to learn how to manage the daily life of an opera singer in German, with all of the specific vocabulary and jargon that’s almost impossible to learn elsewhere.

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

I had studied German for two semesters in school, and then largely taught myself after that until I got to my first summer at Middlebury. The ability to practice the language so intensely for 7 weeks made a huge difference in my language abilities, and I really moved from a “survival skills” level of German to actually being able to have complex conversations. I am currently using my German to do career research and applications, and I am planning to spend two months in Germany this winter.

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

It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it will feel normal to do life in a language you’re learning. You really won’t find a more supportive environment anywhere, and all of faculty and other students are constantly going above and beyond to help you learn.

German for Singers student Noelle McMurtry

Noelle McMurtry

Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Program: German for Singers
Current: Opera Singer

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

It surprised me what wonderful, lasting, and substantial friendships that I made with other participants in the program.

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

I chose to study at Middlebury Language Schools because they have an excellent reputation for creating a supportive and immersive environment where you can take your language skills to the next level. Also, as a singer, I went to Middlebury to prepare for an upcoming audition tour in Germany.

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

My language skills in German significantly improved, particularly my listening skills and the ease with which I could construct sentences in everyday conversation. I use German in my repertoire as a classical singer, and I will also be traveling to Germany to audition.