Middlebury’s School of Hebrew combines the best of two worlds—a time-tested curriculum and an immersion learning environment.

Spend a summer at the Hebrew Language School and you'll experience the single most effective method for rapid language acquisition: a total immersion environment with the Language Pledge®—a promise to read, write, listen, and speak only in your language of study. Programs are open to undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students at other institutions, and professionals of all ages.

Hebrew Program Options

Choose a program based on your language proficiency and learning goals.

Voices from the School of Hebrew

The first time I was coming to Middlebury, it was right after I was coming back from Israel.  People asked me – why are you coming all the way to Vermont to learn Hebrew, you just got back from Israel. You know this world is unique, they have managed to create this little artificial bubble here in the heart of Vermont that doesn’t exist anywhere else. It’s true immersion without any influence from English or any other language.  It’s amazing!

Voices from the School of Hebrew

In Poland I am a guide and I work with Jewish Heritage but also with the history of the Holocaust. It’s very important for me to study Hebrew because there are many groups that come from Israel, so normally I did it in English, and it’s ok but there is a significant number of students who don’t understand everything I say in English so It’s very important to me to explain everything in Hebrew.

Hebrew is the best for my education. I want to be a rabbi, and that is extremely important for rabbinate.

I was born in Mexico, and I grew up in Mexico. Then I came to the United States and lived here. But if you were to ask me where my home is, I don’t know where I feel at home. The only thing that has not changed throughout my life, is my Jewish identity. Because I can be in Mexico, and be Jewish, be in the United States, and be Jewish, and it does not matter. I think that is the reason why I fell in love with the language. All the Hebrew that I know, is from here, from Middlebury. I started from zero and now I am a teacher, and now I come back to all the things that I did as a student, and I think about all those things. When I was a student, I did not think why the teachers did all the things they did. Why does the program here work so well?

There is a pledge here. It means that one must always speak, read, and do all of our communications in Hebrew.

Hebrew class at Middlebury recites Hebrew.

The insistence on Hebrew, in Hebrew, 24/7, sometimes as a teacher, it puts us in the same place as the students. And we meet in a place where we investigate the language together because, in the same way that it is difficult to understand without translation what is ‘adaptation’, or what is a ‘loan’, so when you have to explain these terms, in Hebrew, we are all in the same boat, and we all use our body language, and all of our knowledge, and all of our words, and our associations.

Oh, I forgot the word for a ‘bottle’ for example. Ok, it is the ‘house of water when someone wants to drink something?’ Oh, a ‘bottle’, thank you! That is an example of Middlebury, that is life at Middlebury.

The most important thing is that you can speak with people, all the time, about everything. So it is not only the part of the Language about culture, or the Israeli society, but I also need to speak about shoes, about daily things. And it is a lot of fun.

There’s something about being immersed, for seven weeks, only in this mission you took on yourself, that kind of focus, on that mission, allows you to make a very big leap. When you add a very supportive environment, that helps you to remain dedicated to your decision to speak only Hebrew, I think that unfortunately for many people, even in Israel, it is a very difficult thing to find. Meaning that the student can do this with us at the Ulpan, but the moment he steps out of the class, people do not always have the patience to wait for the rhythm of those who are just starting, and to stay with them in Hebrew, and match themselves to them. Here that is what everyone is doing all the time. That feeling that you are a part of something, that your troubles, or language barrier, is something that is in common with everyone else in this place, perhaps helps to feel that it is ok. And to be able to put your guard down a little, and work towards your goal.

I think that one of the most incredible things that happens here, it is true for many subjects but particularly in education, they really work hard to bring professionals to sit around one table, and to share from their knowledge, or mentor those who are younger, or in general to share ideas. And here this happens, formally and informally, three times a day. You sit at a round table of teachers and consult about your issues, get ideas, and share.

Also on the ground are the Master’s students, who participate both as spectators and mentors, and the doctorate students of the program. So there is a process of learning and reflection that happens all the time. The students are able to get different styles of teaching, and the teachers get both professional development and practical experience, that are all happening at the same time. Along with an academic freedom for each one to bring their perspective, what they find interesting in the culture, and their method to explain a language, and it is just a wealth.

There are different kinds of people who want to study Hebrew. There are Jews, Christians, Muslims, There are people who do not want religion at all. There are people who are learning a language for their doctorate or academia. There are people who are learning a language because of their identity.

I think that it is very important here that you can meet people who are so different in the same place. There is truly a love for Hebrew. It is very interesting, and also it is the treasure of Middlebury, that you can communicate with people who are different, but that is exactly the beauty. It has a utopian dimension. It is really being in a multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-age Kibbutz. It is simply an environment that is fun to be a part of.

This is a really big opportunity for me. And I am very grateful, because I am sure that this will open many new doors for me in my work as a guide, but also in the academic world.

I am thankful for everyone who helped me study Hebrew. And, that it helps us as teachers to come here, and learn a language, and to become better teachers, so we can give something back. Truly, how do you say…? Opportunity of a lifetime.

I wouldn’t have been able to come here if it weren’t for the umm donors. It’s so enriching, umm to my own Jewish education. Umm and my Hebrew advancement. This year is my second time, umm I’m in a program where I’m running about, class in Hebrew, biblical Hebrew, umm and we’re talking about it not in Hebrew and it’s like woah, umm if anyone ever told me that I would be able to do that I would have never believed them. It’s incredible, and I’ve learned Hebrew, I’ve studied Hebrew, in different environments and I, there’s no place like it.

Live in Language

During the Hebrew language classes, you'll rapidly build proficiency with the help of our dedicated faculty and benefit from our rigorous approach to daily classroom instruction in the four major skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Outside the classroom, you'll participate in organized in-language cocurricular activities—including soccer, theater, academic reading and lectures—each designed to help you build new vocabulary and learn the Hebrew language, while developing cultural fluency.

Throughout your summer at the Hebrew Language School, you’ll find the focus is exactly where you need it to be—on working towards true linguistic and cultural fluency.

Funding

Thanks to the support of generous donors (including Language Schools alumni) and Middlebury’s commitment to providing an opportunity for as many students as possible, we are pleased to offer need-based financial aid and merit-based fellowships and scholarships.

You’ll find several options available for both the immersion and graduate programs, as well as funding for specific languages of study.

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