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 Wendy Butler, School of Japanese Assistant Director, at japaneseschool@middlebury.edu.

Japanese student Miki Duvoisin

Miki Duvoisin

Hometown: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: Haverford College, East Asian Studies

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

I was shocked by how close we got as the weeks went by. I came in knowing my language skills would improve (which they did, thanks to the hard work of the senseis), but I hadn’t anticipated forming such a close bond with my peers, my class, and even the rest of the school. Being so close to everyone really made the environment more conducive to learning the language; after all, I needed some way to talk to all the amazing people I was meeting!

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

The Language Pledge was definitely my main motivator to applying to Middlebury.

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

My speaking became far more fluid, and my reading and writing skills grew much faster. But, the main thing I gained was the confidence to actually speak in the first place, and use everything I learned more regularly despite the mistakes I might make. As for usage, I’ve obviously been using my Japanese in the language class I’m currently taking, but I plan to also use it when I study abroad and when I (hopefully) work abroad, as well.

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

If I had to tell a prospective student anything, it would be that it’s very demanding, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Sticking to the pledge at all times, whether in class, with friends, or alone in your room, can be really exhausting, especially for the lower levels. But, persevering and sticking with it no matter what yields much better results. So, definitely stick with the pledge and keep up with your studies, and the hard work will all pay off.

Japanese student Siobhan Gibbons

Siobhan Gibbons

Hometown: Apple Valley, California
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, International Environmental Policy

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

The varied reasons people choose to attend the Middlebury Language Schools and the backgrounds they come from.e.

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

It's unlike any other program. Although it's tough, you can see results in such a short amount of time.

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

I became more comfortable speaking Japanese and using it in daily conversation. I am currently using it as a study abroad student in Japan.

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

The Middlebury Language Schools may be one of the hardest programs you can take part in but you really do get out of it what you put in. You also have the opportunity to make strong friendships with like-minded individuals.

Japanese student Samee Siddiqui

Samee Siddiqui

Hometown: Durham, North Carolina
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, History

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

How incredibly social and collegiate the atmosphere would be. I expected to learn a lot during my time there, I did not expect to get so close to the teachers and my fellow students.

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

I have heard from multiple people, including my advisor, that this is the best language school. I now realize why!

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

I need Japanese for my research and came into Level 4 with very little practice. I had not studied or spoken much Japanese for 12 months prior to Middlebury. EVERYTHING relating to my Japanese language skills improved: speaking, reading, and writing.

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

I think students should be prepared for an incredibly intense experience in almost every way. But, if they are committed to learning a language, Middlebury is the best language school I have ever been to. My teachers were by far the most skilled language teachers I have ever had. I learned not only Japanese but something about teaching too.

Japanese student Emma Wood

Emma Wood

Hometown: Carlsbad, California
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: Lewis & Clark College, Asian Studies

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

I went to Middlebury for the first time in the Summer of 2016 expecting to go to summer school in Vermont. Never would I have expected the richness to the program I partook in. Middlebury's Japanese program, although only two months long, becomes a way of life. In taking the pledge you enter a world that strays from standardized teaching methods. Instead, you find yourself surrounded by dedicated teachers and students. Everyone eats meals together, sleeps in the same building, and actively partakes in an abundance of clubs, sports, and events with one another. What shocked me was that everyone at Middlebury wants to be there and is excited to learn. Its impossible not to get caught up in the programs incredibly motivating atmosphere and want to impress your sensei, and want to use your new grammar forms, and want to speak Japanese. In times of stress, you find strength in that everyone is struggling together for a common goal. By the end of the two months, I went from awkward memorized textbook phrases to engaging in thoughtful conversation and discussion.

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

I went into Middlebury in hopes of getting a bit of an edge for my sophomore year of 200 level Japanese. I left Middlebury and immediately entered the 300 level. Middlebury transformed what I thought might be a fun hobby to a potential career.

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

The difference I am able to see in my language skills after 2 months at Middlebury is incomparable to any other program or college class. The results I found were so incredible, that I could not help but attend for three consecutive summers, each year equally impressed by the progress I made.

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

Middlebury gives you the chance to enter a total immersion environment. Many people I have talked to have tried to argue that going to Japan would be a better method of improving ones speaking. However, in Japan, you don't spend 24/7 speaking Japanese, you end up primarily hanging out with English speaking people, and you have no system to ensure that you do otherwise (the pledge). In Middlebury, you are surrounded by a variety of Japanese students from all different levels and backgrounds who work together to learn. Not even in Japan will you find an environment as effective for language acquisition as Middlebury.