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 the School of Korean Assistant Director at schoolofkorean@middlebury.edu

Korean student Holly Hathaway

Holly Hathaway

Hometown: Clovis, California
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: Regent University, International Studies

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

As a level 1 student, I was slightly trepidatious but was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly I learned conversational skills. The program was effective; it was appropriately challenging and produced encouraging results.

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

I chose to study at Middlebury Language Schools because I desired to acquire Korean language skills outside of the typical classroom experience. I believed the immersion experience would be an excellent language learning environment, and it was! I achieved what I had hoped for and more.

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

I began the program with little knowledge of the language and absolutely no speaking practice, and I left speaking confidently at a low intermediate level. I plan to continue my language studies and see what the exciting journey holds.

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

Middlebury Language Schools is the perfect environment for any individual wanting to master a variety of language skills in a short time. It takes a level of commitment but is a highly stimulating and rewarding experience.

Korean student Chelsea Johnson

Chelsea Johnson

Hometown: Glen Burnie, Maryland
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: University of Maryland Baltimore County, Korean

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

I was surprised by all the amazing people that I met and how dedicated the professors were. They were always trying their best to make sure everyone in my class improved, and I really appreciated it. It's hard to find professors with dedication like that at a normal university.

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

I'm a Korean major at my university, and I plan to become a translator after graduation. Therefore, Middlebury has played a large role in the further development of my Korean language skills.

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

Sometimes speaking can be scary, but this program really teaches you to understand that making mistakes is normal and necessary to improve.

Korean student Mafereh Kabay

Mafereh Kabay

Hometown: Laurel, Maryland
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: Goucher College, Political Science

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

I think the sheer amount of Korean that was taught surprised me. I knew it was supposed to be a year's worth of the language but wow - I learned a lot. 

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

As an African-American student from a low-income household, there wasn't much opportunity to learn a language. When I was told about Middlebury, I jumped at the chance to have a solid background in the Korean language before I went for study abroad.

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

I was a beginner in Korean. I went from knowing nothing to being able to hold basic conversation, which has given me confidence to self-study on my own and continue to grow my knowledge of Korean. I want to use my language skills to work in the diplomacy field for the U.S. government. If that does not pan out, I might enter the music business in South Korea.

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

I continuously compared myself to other students who knew a lot more than I did in my group level and was afraid of talking. I quickly realized to not compare myself to others and to speak up as much as possible.

Korean student William Kay

William Kay

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: The Citadel, Education and Department of State Intern

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

The passion of the faculty for the language they taught and their students. Also, the enduring relationships that I have maintained with my instructors over the years.

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

I studied at the language schools to help me meet language proficiency goals as my university only taught until the intermediate level.

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

My language skils improved immensely due to my studies at Middlebury. I came in with little knowledge and no experience in using the language. After 2 months I was able to comfortably engage with my professors and friends at meal times regarding a variety of topics.

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

If you put the work in you will make remarkable gains towards your personal goals for proficiency in your target language. Beyond that however, the relationships you build during your time at Middlebury can last a life time. People I met four and five years ago when I first went for Japanese have become some of my closest friends since. Those relationships have directly impacted the direction of my life. If I am able I will be going back to Middlebury a 4th time this coming summer to continue my study of the Korean language.

Alex is an ambassador for the School of Korean

Alex Shykov

Hometown: San Francisco, California
Program: 8-week Immersion
Current: Pacific Forum – James A. Kelly Korea Fellow

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

I picked Middlebury for two reasons: first, Fletcher classmate (Norva Hall) vouched for the program; second, the Language Pledge. Through past language learning experiences, I know that mastering a language takes full immersion, so I was excited to experience it with Middlebury. 

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

I started learning Korean at a Korean university in Seoul. It was challenging to speak Korean, so English became a default.  Naturally, I was pleasantly surprised that on a daily basis, I used more Korean with Middlebury than I did in Seoul. 

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

Practice makes better – perfection is too high of a bar. By practicing Korean essentially 24/7, inside and outside of the classroom, my Korean speaking and writing improved drastically. I fully realized it during an OPI when I wanted to continue talking to my interviewer, and I, to my surprise, didn’t run out of things to say. 

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

Don’t fight the pledge – embrace it. It will be tough, of course. But that’s what will take you to the next level. Plus, get to know all instructors, assistants, and students – they are all there to help you.