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Students take part in Spanish salsa dance lessons, pictured above, as well as other cocurricular activities when the Middlebury Language Schools are in session. Photo by Brett Simison

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Ray, Sarah C.
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Students Bring Wide Variety of Experience to Middlebury Language Schools as Summer Session Nears

June 7, 2018

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — June marks the beginning of the Middlebury Language Schools, known internationally for their full immersion approach to language teaching. This summer the School of Hebrew—one of a total of 11 Language Schools—will celebrate its 10th

The Language Schools will welcome over 1,500 students and 300 faculty to both the Middlebury College campus and Mills College campus in California to study Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. This year’s students will represent 47 states and 75 countries, with Middlebury undergraduates representing 2 percent of the student body. 

Students will live, learn, and interact in the language they have come to study, and all sign the Language Pledge, a formal commitment designed by Middlebury to speak the language of study for the entire summer session. The Language Schools will also host cultural events that are often open to the public. 

Board games at the School of Hebrew
Board games in another language, such as these available to the students at the School of Hebrew, provide another way for students to build vocabulary and fluency.

Students will bring a wide range of experiences with them this summer. One student is a flight attendant who travels to Central and South American countries and wants to improve her Spanish. A student from Texas graduated with a degree in creative writing from Stanford and has been named a finalist multiple times for Best American Short Stories. Another is an immigration lawyer who wants to improve his communication with his clients. One student is currently working on an MBA in renewable energy at a German business and engineering school. Another student from the South Korean navy wants to become an interpreter of Japanese culture. Universities with the highest representation of students include Brown University, Columbia University, Kenyon College, the University of Chicago, and New York University.

Since 1915, more than 50,000 students from all walks of life—including more than 12,000 advanced degree holders—have attended one or more of the Language Schools.

The late philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis funded the Davis Fellows for Peace, which continues to grant 100 scholarships to cover tuition, room, and board in the 11 Language Schools. The initiative, which began in 2007, is intended to challenge Middlebury to use its expertise in language acquisition and policy studies to recruit and train future potential peacemakers.

More information about the Middlebury Language Schools can be found online or by contacting the Language Schools at 802-443-5510. For a list of main events open to the public this summer, please see the event list.