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What makes Middlebury different?

With our support, you’ll experience total immersion in the language and culture of your country. You’ll have an authentic learning experience at a local academic institution. You’ll have the guided independence to engage with your community, take on an internship, and make personal discoveries that you’ll always remember.


Meet the Middlebury Schools Abroad

When I think about the experience abroad I kind of struggle to put it in words.

Every day I could wake up and choose a new adventure.

That rush of being on your own in a new place, that was the most exciting.

There were moments for sure in the first week even the first month, where I thought, what am I doing? I don’t really understand what’s going on. I’m not fluent in this language. But slowly, gradually, as you engage more with the culture, those fears, those worries start to fade away.

Language and culture is like two phases of one, one coin. So having language, it’s one part, but having culture, it’s the huge impact in these students.

By the interaction, day by day with local people, they start seeing things different ways of life from a different reference point.

It’s an incredible opportunity for our students to be taught about local issues by local experts.

I loved the idea that every day I was gonna learn something new. Seeing my growth in the language and seeing how happy the locals are, and then you start being happy and start wanting to speak it more. That helped ease the difficulty.

If you want to immerse yourself in a culture, learn that language from the people and with the people, Middlebury would be a perfect place for you.

In terms of practical advice, I’d say just say yes to things. Introduce yourself to new people. The time goes by fast, so just soak it in. 

You have to be able to allow yourself to be open and vulnerable ‘cause it’s scary, but it’s needed.

And I would say don’t hold back because it’s an experience you really only get to do once in your life. It’s a chance to live with no regrets.

In Their Own Words

In addition to taking all of the photos on the site, students take personal videos of their everyday experiences. Through the Middlebury C. V. Starr Schools Abroad, you have the support and confidence to learn the language by living the culture.
Find more Student Perspective videos on our YouTube channel.

Lydia "Hans" Han

Amman, Jordan

My name is Lydia Han, but I go by Hans and I studied abroad at the University of Jordan through the Middlebury in Jordan program. Amman is not really like an ancient city like Baghdad or Damascus, Syria. It came out in the early 1900s and so actually after the 1948, 1967, the two consecutive Arab-Israeli wars, there were huge floods of passing refuges who came in.

And so, that’s what actually grew the city. The city grew out of conflict. So if I walk outside the university gates, right in front me is a big street with all these cars pushing past. And then across them all these are bookstores, fast food chains for students, cafe’s for students who study in and all these clothing stores.

And so, yeah, it’s just a lot of hustle and bustle and noise. But very contained chaos like any other city, but dustier. I think the Middlebury program is really good in that it does make you live with the host family, cuz you really, really do see the nuances of every day life.

And so I live with a host family in the neighborhood of Helda. It’s really nice because you see a family structure and just how things are done. Each language comes with a different set of vocabularies and so maybe in school when we study Arabic formally, we learn a lot of political language and economic language and historical language.

But you really need the language of everyday life, which is what you use when you’re living with a host family, right? You’re like, okay, where do I put my socks? You’re like what’s for dinner? Language is something adaptable to every context. So you have to exposure yourself to every context while you’re learning a new language.

When you’re placed into a completely new environment with different challenges and different situations, you discover more about yourself, because certain things about yourself are brought out into light. Or they’re also created within yourself and the process of you being in that situation. The Middlebury program in Jordan was, in my opinion, the most rigorous, the most intense and for that reason, it’s one of the best programs, I really do believe that.

If you can use study abroad as a catalyst to better yourself as a person in terms of learning as quickly as you can. Learning with different people as well, learning in a different environment, challenging your own beliefs, that’s definitely what study abroad can provide for you.

Melisa Topic

Montevideo, Uruguay

My name’s Melissa Topic and I studied abroad at Montevideo, Uruguay. So when I walked out of my house, it felt almost like a little suburb. So like a street with a lot of cute little quaint houses on it, and a bakery around the corner. And then when you got onto the main street, you had little shops, the buses, and eventually you got to this huge park called El Prado.

I had the immersion both from the point that I was going to one of the local universities. So obviously, all the classes are taught in Spanish, the work was in Spanish. But also I was living with an Urguanian host family, which honestly completed the experience. They were such cool people.

The first person you talk to is in Spanish. And for the rest of the day, you’re just chatting away in Spanish with people or in class or in school. So the full immersion really taught me both new vocabulary, but also ways of interacting with various people in Spanish.

I think the most growth in my language came from being lost on a street corner with my phone not working, having to pin down strangers to ask them questions. The Middlebury program was helpful, because you were able to choose in doing three classes and an internship or four classes.

And if you chose to an internship, the Middlebury program helped prepare you with one that fitted your needs and interest. I actually did an internship while I was there. It was an NGO that works the immigrants. So, I got to learn a lot about the immigration situation in Uruguay in depth.

And, interact with really nice people and hear their experiences. I think one of the things I miss the most is just the warmth of the people and the culture. Everyday, you got greeted by a friendly face, and it was just a very relaxed environment, or as they would say.

Just studying abroad in any other nation or culture really helps both with cultural understanding and your own personal development because you see that there’s other ways people live. And then like your way is not necessarily the only way or the best way and I think it helps individuals develop an open mind.

And greater acceptance for one another when you see that there’s more ways of being and doing than what we just have here.

New Scholarships

The Cason Scholarship Award is in memory of Jeffrey W. Cason who served as Dean of International Programs at Middlebury College. This scholarship is in recognition of his lifelong passion for international teaching, learning, and study abroad. Students from colleges and universities other than Middlebury can apply for these $3,000 scholarships.

Lillypads in a pond in Oxford England

Other Programs

Middlebury offers several other study away opportunities for students:

  • Semester or year studying away at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College. Gain professional skills and get a jump start on a master’s degree in Monterey, California.
  • Field-based and experiential learning summer programs taught entirely in English.

Health and Safety

It is our experience that our host cities are no more dangerous than large cities in the U.S. We provide support and access to health and safety resources prior to departure, while abroad, and upon return.

Our dedicated on-site staff are locally connected, abreast of the latest news, and prepared with contingency plans in the event of an emergency. Middlebury also partners with Global Rescue for medical and security advisories as well as evacuation services for all students.

Read More

Students looking at a mural

Identity and Inclusion Abroad

Students who study abroad are as diverse as the destinations and languages they choose. No matter who you are or how you identify, we have the resources and support to make your experience the best it can be.

Read More

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