The Arabic Academy

Summer Language Immersion Program 2018

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Arabic Academy

No matter your background or prior Arabic language experience, if you are passionate about learning Arabic and commited to speaking Arabic 24/7 at the Academy, you will dramatically improve your Arabic language skills.

For summer 2017, join us at at the beautiful St. Michael's College campus, in Colchester, Vermont, for a U.S.–based immersion program that accepts rising 8th–12th grade—from beginner to advanced Arabic speakers. You'll spend four weeks with other likeminded students, speaking Arabic and gaining an appreciation for Arabic words and culture through cuisine, art, history, dress, dance, geography, and politics.

Why Learn Arabic?

Arabic is one of the oldest languages in the world. Students studying the Arabic language are introduced to a world of rich history and culture. With nearly 300 million speakers across the globe, Arabic is the official language of more than 20 different countries and has become the fifth most spoken language in the world. In addition, Arabic speakers are in high demand, a need that is only expected to grow considerably in the next few decades. This demand is reflected in the U.S. State Department’s identification of Arabic as a “critical language.”

Arabic students at the Academy will learn Modern Standard Arabic. Sometimes called the Literary Arabic, this dialect is widely taught in schools and universities, and used in work places, government, and the media. There are many dialects of Arabic spoken in different countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and some of these dialects are not mutually intelligible, but people from these countries all use Modern Standard Arabic to communicate with each other.

Experience Arabic Culture

Arabic Academy

Arabic language Academy students enjoy their full language immersion experience in the classroom, where they are exposed to different dialects through their teachers, and through cultural activities. Understanding Arabic culture goes hand in hand with learning the language. For Arabic students, cultural exploration may include:

  • Tasting traditional Arabic food
  • Drawing maps of the Middle East
  • Listening to Middle Eastern music
  • Belly dancing
  • Learning Arabic drumming on the tabla
  • Drawing calligraphy or applying henna designs to hands and feet

When cultural opportunities are available nearby, we find a way to engage with the local community, as well as bring that community to you.

Saint Michael's College—Colchester, Vermont

Home to our Arabic Academy for summer 2017, Saint Michael’s College is located just off the shores of Lake Champlain, near Burlington, Vermont.

Campus housing, classrooms and facilities are all within a short walking distance of each other. At the center of campus is a beautiful green, where you'll often see Academy students playing frisbee or soccer, practicing tai chi, sitting in class outdoors on a sunny day or just relaxing with friends during free time.

Downtown Burlington is a quick bus ride away. Named by Travel & Leisure as the top college town in America in 2014, Burlington is the perfect area for students to gain a pre-college experience, all while enjoying a safe, fun and engaging summer in Vermont.

Our Arabic, German, and Chinese programs at St. Michael’s College are open to rising 8th–12th grade students, from beginners to advanced students.

Visiting Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, is Vermont's largest city with a population of roughly 42,000 people. Burlington is home to a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Vermont, Burlington College and Champlain College, as well as St. Michael's College in the neighboring town of Colchester where the German, Chinese, and Arabic Academies are held.

Burlington is a vibrant city full of art, diverse restaurants from Vietnamese to Middle Eastern, locally owned shops with Vermont-made products and, of course, Ben & Jerry's for a quintessential Vermont experience. Church Street in Burlington—complete with street performers, shops and live music—is a must-see for visitors. Most students at the Academy will visit Church Street during off-campus excursions, and some language Academies will explore Lake Champlain by boat!

St. Michael's College Faculty & Staff

Arabic Academy

Meet the faculty and staff of our Arabic Academy at Saint Michael's College.

Catherine Jennings, Site Manager

Catherine resides in New York City, where she teaches biology at an independent school in Brooklyn. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Education from the University of Tennessee and has over a decade of experience teaching middle school science in public and private schools. She has led numerous professional development programs for teachers and served as a therapeutic horseback riding instructor in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Catherine has a passion for travel and world cultures; her solo travels through Central and South America have helped her appreciate both the challenges and rewards of an immersion language experience. Catherine returns for a second summer at St. Michael's College, where she previously served as the Office Manager. She looks forward to supporting the faculty and students as the Summer Site Manager for the Arabic and Spanish Academies.

Sarah Kelley, Director of Residential Life

Sarah Kelley has been in the field of education for most of her career, first as a Spanish teacher and then as a school counselor. She has worked with students in both private and public schools and has experience with students of all ages and ability levels. Sarah received her B.A. in Spanish from Macalester College and her M.A. in School and Community Counseling from Lesley University. She currently works as a school social worker on the North Shore of Massachusetts, and lives in southern New Hampshire. This will be her fourth year working as the Director of Residential Life at the Summer Academy.

Khalid Madhi, Arabic Language Director

Khalid Madhi is the Arabic Language Director for the Summer Academy. He left his native Morocco after completing his undergraduate studies in Economics and received his M.A. in Political Science at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. Khalid is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Political Science at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Khalid has taught Islamic tradition, Middle-Eastern Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Women and Politics Leadership, Social Scientific Thinking and Global Perspectives on Women and Gender in four different Chicago-based universities including Dominican University and St. Xavier University. Khalid joined the Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, OH as a History faculty member in 2015.

Khalid is excited for the opportunity to return as the Arabic Language Director for another summer.

Saint Michael’s College Housing & Facilities

Saint Michael’s campus features a beautiful green, a new student center with on-site coffee shop, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, athletic fields, and sports facilities. Academy students will live in dorms on the Saint Michael’s campus, where they will also take classes, participate in cultural exploration activities, and enjoy free time. Students will live in Lyons Hall and Joyce Hall and will enjoy meals together in language at the Alliott Student Center.



Group excursions may take you to Burlington’s Church Street, a pedestrian open air mall with shops, restaurants and foods carts, street entertainers and musical performers and a sprawling farmers’ market each Saturday morning. Just down the hill at Waterfront Park you’ll find picnic areas, a boat marina, sailing center, skate park, and an eight-mile bike path beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Tour Saint Michael’s College’s campus virtually now!

QFI Scholarships for Arabic Students

The Qatar Foundation International (QFI) has partnered with MIL the last 5 years to provide full and partial scholarships along with travel stipends to students participating in our Arabic Academy in

Arabic Academy

Vermont. The partnership between Middlebury Interactive Languages and QFI seeks to increase the number of Arabic speakers in the United States. Although Arabic is the fifth most spoken world language and has been designated as a “critical language” by the U.S. Department of State, currently less than one percent of all high school students enrolled in a foreign language are studying Arabic. 

Qatar Foundation International (QFI), LLC, is a U.S.–based member of Qatar Foundation (QF). QFI operates as both a grant-making organization, and a convener of thought leaders on issues related to global and international education, open education and education technologies as they intersect with the three core QFI programmatic areas: Arabic language and Arab culture, STE{A}M (STEM plus the Arts), and Youth Engagement. QFI inspires meaningful connections to the Arab world by creating a global community of diverse learners and educators and connecting them through effective and collaborative learning environments—inside and outside the classroom.Through our activities, QFI is committed to providing K-12 students in Qatar, the Americas, and the United Kingdom (UK) with the intellectual, communicative, and cultural competencies that will enable them to be engaged global citizens. Learn more at

This year's QFI grant provides funding for 16 scholarships (eight full scholarships and travel expenses, eight partial scholarships) for deserving students interested in studying Arabic. To be eligible, students must qualify for financial aid and be able to continue their Arabic studies after participating in the Arabic Academy. Over the past five years, QFI has provided nearly 91 scholarships for students to attend the Arabic Academy.

Read about one student's experience here on the Qatar Foundation International's blog.

Saint Michael's College Dates & Tuition

June 24—July 20, 2018

Tuition covers the full cost of instruction, activities, field trips, food, lodging and shuttle service to and from local airports. Tuition must be paid in full by the dates listed in order to obtain the savings as outlined here.

December 15, 2017

December 16, 2017—
April 30, 2018

March 1, 2018—
May 15, 2018

After May 15, 2018
(Late Registration)


2017 Arabic Academy Blog and Resources




“Studying at the Academy was an amazing experience that helped me improve my knowledge of Arabic. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.”

Maximillian, Arabic Academy Student