Everything you need to know about your child in the Academy
The language Academy calls upon the 100-year experience of Middlebury College and its summer Language Schools in teaching world languages. We give students a taste of campus life and create a supportive community that is devoted to language learning. Because of this, many Academy students are able to make very dramatic leaps in skill level and proficiency. We also provide co-curricular activities and cultural experiences that reinforce language learning and help bring it to life. The experience is fun, challenging and rewarding.
You can have confidence in the quality of our summer immersion program and the safety of your son or daughter. Here, we’ve compiled special topics for parents.
The Middlebury Language Academy began at Middlebury College in 2008 and was originally established in affiliation with the Monterey Institute of International Studies. The Academy is now run by Middlebury Interactive Languages, the leader in digital world language courses for K-12 students. Middlebury Interactive Languages is co-owned by Middlebury College and K12 Inc with its headquarters in the beautiful Middlebury, Vermont.
The Summer Language Academy attracts students in grades 8-12 from all over the country and world—it’s a place where students become “one” with culture and language using the incomparable Middlebury immersion learning pedagogy, based on Middlebury College’s famed Language Schools.
The philosophy is rooted in the idea that cultural and linguistic acquisition are strongly reinforced by an individual’s participation in cross-curricular activities ranging from sports and the arts to cooking and discussion groups—all conducted in the target language.
Students take the Language Pledge®, which is a formal promise to communicate exclusively in the language of study, creating a total language-immersion environment. Activities at the Academy provide a rich framework for meaningful communication to help students realize academic and personal goals.
The “No English Spoken Here” agreement helps to create a unique, immersive environment designed to support independent exploration, maximize language acquisition and foster the cultural understanding needed to thrive in the classroom and more importantly, in the international world we all live in today.
Why Choose the Academy?
The Academy is an enriching program for motivated middle school and high school students who want to accelerate their language skills, while enjoying a pre-college summer camp experience with other like-minded teens. Language immersion can be challenging, but choosing to spend a summer learning a language at the Academy offers a number of tangible benefits.
We are the academic leader in world language instruction. Our Academy experience for rising 8th-12th grade students is based on 100 years of language education at Middlebury College’s renowned Language Schools. We know that the best way to learn a language is through full immersion, and at the Academy, we take immersion seriously. Students and instructors take a Language Pledge® to only speak in the target language 24/7. We make every effort to minimize English language pollution.
2. Role Models
Your child will live and learn from people they admire. Your child's teachers and residential advisors have lived abroad while learning a new language themselves. They know first–hand the struggles of becoming fluent and are dedicated to helping your child learn in a fun and engaging way. When surveyed, our alumni often rave about the hands–on, enthusiastic, and supportive mentorship at the Academy.
3. Cultural Exploration and Project-Based Learning
We believe in learning a language in a cultural context. This means that in–class language instruction in the morning is balanced with cultural activities in the afternoon that bring the language to life. Depending on your child's target language, they may be learning salsa or Tai Chi, following designated media outlets in language and producing a media clip, taking Chinese cooking classes or playing soccer against a rival language.
4. Domestic and International Opportunities
At the Academy, you and your child can decide where they learn best. Choose to focus on language learning at a Vermont college campus or in an international setting abroad. Contact us, and we can help you decide the best setting for you!
Communicating With Your Child
To maintain our full-immersion environment and help your son or daughter make the most of the language experience, students will have limited access to cell phones and technology during the four-week Academy session. Each week during designated call-home times, students can call or Skype family members and friends, as well as check in on social media.
In addition to the tremendous language gains students realize through minimizing their exposure to English, students (and parents!) often remark on the transformative impact the pre-college Academy experience has on personal growth, independence and maturity. With that said, we know that not communicating with your son or daughter might be challenging for you. As such, we have a team of program assistants and bloggers who will regularly capture the happenings at the Academy and post photos and blog updates daily on the Academy blog. We encourage you to follow along!
Parents are always welcome to call us with any questions or concerns. Our Academy staff will return phone calls within 24 hours—unless it’s an emergency, in which case we will respond as quickly as possible.
Health, Safety & Security
The Middlebury Interactive Summer Academy places the health, safety and security of participants as our top priority. We provide students and their families with comprehensive information and resources prior to and during all our programs. As an educational provider we understand parents’ desire to provide cultural and linguistic experiences in an environment that is both safe and supportive.
Health and safety protocols are critical components of our program planning, operations, and on-site activities.
- Preparing staff, students and families by providing extensive information on all topics related to safety and security through resources and our Cultural and Academic Orientation.
- Monitoring proactively all socioeconomic, political, environmental, and medically related areas of concern that may impact participants in any way. Information is gathered from government sources including embassies and consulates, nongovernmental organizations, local and international news outlets, and in-country contacts we have established.
- Communicating on a day to day basis. International program directors are in constant contact with our domestic staff in the United States, ensuring that we are working collaboratively and assiduously to optimize student safety and security.
- Responding to any security, health, or safety concerns in a proactive way. Plans can always be changed according to any arising situations and staff are trained to act preemptively.
Especially at first, the challenging environment of immersion study can make students long for home. We are aware of this and sensitive to it. All of our faculty are experienced in teaching high school students. Our students live in dorms with resident counselors who are college-age students and who pay close attention to how each student in their group is doing. All staff members are available for individual attention and support; be assured that we respond quickly to any sign of concern.
Most importantly, we develop a very supportive sense of community. We’re all in this together! And as our month together progresses, we find that students tend to bond strongly with each other. Many create joyful, supportive friendships that last well beyond their time at the Academy.
During your first phone call with your son or daughter, there may be some tears and signs of homesickness. This is normal and part of the personal growth your child will experience at the Academy. Many student remark at the conclusion of the experience that they are proud of themselves for "sticking it out" and coming away from the experience with newfound confidence and tremendous language gains.
Your Child’s Support System
Language immersion is not easy... It's a challenge to live daily life, attend classes and make new friends in a new language. However, four weeks of immersion language learning is something your child will take pride in, especially once he or she starts thinking and dreaming in language, which many Academy students says happens before the end of the program.
Our staff acknowledges that language learning has its ups and downs. The large majority of our staff, whether teachers inside the classroom setting, residential educators in the dorms or activity coordinators or program assistants in our summer site offices, have spent time immersed in language... many have been Academy students themselves and have taught at the Academy summer after summer. They share your child’s passion for language and culture and know how challenging 24/7 immersion can be. We train all staff members to support students and help students successfully complete the program, gaining tangible language gains in four weeks.
Learn more about our dedicated staff members here.
If you have specific questions or would like to speak with someone directly, please give us a call at 888-216-0135 or email us at email@example.com.
“Such an unknown going into the process and the program’s communication with both my daughter and myself de nitely exceeded my expectations. I am astounded by her language level upon completing this program, and she agrees that she gained skills in overall language learning, not just in the language she studied at MMLA. My daughter had a life-changing experience. She lived independently, while learning and exclusively using a foreign language, had nurturing support from all of the staff and formed lifelong friendships.”
“We particularly appreciated the orientation. Our child was very happy with her teacher and with the residential advisors... lots of personal attention and encouragement, and the program challenged our child too.”
“My daughters improved their German enormously. Even more importantly, my older daughter continued to read her German book after the camp ended. She obviously takes pleasure from reading German, and that is fantastic.”
“My son LOVED his supportive, intuitive teacher who really seemed to understand him as a person and a learner. After disliking his last three Spanish teachers, this was wonderful and propelled his learning.”
“Amazing advancement and confidence in her language skills, SO much better than her usual school foreign language class.”
“Three and a half weeks has been the longest my daughter Regina has ever been away at camp. I had some initial concerns, but she loved it and never looked back. She made some great friends and wants to come back next year.”
You can read more parent testimonials here!