Julia, Chinese Academy Student
For Julia, the best part of the Academy experience was being able to speak Chinese all of the time—not just in class.
“I think it's important to know a second language because you can talk to so many different people. If I had never learned Chinese, I wouldn't have the friends that I have now, and I don't think I would have as many opportunities as I have now if I hadn't started learning Chinese and other languages.
“I chose to come to the Academy this summer because I really love speaking Chinese and Middlebury's very famous for its languages, and at school I can speak Chinese in my Chinese class, but then I never get to speak it anywhere else. Here, I can always speak it all the time, and I thought that was a really interesting and fun opportunity, so I decided to come to the Academy.
“I just think it's really fun to speak Chinese all the time, and I find it really challenging but in a productive, fun way, because by being immersed in a language all the time, you know what you need to study because you realize, ‘Oh, I have no idea how to say this.’ So I think it's really important to do a program like this, because then you learn what you need to know.
“So far I have participated in a Tai Chi class, an ancient Chinese music class, a singing class, and a Chinese writing class. And I would say my favorite one so far has been the Chinese singing class, because I never get the opportunity to sing in Chinese, and now I get to sing modern-day Chinese songs, which I think is really fun.
“I would say my favorite experience so far has been getting to know the people here, because the friends that I've made are from all around America. And I just think it's really cool to see people from places I've never been before. Like one of my best friends is from Florida, some are from Pennsylvania, and then some are actually from Massachusetts that live 30 minutes from where I live and I never knew them before, which I think is so cool.
“If somebody was thinking to come to the Academy, I would definitely tell them to join.
“I really have enjoyed my time here. I've learned a lot, and I think everyone would agree with me saying that they've learned a lot and their language has really improved and their understanding of the language (has improved). So I would really encourage them to come.
“The best part of the Academy for me was being able to stay in language all the time and learning more Chinese, because I love Chinese.”