Language school kicks off summer

MIDDLEBURY — June marks the beginning of the Middlebury Language Schools’ summer sessions, known internationally for their intensive immersion approach to the teaching of language and culture. 
This year two of the Language Schools will celebrate anniversaries — the Betty Ashbury Jones M.A. ’86 School of French will turn 100 and the Chinese School will hold its 50th session. The debut of the School of Korean last summer brought the total number of Middlebury Language Schools to 11.
The School of French will celebrate its 100th year on July 16 with a picnic, dance, and luminaria display for the students on the lawn in front of the Château. The building will be lit up in red, white and blue — the colors of the French flag. At dusk, French luminaria expert Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil will also create a display with 1,000 candles lit one after the other. Forming the celestial constellations, they will represent the night sky. 
To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the Chinese School will hold a one-day event on July 23 — “A Forum on Best Practices of Chinese Language Education.” The program is designed for alumni of the school who teach Chinese. The forum is open to the public but registration is required. For more information and to register, go online to http://tinyurl.com/zkjqkws. 
Each summer, the Language Schools offer three sets of summer sessions for foreign languages on the Middlebury College campus. Mills College in Oakland, Calif., serves as the home base for the entire Arabic, Italian and Korean schools. Middlebury at Mills was established eight years ago in response to the increasing demand for admission to the Middlebury Language Schools. The first sessions began at Mills on June 10 and will start at Middlebury this Friday, June 24.
The Middlebury campus offers eight-week sessions in Chinese, Japanese, and Russian; seven-week sessions in French, German, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Spanish; and six-week sessions for graduate-level Chinese, Russian, French, German, Hebrew, and Spanish. The School of Hebrew also will offer a three-week program for lifelong learners at Middlebury. 
At the Mills College campus, there are eight-week sessions in Arabic and Korean; a seven-week session in Italian; and six-week sessions for graduate programs in Arabic and Italian. This summer the Italian and Russian Schools will offer one-week graduate refresher courses.
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. Corporate executives study side-by-side with writers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, missionaries, government officials, and diplomats. Undergraduates and graduate students from Middlebury and other institutions also attend the summer sessions to fulfill language requirements or complete degrees.
Prior to her death in 2013, philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis funded the Davis Fellows for Peace, which continues to grant 100 scholarships to cover tuition, room, and board for a summer of study in any of 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.
At both Language School locations under the guidance of a total of about 300 Language School faculty members and staff from colleges and universities throughout the world, students of all ages and nationalities live on campus, totally immersed in their target language. Students live, learn, and interact in the language they have come to study, and all agree to abide by the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak the language of study and no other for the entire summer session. The Language Schools also host cultural events that are often open to the public.

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