At Middlebury, we believe that the study of language in its cultural context belongs in the mainstream of any curriculum as one of the most enlightening and humanizing activities in which one can engage. We provide these students with consistent and dependable access to languages in an interactive, intensive-immersion environment. The Language Schools integrate excellent and innovative instruction in language with a curriculum that incorporates linguistics, literature, culture, and area studies, offering students opportunities to use the target language with native and near-native language professionals and with each other. The curriculum is supported by an extensive co-curricular program designed to reinforce classroom learning through a task-based approach. We are dedicated to the premise that without real competency in language there can be no true cultural understanding, and, that to be truly effective, language speaking must provide meaningful access to other cultures.
While each School's daily schedule is unique, it's still possible to sketch a general idea of how your typical day might flow. The first half is spent in anywhere from three to five classroom hours, followed by lunch with your professors and peers. In the afternoons, you put your newly learned language skills to work, participating in co-curricular activities ranging from cooking and calligraphy to music and dance. During the evening you might attend a lecture by a visiting scholar or commentator, watch a film, or participate in a cultural celebration relevant to your language and culture of study.
In the Chinese School, we choose our faculty from among the most dedicated, hardworking professionals in academia and select our students from a pool of highly qualified, highly motivated learners. As a student in the Chinese School, you’ll meet with your teachers for four hours of daily classroom learning, as well as individual review sessions and drop-in evening office hours. Between times, you'll join them in organized co-curricular activities—including tai chi, hiking, theater, calligraphy, cooking, and Majiang—each designed to help you build new vocabulary while developing cultural fluency.
Whether in class, at poetry club, in the dining hall, or just chatting with friends, you'll be living the language for eight intensive weeks. When you leave campus at summer’s end, you’ll say goodbye to friends you're likely to meet again later—as professional colleagues in the Chinese-speaking world.
Non-Degree Intensive Language Program
The Chinese School prides itself on dedicated faculty and staff, a rigorous, well-implemented curriculum, a speak-Chinese-only total immersion learning environment, and a low student-teacher ratio. At the end of each eight-week summer session, comparisons of entrance and exit speaking and reading proficiency test results lend clear credibility to this claim.
The eight-week session offers courses in modern Mandarin at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. These courses are designed to help learners of all ages 18 and over to develop and improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The curriculum at all levels also aims to help learners acquire and expand their knowledge of Chinese culture.
Students are exposed to texts prepared in both traditional and simplified characters, as well as to a variety of vocabulary and usages current in both mainland China and Taiwan. Language learning activities in and outside of class simulate real life situations requiring the use of spoken and written Chinese.
Each course covers the equivalent of one academic year’s worth of material within the eight-week period, and will meet for about four hours each day for morning classroom lecture, small group drill sessions, and individual one-on-one practice. Students should expect to devote four to six hours to out-of-class homework and study each day. Additionally, the Chinese School students participate in co-curricular activities, such as tai chi, hiking, calligraphy, cooking, and singing, weekly social events, and daily social exchange during meal times, study groups, and free time activities to practice and improve their language skills.
We have built into our curriculum an active assessment component which monitors and measures student progress. Low faculty-student ratio ensures each student receives individual attention. Teachers are available every day during office hours, in the dorm and dining hall for individual consulting, feedback, and support. Both teachers and students work diligently as coaches and learners, respectively to ensure that each student's ability to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese improves dramatically day-by-day throughout the summer.
The Middlebury experience was everything I had read about and hoped for. It was rigorous and pushed me to excel to the best of my abilities. I would highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in an immersive environment. The facilities were all excellent and the instructors were world-class.
Classes and co-curricular activities for the eight-week session are scheduled for Monday-Friday, while films, hikes, performances, and social gatherings are scheduled for the weekends.
Class Lecture: 8:00-9:50 am
Group Drill: 10:10 am - 12:00 noon
Individual Practice: 1:30-3:30 pm
Co-curricular Activities: 4:00-5:30 pm
Placement level will be determined by Chinese School teachers based on an online language assessment completed in the Spring prior to campus arrival, and an oral interview done on the first Saturday of the session. Acceptance into the Chinese School does not assume or guarantee placement in a particular level of instruction. Our main goal is to help all students increase their ability to use Chinese as much as possible within an eight-week period. As students come from many different backgrounds and various instructional programs, students may find themselves placed at a level below or above what they may have expected. In enrolling in the Chinese School, you indicate your willingness to accept guidance from the School as to your placement in the course level most appropriate to your needs and current proficiency.
The 8-week session normally grants 4 units of credit (12 semester-hours). A summer language session is equivalent to roughly one academic year of language study.
Franklin & Marshall Academic Policy
F&M requires all students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution or off-campus study program. You can typically find this information on the program partner's website. In many cases, this will be four or five courses for a semester. Many programs grant course credit in U.S. semester credit hours. Franklin & Marshall will award four F&M course credits for a total of 15 or 16 U.S. semester credit hours. If the total number of credits for your program is more than 16 or less than 15, divide the total number by four to find out how many course credits you will receive (this includes summer study).
Courses on off-campus study programs must be taken for a letter grade, not on a pass/no pass basis. Grades from off-campus study program courses will appear on your Franklin & Marshall transcript, but they will not be calculated into your cumulative GPA.
Courses taken off-campus may be able to satisfy major, minor, language or distribution requirements (Arts, Humanities, Social Science, Non-Western Cultures or Natural Science Lab) in addition to general elective credit. Courses may fulfill more than one requirement. Please note that Franklin & Marshall cannot issue transfer credit for a course taken in a department that is not represented at the College. If a course does not clearly fall under a department, the off-campus study advising staff can help you determine whether or not it can be accepted for credit.
Franklin & Marshall Housing Policy
Housing options during your off-campus study program will vary by program. Some programs may allow students to choose their housing option; other programs require all students to live in a certain type of housing. Typical housing arrangements may include apartments, homestays, or on-campus housing at a local university. Please visit the program homepage to determine your program's housing options or requirements.
Please note that some programs may offer students the option to pursue independent housing (outside of the regular housing options provided by the program). F&M does not allow students to choose independent housing unless there is a significant academic or cultural reason (such as wanting to live in a homestay when only apartment housing is provided). Independent housing carries many risks and F&M and the program provider cannot provide any support to students who pursue independent housing. Students who are interested in pursuing independent housing will need to contact their off-campus study adviser to petition for approval to pursue this option.
Financial Policy, Financial Aid and Scholarships
During the academic year, students will continue to be eligible for financial aid during a term of off-campus study. This includes federal and state loans and Franklin & Marshall merit scholarships and need-based grants. In general, eligibility for financial aid is based on Franklin & Marshall tuition, cost of housing and meals from the off-campus study program, and an allowance for books and personal expenses. Your annual estimated family contribution as generated by your FAFSA will remain the same regardless of program costs. Students who receive Grant-in-Aid benefits will continue to access these benefits for the semester off-campus. This benefit is only available to students of eligible full-time F&M faculty and staff.