How Learning Different Languages During Summer Camp Changed My Perspective On Life

By Emma Halpern

Growing up, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t watching Spanish language movies, reading Spanish language books, or dancing to Spanish music. Spanish was always a big part of my life so when I was in middle school, attending a summer language camp seemed like a natural fit.

I loved it so much that I returned the following year. I later attended French camp and even worked as Resident Advisor (R.A.) Why was it easy to fall in love with summer language camp? It offered me cultural immersion, new friendships, and a solid foundation in my chosen career.

Cultural Immersion
Upon enrollment, I was required to sign a language pledge promising to only speak Spanish, and later French, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for an entire month! While I had a background in Spanish before starting the program, I didn’t know a lot of French which made it initially terrifying. But it was also really exciting because every day I could see myself learning, conjugating verbs, and picking up new tenses without realizing it. I even started dreaming in Spanish and French!

The program was so much more than worksheets and grammar lessons. Every day, we read, discussed poetry and literature, listened to music, and participated in cultural events- -all in our chosen languages of study. I was completely immersed in a new culture!

Friendships Formed
While immersed in the language and culture of a different country, the program I attended provided an outstanding opportunity to meet new people who then became friends. In the evenings, we participated in clubs, sports, dances, arts and crafts, and karaoke. On the weekends, we watched movies and explored the nearby town together as a group. The program provided a fantastic balance of rigor and relaxation which only served to enhance my interest in becoming fluent in other languages.

Career Foundation
Summer language camp taught me more than language skills; it provided me with a solid foundation for my future. Today, I am continuing to study French and Spanish in college, and am learning a third language—Arabic! Arabic language speakers are in high demand. Since less than one percent of U.S. college students study Arabic, I believe my proficiency will set me apart from my peers when I enter the workforce.

I hope to build a career in international marketing and sales. Language and culture is important in this field because you need to understand how to market products in different countries. The language skills I possess today were nurtured in middle school at my summer language camp.

Any parent whose child is an eager learner and interested in becoming fluent in a different language, should consider enrolling them in a summer language academy. You won’t regret it.




Emma Halpern is a 2012, 2013, and 2015 alum of Middlebury Interactive Languages’ Summer Academy. She is currently a junior at Denison University majoring in French with a concentration in Arabic.

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  1. Pingback: How Learning Different Languages During Summer Camp Changed My Perspective On Life – K12 Newsroom

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