The Red Shirt Takeover

July 18, 2016

Today, there was a red shirt takeover down in Middlebury, Vermont!

The Chinese Academy—in one large exodus—swarmed into the small town of Middlebury, where they had the chance to check out the school and get a taste for the local culture of the small town.

Arriving in large buses with their red shirts, the Chinese Academy certainly turned many heads and was the subject of discussion amongst many people on the campus. The Chinese Academy students fostered a lot of curiosity in the minds of those who aren’t familiar with Middlebury Interactive and its Summer Academies.

Nonetheless, people slowly began to realize that it’s an immersion program for high schoolers, which is similar to the Language Schools that Middlebury College offers. A difference, however, is that Middlebury Language Schools are predominantly for college students and adults.

Aside from the age difference, although, the programs are starkly similar. They both use the same philosophy to language-learning: full immersion. Additionally, students in both programs must abide by the Language Pledge®, solidifying their full immersion experience.

Needless to say, students from both programs find themselves in the same situation: No speaking English!

However, before going to Middlebury, the Academy made a stop at Kingsland Bay Park. While there, students got to have another taste of Lake Champlain and go on a short nature walk, if they wanted. Also, students ate lunch there, while simultaneously soaking in and enjoying the organic beauty that stood before them.

Once lunch was over, the students reboarded the buses and made their way down to the town of Middlebury.

To start the day off in Middlebury, students flocked to the college store, where they were able to buy all the Middlebury gear they wanted.

After the brief shopping spree, the students took to the town, exploring the area and the local shops within it. With a multitude of small, quaint shops, students were kept busy for multiple hours, as they roamed from shop to shop, acclimating themselves to the small town.

Once the exploring was over, the Academy regrouped and made their way back to the Middlebury campus. Students and staff went to the college’s main field, where they were given the opportunity to play volleyball, soccer or take a nap in the grass.

After an hour of field time, the students and staff—yet again—converged together. Once congregated, the teachers announced that the Academy will now make its way over to the cafeteria for dinner.

However, the dinner came with a catch: they won’t be dining by themselves—but instead, with the Chinese students from Middlebury College’s Language School!

During dinner, the two programs came together, dining and conversing with each other—in Chinese, of course! It made for quite the immersion setting, with a cafeteria full of Chinese speakers.

After dinner, the students and staff were happily worn out. Therefore, when it was time to leave, all were ready—all of the touring and exploring exhausted them!

And so, being the final Monday of the program, it’s now the official "beginning of the end." Soon, the nostalgia from all of their experiences will begin to seep into the students, as they realized the final moments are before them.

Nevertheless, however, they’ll all walk away from the program better communicators and leaders—but above all, better individuals. All of whom, of course, are ready to make their mark on the world.

Chinese Students in Middlebury