Samori, French Academy Student
For Samori, learning French—knowing another language—opens up opportunities to explore the world.
“Personally, I wanted to learn French partly because my dad started and I was really interested in it. But also because, as I started to learn it, I realized that this is my way to not just have to live in this country, but I can go almost anywhere in the world knowing another language.
“The first day was a little awkward. Everybody was like, okay, so now it's French and for a little bit, it was just the people who spoke French really well we’re only speaking to each other, and the people who didn't really speak French were really silent. But now, everybody speaks and we're all a community and it's just, generally, it's a great time.
“When I signed the Language Pledge®, I was a little surprised. I was like, there's no turning back, you know, this is it. This is my last few moments of speaking English. I was a little nervous, but I'm glad I did it and it was definitely worth it, and I know it's going to be worth it in the long run.
“I'm always with French kids. We're always speaking French together. When we play soccer, we speak French. When we're just hanging out in the dorms, we speak French. When we watch the World Cup, we speak French. So it's like French all the time.
“I have no connection to anybody who is speaking English. I didn't think it would be as helpful as it is, and I'm speaking a lot more French than I would at home.
“The activities here, there's swimming, you can go play soccer, you can sit in the dorm and read, and play ping pong. There's a variety of activities. There's cultural exploration, such as cooking, sociology, sports. My favorite is soccer because I'm a soccer player. I love soccer. It's like one of the most important things to me. It makes me happy that they offer it here, and that I'm in an environment where I'm not the only person who cares about soccer.
“I wanted to learn French ever since I saw my dad learn French. He is at the Middlebury Academy at the actual college, and he's learning French now also. I saw him yesterday actually, and it was nice to just speak French to him only. It was like he was a different person. So being with my dad, it was different to speak to him in French, but it felt like it was something that we shared and that no one else had, and that it was just me and him who spoke French to each other. I feel like it brought us closer, and I really think I have the Middlebury Language Academy to thank for that.”