The French Academy

Summer Language Immersion Program 2018

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French Academy

Live immersed in French language and culture this summer. Whether you're an absolute beginner who has never spoken a word of French or an advanced speaker who is hoping to practice French in a real-world setting, you will dramatically improve your French language skills at the Academy.

For summer 2018, join us at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, for a U.S.–based immersion program open to rising 8th-12th grade students, from beginners to advanced French speakers. Or choose to study abroad in Nantes, France, which is open to rising 9th–12th grade students with at least one year of French study (rising 9th graders must have at least 2 years Middle school French language study).

For four weeks, all programming, events, activities, field trips, meetings and meals will be in French. From morning assembly until lights out, you’ll be immersed in language with a group of peers at the same competency level as you. The curriculum is organized by themes that help you navigate life in this new environment and is based on the longstanding tradition of immersion education at Middlebury College's Language Schools.

Why Learn French?

America’s fascination with Parisian style has made French one of the most sophisticated choices for second language study. But apart from giving French speakers that certain allure—or je ne sais quoi—French is quickly becoming an important global language. Today, French is spoken on every continent and by an estimated 220-300 million people worldwide. It is still the second language used for communication by the United Nations and at Olympic events. According to Forbes magazine, a study by investment bank Natixis predicted that French will be the most spoken language in the world by 2050, noting its predominance on the continent of Africa—a massive, potential economic powerhouse that’s been steadily gaining ground in recent years.

Experience French Culture
French Academy

French Academy students will gain an appreciation for French language and culture through cuisine, art, history, music, dance, geography, and politics. Cultural exploration may include:

  • Attending Bastille Day celebrations, a summer tradition!
  • Learning about French art and creating your own sculpture masterpiece.
  • Watching a French movie, listening to French pop music and discovering new musicians.
  • Participating in a fashion show or performing in an improvisation skit.
  • Savoring French cuisine and learning how to cook traditional French dishes and pastries.
  • Visiting Middlebury College's French Language School where you will take a tour of campus (in French!) and meet French Language School students.

When opportunities are available near your local Academy, we find a way to engage you and your language group with the local community, as well as bring that community to you.


Green Mountain College │ Nantes, France

At the Academy—both at our U.S.–based program and our study abroad location in Nantes—our French teachers are from many different places around the world, exposing students to different dialects and providing a well-rounded experience with the language.

Green Mountain College—Poultney, Vermont

June 24—July 20, 2018

Set among the lakes and mountains of southern Vermont, Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, is the longest running of the Academy’s sites and enjoys a close working relationship with Middlebury College’s Language Schools. With bucolic athletic fields and a collection of classic New England college facilities, Green Mountain College’s 155 acre campus is the perfect place for students to build upon their in-class lessons, all while enjoying a safe, fun and engaging summer in Vermont.

Whether you want to learn French or Spanish, it’s the ideal spot to immerse yourself in language. Our programs at Green Mountain College are open to rising 8th–12th grade students from beginners to advanced students.

Visiting Southern Vermont

French Academy

Our summer language Academies for students studying Spanish, German and Arabic are held in southern Vermont at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.

Poultney, located on the western side of the state of Vermont bordering New York in the Lakes Region of Rutland County, is a small yet lively community of roughly 3,600 residents. The Green Mountain College campus is on the edge of town within close walking distance to downtown Poultney. Students will have the opportunity to walk into town to explore the few shops, restaurants and cafes.

The town of Poultney puts on an elaborate Fourth of July parade each year, featuring students of the language Academy who will march with locals (in their target language, of course!)—a highlight of the program for many students.

Green Mountain College Faculty & Staff

Meet the faculty and staff of our French Academy at our domestic site in Poultry, Vermont.

Kaitlin Kohberger, Director of Residential Life

Kaitlin recently began her career as a School Psychologist after graduating with a MA/ED.S. from Tufts University. After graduating, Kaitlin moved to Austria, where she developed a passion for working with students as an English teacher and an interest in outdoor, adventure based education volunteering. Kaitlin strives to connect with students across the spectrum of age, ability, and background. She is passionate about cross-cultural communication, and empowering students to become global citizens.

Kripa Bhagat, Site Manager

Kripa Bhagat is returning to MIL's Summer Academies for her 7th year and is looking forward to being part of an internationally–minded language learning environment for high school students. She received her B.A. in Chinese Sociolinguistics and Spanish and Latin American Cultures from Barnard College, Columbia University. Following her graduation, she served as an Education Ambassador for the Ameson Foundation for Youth in YiWu, China. Kripa currently works with high school students as the Resident Director and Local Coordinator for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth program in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She speaks Spanish, Chinese, Gujarati, Italian, and English.

Becky Kelley, French Language Director

Becky Kelley has been an avid language learner for most of her life. She has studied French, Russian, and American Sign Language. She now shares that passion with her students as a French teacher at Windsor High School in southeastern Vermont. Before moving to Vermont, Becky taught French and ESL in various contexts, working with middle schoolers through adults in France, California, and Boston. As a graduate of Middlebury College, Middlebury Language Schools, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Becky is a strong believer in the Language Pledge and the other curricular strengths offered by MIL's programs. She is thrilled to be returning to the French Academy for her fourth summer!

Green Mountain College Housing & Facilities


Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, is situated in southern Vermont’s beautiful lakes region, with the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. Poultney, once home to early settlers and Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, was chartered in 1761, and Green Mountain College was founded in 1834.

During its history, the college has taught a diverse liberal arts education, now focusing especially on environmental studies and finding itself at the forefront of a sustainability movement. An energetic institution in the most scenic of states, this college has been placed at the top of Sierra’s “Cool School” rankings and recently recognized by the Princeton Review for going environmentally green.

Academy students will live in dorms on the Green Mountain College campus, where they will also take classes, participate in cultural exploration activities and enjoy free time. The 155-acre campus, which is small, safe and self-contained, features an arts center, state-of-the-art fitness center and the first renovated residence hall in Vermont to receive a LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Outdoor facilities include athletic fields, nature preserve with hiking trails and views of the College’s beautiful landscape and historic campus buildings.

Tour Green Mountain College’s campus and the town of Poultney, Vermont, virtually now!

Green Mountain College Dates & TUITION

June 24—July 20, 2018

Tuition covers the full cost of instruction, activities, field trips, food, lodging, and shuttle service to and from local airports. Tuition must be paid in full by the dates listed in order to obtain the savings as outlined below.

December 15, 2017

December 16, 2017—
April 30, 2018

March 1, 2018—
May 31, 2018


Nantes, France

JUly 1—July 20, 2018

French Academy

Do you dream about traveling to France and exploring the rich and vibrant country first-hand? Our study abroad Language Academy for teens can take you there! High school students will have the opportunity to live immersed in the French language and culture of Nantes during a unique four-week French study abroad experience in the summer.

Accelerate your French language skills while living and studying in Nantes, located in western France on the Loire River. Known as the Venice of the West because of its position on the river delta of Loire, the Erdre, and the Sèvre rivers, Nantes is a beautiful city full of architectural wonders and incredible cuisine. In Nantes you'll discover new ways of thinking and make connections with new people and culture that will last the rest of your life.

The French Academy in Nantes is open to rising 9th-12th grade students with at least one year of French language experience (rising 9th graders must have at least two years middle school French language experience). The French Academy is run in collaboration with IES Abroad, a leader in study abroad experiences for college students with over 60 years of experience.

Curriculum & Daily Schedule in Nantes

You’ll begin each day in Nantes by catching up with friends in the cafeteria over breakfast. Afterwards, the Academy will come together for a Morning Assembly, where staff will catch you up on special events, introduce new vocabulary, and get everyone energized for another fun day. You may hear the weather forecast, do some stretching or yoga, learn new slang, watch funny music videos, practice tongue twisters, or play a game.

Following Morning Assembly, you will move to your language class. Classes meet for three 50-minute blocks with breaks in between. Our program in Nantes uses the same proven immersion teaching methodology as our academies in Vermont. You will spend about three hours each weekday in French language classes, where you’ll be placed with students at the same level as you. Each week, a new theme guides classroom conversations and lessons.

  • Week 1: Introduction to France
  • Week 2: Getting to know Nantes
  • Week 3: Local Cuisine & Culinary Exploration
  • Week 4: Art and Culture in Nantes

Many days, your classes will include excursions into the city, so you can put your French into practice right away! These excursions will also link back to the weekly and daily themes, so you’ll be able to connect between the curriculum and the city.

After lunch comes Cultural Exploration, followed by afternoon activities — think sports like soccer, ultimate Frisbee, or volleyball; yoga, visiting a local cafe or ice cream shop, arts and crafts, juggling, or free time. Students will use this time to grab a cat nap, hang out with their friends, hit the gym, or practice their musical instruments. Then comes dinner, after which you may be one of the many seen enjoying some down time on the campus green.

Evening activities are organized and run by teachers and REs. You’ll attend student club gatherings, performances, and movies after dinner. Evening Assembly will also take place once a week. Here, your whole Academy gathers and each class presents what they have been learning that week. This presentation might be a skit, a song, a game you’ve designed with classmates that you teach the others in your Academy, a fashion show, or a game show — it’s a chance to be daring and creative in sharing your learning.

You will wrap up your day with a light snack in the dorm and a meeting with your Living Group to talk about how the day went and what to expect tomorrow.

Weekends at the Academy are less busy, allowing you time to sleep in, relax, do laundry, write letters, and hang out with your friends. You’ll participate in longer day trips on weekends, visiting sites in and around Nantes.

Nantes Faculty & Staff

French Academy

Meet the faculty and staff of our French Academy abroad in Nantes, France.

David Sainsily, Program Director

David was born in French Guiana, an Overseas Region of France, in South America. He graduated from the University of Paul Valery (Montpellier, France) in English and Portuguese studies. David has taught French in Brazil, at the Sierra College in California and Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont. He now lives in Santa Monica, California and teaches at the Windward School in Los Angeles. David is passionate about languages; he speaks French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Creole. He has been the French Language Director for our domestic Academies in Vermont for the past 10 years and is excited to be joining us again for another summer, for the second time in France.

Alexandra Milan, Residential Director

Alexandra Milan lives in Toulouse, France. She received a master’s degree in Teaching French from the Université de Franche-Comté. She has had extensive experience in the field, teaching in different schools and developing resources for her courses. Alexandra enjoys discovering different cultures and learning new languages. She has lived and worked in Egypt and in the Philippines. She began working with American students in 2012, and from 2015 to 2016 she coordinated the language teaching component of a high school summer abroad program for American students in Toulouse. This year she is happy to return to the team as Resident Director of the second Middlebury Interactive Language Academy in Nantes.

Anna Shoemaker, Center Director

Anna Shoemaker has been working with American students in France since 2008. She joined the Nantes Center in the summer of 2016, after serving in many different roles at the IES Abroad Paris French Studies Center, ranging from accounting and student affairs to managing customized programs and organizing an internship program to serving as Interim Director in 2013.

Anna attended the IES Abroad Paris French Studies program as an academic year student from the University of Texas—Austin, where she received a BA in French, Art History, and Plan II Honors. Anna then went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Training Management from the Université Paris-Dauphine, where she wrote her thesis on training faculty to use learning technology. She is a dual citizen of France and the United States, and is passionate about sharing the French language and culture with students.

Field Trips & Excursions in Nantes

It would be a shame to come to France and not experience the culture and sites that define it. That’s why we organize trips for students throughout the week and on every weekend.

Field Trips

As part of the program, students will participate in two day trips on the weekend to travel to locations outside of the city. For 2017, day trips will likely include:

  • Loire Valley, a region studded with fairy-tale like splendor. and renowned for its fine cuisine. With crenelated towers, grand cathedrals, the Chateux, and the lavish gardens and antiquated villages that surround them, there’s much to see and do in the Loire Valley.
  • San Malo & St. Michel, two cities often discussed together when exploring Northwest France. San Malo is an enthralling port city encased by city walls and boasting long sandy beaches. It’s well known for its history of privateers (Pirates) and significance in WW2. St Michel is an island commune off the coast of Normandy. There students will have a chance to visit its famous abbey and explore the local village.


French Academy

There is no short list of things to see and do within Nantes either. Throughout the week, students will have many opportunities to explore the city with their teachers and RAs. Some of the places students may go include:

  • Machines de L’lle – an unprecedented, artistic project displayed in the old shipyards of Nantes. The site brings to life the imaginary world of Jules Verne and the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Boulangerie Jean-Yves Gautier – where students would have a “hands on” visit to this famous bakery and learn how to make croissants and baguettes
  • Nantes Naval Museum – The trip would include a guided tour of the Maillé-Brezé, the first floating naval museum in France. Active in the French military for many years, the ship was decommissioned in 1988 and is now a functioning museum.

Housing & Facilities in Nantes

The Summer Academy in Nantes is housed at the Blanche de Castille, a day and boarding school located a short bus ride from the bustling city center. The campus is completely enclosed and the buildings center around a quiet campus green. You’d never guess that it is so close to the heart of the city!

Academy students will live and take all their classes on-campus. Part of the college prep experience you’ll have at the Academy is living in a dorm. Rooms are comfy and recently renovated. You’ll live in a single room (and all rooms have private en suite bathrooms), and will be on a floor with other students close to you in age. Together, you’ll be part of a Living Group -- a sort of a home base for you over the course of the Academy. Each Living Group is overseen by an RE of the same gender, and every evening, you’ll meet to chat about the day, describing triumphs and challenges you may have faced, and wind down before bed. You’ll do other activities by Living Group, as well, both in the dorm and out.

Meals will be served cafeteria-style on-campus at Blanche de Castille. The cafeteria staff has lots of experience in planning menus for students, and can accommodate students with food allergies or other dietary restrictions. Please contact MIL to discuss your particular situation.

During your free time, you’ll be able to enjoy the facilities on campus or go in small groups into the neighborhood. On-campus, there is a piano available for practicing; there is also a large gym where you can join friends for soccer, badminton, or basketball. For a more serious workout, drop by the fitness center and use the weights and machines. The campus also boasts a running trail.

Nantes Dates & Tuition

July 1—July 27, 2018

The total cost includes tuition, room and board, instructional materials, and field trips. Travel costs are not included.

December 15, 2017

December 16, 2017—
April 30, 2018

March 1, 2018—
TBD, 2018


French Academy Blogs and Resources



“Not only did my speaking skills improve, but I realized that I had the support of at least 40 other people who were, like me, just discovering their French.”

Alessandra, French Academy Student