Kalista, German Academy Student

At the Academy, students share a love for the language. They share a desire to learn more and to become fluent in that language together.

“The first day was a little bit difficult, but you have to stick to the Language Pledge®. And if you can do that, then it becomes a really great experience. And you can learn so much from it.

“This is my third year attending the Language Academy. I’ve had two years before in Arabic and I found out about this Academy from my grandmother, who did some research. She’s really interested in my learning experience. So she thought it would be really cool for me to be fluent in a third or fourth language.

“I think it’s important to learn a language, because you can communicate with other people across the world. And you can begin to understand different cultures and not view other people as different. But you can begin to see things from their perspective.

“The immersion experience is really one of the greatest experiences of my life. I think it’s so much easier to learn a language in an immersion program, where you can actually begin to think and dream in the language, so your mind really just begins to work in the language. And it’s not a translating process. It becomes natural. And so for me, right now, it’s so much easier to speak in German than it is in English.

“My favorite experience is just socializing and getting to know other students who really love to learn and they didn’t come here because they have to. So in high school, everyone has to go to high school and you don’t get that same experience of kids who really like to learn. But here, everyone’s here because they love the language, they want to learn more and just getting to know people who also love learning has really been a great experience for me.

“The best part of the Academy, for me, was getting to know other students who really love learning the language and who are not forced to come here, but who really share a love for the language. And we really have a desire to learn more and to become fluent in that language together.

“My proudest accomplishment has been staying in language. I knew zero German when I came in, and it was really hard the first few days, since everyone was speaking to me in German and I had no idea what they were saying, but just really powering through it, sticking to the pledge. And now I can pretty much speak fluently. So that’s a really big accomplishment for me.”