Marty, French Academy Teacher

Language immersion isn't sink or swim, rather it's a succession of many small accomplishments that add up exponentially day by day, week by week.

“The students learn at an exponential rate in that they learn a little bit which then adds up to a little bit more. That allows them to go to different places, and within our framework of in the language 24 hours upon 24 hours, it’s absolutely astounding the progress, the language acquisition, that they make.

“The Language Pledge® is the essential pillar to the Academy. On day one when they sign the Pledge, in front of them is a beautiful, beautiful closed door. And as the day and the evening progresses, that door slowly opens. As the weeks flow by, the doors become totally open, and they walk through into a new culture.

“We’ve had courses in cooking. We’ve had courses in sports. We’ve had courses in African theatre, as well as regular French theatre. We’ve had courses in painting as well. The students have also been on field trips, one of which to Middlebury College, where they actually dined with the students of the college, and then they went to see a phenomenal concert by a very, very famous Quebec group.

“What happens is that there’s not only a monumental acquisition of language, but other things happen to the student. The sense of pride that they have once they have completed the program, as well as that their eyes are all of a sudden open to a different culture. And in essence, their eyes are open to the world. What is most rewarding for me is seeing the day to day progress that the students make. The students that I see on the first day here at the Academy are not the same students that I see on the last day. On the last day, there are students that are just beaming with joy over the accomplishments that they have made. And as a teacher, as the language director, I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Note: Marty was with the Academy for a number of years and has since retired from the program.