Language Learning Process

Do villagers need to know a language to attend?

No; we welcome all experience levels into our programs!

How do you handle villagers of different language levels?

Villagers language levels are evaluated when they arrive and are placed in language groups with others of the same ability as them.  Throughout each day, villagers have language sessions will this smaller language group. Other times during the day will be spent with mixed levels, participating in activities, meals, evening programs and campfire.

What language should villagers choose?

With 15 languages to choose from, this can be a tough decision! Some villagers choose a language to learn more about their family’s heritage. Others base their choice on what language is offered at their school; in this way the Village experience can serve as an extension to classroom learning. Still other villagers opt for trying a second or third language, often supplementing what their school curriculum provides.

How much will a villager learn?

Learning a language certainly takes time. Villagers come to us at all levels and we strive to meet language learners at their individual developmental and linguistic levels. Our programs offer the opportunity to interact with others using the target language in an encouraging and supportive environment. This kind of real communication is impossible to replicate by using a text book or computer program. Villagers gain many important language skills. They will leave with an enthusiasm to continue learning about the world. They will have a sense that learning this language is something they CAN do, and they enjoy doing. They will be motivated to go on and to discover more about other languages and cultures. It is our goal to send each villager home from one of the most academically and culturally enriching, and personally transforming experiences of his or her life, no matter their age. 

During Family Program Sessions, do children and parents learn together or in separate groups?

Language development sessions will be separate for children and adults; they are also divided by language ability. Activities like sports, crafts, nature hikes, swimming and cooking can be attended by both children and adults as a family or, individually depending on interest. We do not provide babysitting services. Younger children may need a parent to accompany them throughout the day and that may affect the extent to which that parent can focus on his or her own language learning process.

During large group activities, our staff works to group families in numerous ways, either by family, by age or by language level.

How do villagers learn the language when counselors don't explain words in English?

Speaking the language to villagers, without using English, is a hallmark of immersion language learning. We use many learning techniques to help comprehension: gestures, pictures, pointing, facial expressions, actual objects, mime, repetition, examples and demonstrations, just to name a few. “Context” is important, meaning everything is grounded in daily life at the Villages to help language learners understand. We make deliberate use of routines and normal activity. Staff will use English with villagers for health and safety reasons, and also at times in the cabin to make sure that everyone is feeling comfortable in the Village no matter what their language level. If a villager is a beginner, you can rest assured that we will make it fun and understandable!

Are language activities different for returning villagers?

Our staff bring a new set of talents every summer so there is something new to learn each summer. Staying in the target language means  we can recognize very quickly the language skills of different villagers, and even if they have been to the Villages before, there will be plenty of new language exposure.