Haines: “The experience has been life-changing…” | Concordia Language Villages

Haines: “The experience has been life-changing…”

For many families, Concordia Language Villages can become a tradition lasting for multiple years. For the Haines family, being a part of the Language Villages has led to a 25-year cumulative experience.

“Alex and Michelle have each been a part of Concordia Language Villages for nine summers, and Laura has been a part of the Villages for seven summers,” says Ann

Michelle and Laura, photo courtesy of Ann Haines.

Haines, a math teacher living in Eden Prairie, Minn. Growing up in Fergus Falls, Ann has been familiar with the Language Villages for many years through an association with Christine Schulze, vice-president of Concordia Language Villages, and her family.

“I hadn’t thought much about Concordia Language Villages until 2002, when my son Alexander was in seventh grade and thinking about summer camps,” says Ann.

Ann presented her son with a catalogue containing dates and descriptions of all the programs in every language provided by the Villages.

“Alex studied it very intently,” says Ann, “and chose German.”

“When Alex announced he was going to Waldsee for two weeks, his younger sister Michelle decided that she should go too. [Her father and I] hesitated a bit because she was only in fourth grade, but we ultimately agreed [to let her attend as well.]”

Fourteen short days after arriving at Waldsee for their first village experiences, Alex and Michelle were both excited to return again the next summer.

“To demonstrate how serious he was [about returning to Waldsee], Alex switched from Spanish to German when school started in the fall,” says Ann.

Michelle and Alex, photo courtesy of Ann Haines


Alex and Michelle returned to the villages in varying capacities for the next eight years, and when their youngest sibling, Laura, completed the fourth grade, she began attending Lac du Bois for a total of seven summers.

“The experience has been life changing for our entire family,” says Ann, “their exposure to a second language has encouraged each of them to be exchange students. They all credit their time at Concordia Language Villages with instilling the desire and confidence to study abroad. We have also hosted an exchange student for a year and have grown to love her and her home country. We cannot overstate how profound the impact has been.”

Since completing high school, both Alex and Michelle have furthered their language experience to varying degrees in college, while Laura is currently studying abroad.