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Thread: Middlebury

  1. #1
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    Middlebury

    Has anyone studied Russian for the summer at Middlebury? What were your impressions? And what did your typical day look like schedule-wise? I know they pride themselves on the pledge, but how many courses do you take? Do you get to choose specialized electives or are they just generic Russian courses? How many hours/day and days/week do you spend in class? Thanks!
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

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    Yes

    Definitely worth the time. I think the SLANG (Summer Language Program) is a great idea for anyone who wants to get a better grasp of the language. I went through over ten years ago, so things have most likely changed since then. I also did the summer program at Norwich University (Military College of Vermont).

    When I went, it was just like attending college. But with "Russian Only" restrictions for conversations and such. The immersion aspect is a great idea as long as you have people who already know Russian pretty well.

    We got to pick our classes and schedule and attended class from around 8 AM - 5 PM.

    Classes I took were:

    Grammar (from that old brown 1950's Russian Grammar book)
    Morphology and Syntax
    Etymology/Root Words
    Old Church Slavonic

    Like I said, I'm sure things have changed since I attended. But it was definitely worthwhile.

    Ross
    Pain is weakness leaving the body.

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    Middlebury, ay. Are you planning on going there? Well I haven't been, but this summer I will be attending. I did the Indiana program in 2005, so I have a little bit of an idea what to expect. One thing I'm quite sure of is there will be a lot drama. There always always is in these things (it's entertaining, really). I'm counting on there being some interesting social stratification along the lines of language ability. The better speakers will be of a generally older set of students, will want to talk tho those who can understand and respond to them on the same level. Those at the bottom will be in constant need of the better students to assist them in interacting with others. Well maybe this is too Lord of the Flies for some, but I get a kick out of weird social experiments. I'm kind of nervous about the levels. My course history got me "accepted" to the 7th level, and now I feel like I have to place into it when I get there. I haven't done much Russian in almost 6 months now, and it'll be another 3 before the programs starts. I wish I had someone to talk to about the 5th, 6th, 7th levels so I had a better idea which suited my ability.

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    Dude, you don't suck at Russian. (Relatively speaking) Therefore, you don't need some gimmicky program. A bunch of uber-nerds walking around some lame liberal-arts campus speaking in broken Russian... not my idea of an enjoyable summer program. Sure, maybe you'll come out the other side with a better* understanding of the language, but there are much better ways.

    For the cash ($6,000+) you'll be spending on this junk, I'd strongly recommend you hop a flight eastward and spend some time with people who actually speak Russian properly. Alternatively, every time you meet a Russian immigrant, buy him/her a drink. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to indulge you with small talk.


    [* This is pretty subjective, as I know a few 9-week Middlebury grads who speak like children with tongues made of lead. ]
    Corrupting young minds since May 6, 2004.

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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    Brmly,
    I was going to PM you to ask about the cost.... Black Mage answered that.
    Come to MY summer school! "Capecoddah's Low Down and Dirty Summer Russian Training Camp" You get to work with authentic Russians or Eastern Europeans, at my motel!!! You get to speak Russian and learn other new skills! (pool cleaning 101) I'd ask $1,500, but my boss wants a cut, so $3,000. I pay legal EE's better than illegal BR's. Amercan that speaks Russian? WOW! Minimum wage for you !

    I'm kidding, I pay everyone well, hand out lobsters/steaks for grilling and ask девушка to return.
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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    Whereabouts is your establishment there, Caper?
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

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    On the other other hand, for the $1,500 you'd spend hanging out with capecoddah, you could grab a cheap domestic flight to Disney World (or Disneyland) and walk around scoping out the summer help. If you look at enough nametags, eventually you'll find a "Evgeniy - Russian Federation". He'll talk to you if help him clean the bathrooms. Hell, when you're done he might even let you come to the secret Disney World employees-only after-party and introduce you to "Oksana - Belorus" and "Natalya - Ukraine" if you know what I mean.
    Corrupting young minds since May 6, 2004.

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    Clarification

    I should have mentioned that when I went to Middlebury and Norwich, it was funded by the State Dept, so it was worth my time. If I had to pay for it out of my own pocket, probably not so much. If it costs around $5K to attend, I'd definitely suggest spending that money on a plane ticket to the Motherland. You can hole up in a hotel and venture out whenever you please and get a lot better Russian experience.

    Nothing compares with in-country experience!!!


    ----Ross
    Pain is weakness leaving the body.

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    No doubt the cost in a huge factor. I wouldn't go if they weren't paying me $7,000 to do so...(which, however, still leaves about $1,500 of the tuition for me to cover!) As for the notion that travel is always better than study, I have to disagree. I spent almost a year in Russia, half of that time on my own, and I don't think my language gains were any better or worse than if I had taken some more classes at home. The difference was where the gains came, mostly in conversation and comprehension, but my grammar and writing ability pretty much stagnated. I think therefore it's important to have a balanced approach to learning a language, where times abroad and and home are complimentary, not mutually exclusive, learning methods. So I look forward to my summer in elitist New England dork-o land, and am confident that it isn't money better spent sucking on shot glasses in Sochi. (that's next summer)

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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    DDT, West Yarmouth, Route 28... Not a high point on my resume.
    http://www.thunderbirdmotel.com/
    I wasn't very happy there, I'm looking for a new place this summer, closer to the water/beach. Masterrussian discounts will/could/might apply... Depends on the night/ my mood...

    Black Mage, I don't charge people for jobs (that was joke for Brmly). I'm actually pretty nice. I bring the kids out lobstering/fishing, help them fix their bikes and sell at cost flashing lights so they don't get whacked by a car. I spend my "comps" (free stuff I get) on them. I paid the Russan maid to help me with lessons. I buy pizza and beer on Friday & Saturday nights. Open the pool after hours for "my kids" to use.

    Then again, they pick up cigarette butts, clean puked in rooms, over-flowing toilets and get verbally abused by customers. Welcome to the "Hospitality Biz". I remember most of my "gang", Isend Xmas cards
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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    School vs. In country experience

    True that your writing/grammar skills will improve more in a school environment, grammar isn't everything. I had a few years in school before I first went to Russia. When I got there, the people asked me "What century did you study Russian in?" They were referring to the fact that the way I spoke and the words I used, were all antiquated. That was due to my 50-60 year old teachers that I was exposed to in the school environment. Not only were they older, but they had also been away from Russia for a number of years. They would teach us to say "groovy" and "swell" and such. We thought we knew the language when we got out of school, but the in-country experience changed all that!

    The instructors always told us "They will not understand you" if you make a grammar mistake or mispronounce a word. That was also something that had me scared to death, but I quickly got over that when I realized that Russians don't use perfect grammar or pronunciation either!

    So, school, plus in country experience would be best. Want to go even further, then work as a translator or learn to be an interpreter. That is when the learning really comes at you fast! Not only do you learn and understand Russian better, but you also learn a lot more about the English language.

    OK, enough rambling,

    Ross
    Pain is weakness leaving the body.

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    Quote Originally Posted by capecoddah
    Black Mage, I don't charge people for jobs (that was joke for Brmly). I'm actually pretty nice.
    Of course you are.

    Then again, they pick up cigarette butts, clean puked in rooms, over-flowing toilets and get verbally abused by customers. Welcome to the "Hospitality Biz".
    Sounds a lot like the "Hospital Biz", that's my gig.

    At least in 5-10 years I'll be making a lot of money.
    Corrupting young minds since May 6, 2004.

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    capecoddah. West Yarmouth eh? My neck of the woods was Falmouth Heights. That was in the days of the Oak Crest Inn, The Brothers 4 and The Warf. All have probably been torn down by now and sadly replaced with more "respectable" establishments..
    That and Captain Kidds in Woods Hole. There were no Russians to be seen back then except for a stranded "fishing or research" vessel crew.
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

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    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    No doubt the cost in a huge factor. I wouldn't go if they weren't paying me $7,000 to do so...
    Man, I hear you. I checked Middlebury out on the web and it actually looked kind of fun (maybe I'm just weird) but for $7000, I think I'll pass.

    The place I'm working at right now sends people over to Russia quite frequently though, so if I could convince them to pay for it (and get paid to go to school all summer rather than work ) I'd jump on it.

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