Swarthmore Blog

Make sure your browser is showing new posts: 
Click here to refresh the page!
Click on the photos or titles to view the full photo gallery.

                

  • Real-life Language Learning at MMLA

    Before I went to MMLA, I had only used Mandarin with my tutor during classes. Every once in a while I met a person who spoke Mandarin and had a short conversation with them, but I rarely had the opportunity to use a wide range of vocabulary in real-life settings. The outside-of-class activities at MMLA were extremely valuable to me and other students because they provided that opportunity to use the language like you would in real life.During my first week at MMLA, I had a Chinese cultural dance class every day, where I learned about Chinese culture in addition to acquiring and using new vocabulary. Our teacher would teach us each action while describing what she was doing in Chinese, so that we quickly learned the Chinese words for “turn around”, “open fan”, and other actions.

    In cooking class I learned how to name common ingredients and cooking processes like “soy sauce”, “rice” and “boil”. It was easy to remember these words because they were associated with experiences and images, as opposed to only being words on a blackboard.

    If you’ll be attending MMLA this summer, make sure to attend a variety of outside-of-class activities- it will be more fun and you’ll improve your language skills without even realizing it.” 

    Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore. 

    image

  • Tips to Accelerate Your Language Learning at the Academy

    1. Ask questions - The quickest way to learn new vocabulary is to ask questions when speaking to your RA’s, teachers and friends and make the most of opportunities for conversation. The RA’s will be with you or near you during most of your downtime so you’ll always have the opportunity to learn new vocabulary from them.

    2. Repeat new words - It can get a bit overwhelming when new words are flying around you all the time. I found that I remembered new words much better when I repeated them and tried to use them in my conversations afterwards as much as possible.

    3. Use your dorm room - Jasmine mentioned on her blog that she used flashcards posted on her dorm wall to help her learn new vocabulary. I saw a lot of people doing similar things when I was at MMLA; it’s an awesome idea that I can tell you really works.

    4. Keep an organized notebook - When I went to MMLA last summer I fell into the habit of writing new words on random pages of my notebook and trusting myself to remember words without writing them down. This made it difficult for me to review vocabulary I learned at MMLA once I got home. I recommend bringing a hard-covered notebook so that it doesn’t fold in your bag and using highlighters or different colored pens to keep you organized. If you’ll be studying Chinese, square-ruled books designed for writing Chinese characters will help too.

     

    Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore. 

    image

  • The Pre-College Experience at MMLA

    When I applied to MMLA last year I didn’t anticipate the added benefit of learning and living in a college environment. As an eighth grade student (and as a ninth grade student now), taking in the university experience wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. A few days on campus, however, proved how fun and valuable the pre-college experience was even for younger students like me. 

     

    During the first few days at the academy I was surprised by the independence we were given. It was a surprise that at first I wasn’t sure I was ready for, but I soon adjusted to the changes from my regular routine. I felt completely safe at the academy, and enjoyed being able to wake up early to go on a run in the morning or just walk across the campus with my friends during the day. The warm weather at Green Mountain meant that we were hardly ever inside, so my friends and I often played badminton or Frisbee or went for a quick swim during free time.

     

    Living in the dorms was a great experience for me and played a big role in developing many of the friendships I made at the academy. My roommate was the second person I met at MMLA, and we became best friends almost immediately. Even the most ordinary events were exciting in the dorms; I remember bonding with soon-to-be friends while brushing my teeth and doing laundry.  

     

    Living at GMC reaffirmed to me that I want to go to a university somewhere further away from home. I loved being in a completely different environment than what I’m used to and meeting people that come from different areas of the US and the world, an experience that I don’t think I’ll have to the same extent if I choose to stay in Ontario. I also realized that while going to university in a city might be more lively, the nature and outdoor activities of the campus made me love the rural setting of GMC.

     

    If you’re lucky enough to have a few choices in terms of campus this summer, I’d recommend choosing a campus that is noticeably different from where you live. While the experience will be exciting and eye-opening at any campus, learning at Green Mountain in an environment completely different from Toronto made my experience all the more rewarding.

     

    Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore. 

     

    image


  • My Top 5 Packing Tips for the Academy

    1.  Pack for warm weather – Short sleeve shirts and shorts/skirts are the best choice for staying cool and comfortable while attending classes and activities. I almost never wore a sweater or jeans last summer, and could have saved some space in my luggage by instead packing a few more t-shirts.

     

    2.   A huge electric fan (or the person who lets you borrow their fan) will be your best friend – I only brought a small fan with me last summer because I was taking a plane home and didn’t want to use up too much space in my luggage. Although my fan was really easy to carry around, it didn’t make much of a difference in cooling a big dorm room, and I ended up using my roommate’s fan most of the time. If you have the space, I recommend bringing an electric fan at least 14” in diameter.

     

    3.  Bring sunscreen and sunglasses – Sunscreen and sunglasses were especially useful during the fourth of July parade and other outdoor activities, but  most students also wore them while walking from class to class.

     

    4.  Pack light formal clothes – We had two formal events last summer in addition to three casual dances. The events took place in hot weather, so light clothing is best.

     

    5.  Remember washing detergent! - We didn’t have a place to buy detergent at Green Mountain, so those who didn’t bring any (like myself) shared with friends. Each student washed about a load per week, but bringing extra detergent is a good idea.

    Good luck!

    Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore. 


    image


  • The Importance of the Language Pledge

    The Language Pledge is the foundation of the Academy experience and what differentiated learning at the Academy from my language learning during the school year.

    Attending the Academy was the first time I participated in an immersion environment, and while I was nervous about expressing myself and making friends in a second language, I was also excited to be able to speak Mandarin outside the limits of my classroom.

    I can’t express all the benefits that full immersion had on both my language learning and my experience at the Academy. While I developed confidence in my speaking ability, I also made closer friends than I think I could have otherwise. Though there were several moments when I couldn’t fully express an idea or ask the exact question I wanted to ask, I was always met by a supportive group of RA’s, teachers, and friends who understood the challenges of living in a second language. Some of my favorite memories from the Academy actually come from the misunderstandings I had between friends and RA’s because I mixed up a word I thought I had heard earlier or pronounced a word with a different intonation.

    While the Language Pledge was probably the most daunting part of initially signing up for the Academy, the full-immersion environment made my experience much more exciting and rewarding. The countless benefits of the pledge are intangible and continue to influence my language learning in ways that I couldn’t have anticipated before attending the program.

    Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore. 

    image

  • Why I Chose to Come to MMLA

    Growing up in a bilingual household and having studied Mandarin Chinese since the age of five, I can’t remember a time when language learning wasn’t a part of my life. I love the challenges presented by learning a new language and the feeling of being connected to a culture entirely different from my own.

    I originally looked into MMLA after hearing about my dad’s experiences attending Middlebury’s Japanese summer program while he was in university. After pouring over student testimonials and academy videos, I decided to apply to the GMC campus in Vermont. Without hesitation I can say that both applying to MMLA and choosing the GMC campus are some of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    To me, the letters MMLA are synonymous with adventure. It seemed like every second of MMLA was a new experience and I can’t imagine a more fulfilling way to spend a month as a high school student. Aside from the huge leap I experienced in my language skills, I met an amazing group of teachers, RA’s and students who are truly passionate about language learning and continue to inspire me.

    This summer I’ll be continuing my studies of Mandarin at the Swarthmore Campus in Pennsylvania. I’m excited to once again immerse myself in a language that has become so much a part of my life while living and learning with a community of inspirational students and teachers. I think that’s what’s so special about MMLA: it’s not only an immersive language camp, it’s also a camp that immerses students in an environment of risk-taking and exploration.

    Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore. 

    image

Photo of the Day

image

French Academy students cheer during the Olympics!


Get the latest updates on:

image Facebook »

Twitter Twitter »

Save and Share