We are starting to research summer language immersion programs this summer for our D, who is a current HS sophomore. She will only have 2 years of Spanish under her belt, but we both think she would prefer learning the language in this kind of setting. Anyone have experience with a great program like this, either domestic or overseas? Bonus points if it will be happening in person this summer. Thanks!
I did this program in high school for a year, I believe they also have summer programs, but not sure if they have this summer. There is also a camp in Minnesota that does immersion.
I think I’ve been to the one in Minnesota, if we’re thinking of the same thing. I went for Chinese, not Spanish, but the Spanish program is very well regarded. I went three summer’s in a row (going into 4th grade - 6th grade). I had two great experiences and one very disappointing one. Overall though, I would recommend the program, especially for a high school student.
I believe the month long program is a full year of high school credit, and it truly is full immersion. A lot of kids start the program with very little to no knowledge of the language and some enter near fluent. They do a good job catering to different levels of proficiency. There are daily lessons and in the high school program I believe that involves midterms and finals, and there are cultural activities as well. I will add, however, that although the primary focus is language it is still a summer camp. You swim in the lake, sing at a campfire, learn archery, etc. It’s a fun experience.
The program I participated in doesn’t offer Spanish unfortunately, but if your daughter is looking to learn a new language then I recommend looking into NSLI-Y. It is a scholarship offered by the US Department of State that sends high school students to learn a less commonly taught language abroad. I am a Korean Alumni if you have any questions.
I also recommend looking into these programs as well for language learning/cultural immersion: AFS, American Councils, CIEE, iEARN, CYBX, YES.
Thanks, all. She has taken a couple of years of Spanish already and wants to continue but doesn’t love language learning. She has a good ear but would learn more easily by hearing and practicing than doing the online quizzes and things they’ve done all year, as they’re learning remotely!
So many programs will be virtual again this summer so appreciate any insight or suggestions!
My daughter attended a French immersion school when she was young so we looked at many different options to keep her language as she got older. She did several summer immersion camps, but the thing she had the most success with was our family hosting an exchange student over the summer. We hosted two different summers, one for six weeks and one for four weeks. It was invaluable for her to be able to just hang out and talk with a native speaker her own age. And likewise for the exchange student who wanted to work on English. Can’t recommend it highly enough.
Thanks for the suggestion. Can you recommend a particular organization or program for the exchange, or was yours French-only?
Looks like most Middlebury language immersion ‘camps’ are in-person this summer, at least so far. I haven’t done these, but have heard good things.
We found both of our girls through an organization called Denver Sister Cities. Apparently, most major cities have “sister cities” in other countries and they have a non-profit located in the American city to help cross-promote the cultures. The exchange program is part of that non-profit. I had never heard of it before we started looking for an exchange student. I was referred there by reaching out to the local immersion schools. If you put the word out to any Spanish schools and non-profits in the area that you’re interested in an exchange student, they will come to you! It’s apparently pretty difficult to find host families between the countries. I would do it again in a heartbeat - it was fantastic.
I know that Oxbridge Summer Program is planning on having its month-long Spanish immersion program in-person in Salamanca this year. But I don’t know how exactly rigorous the program may be. If anyone else has any insight into that program I would love to hear about it too.
I did confirm that sya.org intends to resume their summer programs next summer!
My daughter is doing this one - Maximo Nivel. Costa Rica is currently up and running I believe. Too many restrictions in Peru still.
Thanks very much. Costa Rica is a great option!