The University's Hebrew Language department will team up with the Middlebury College's Sunderland Language School starting this June for a summer program that will stress both linguistic and cultural study.
Prof. Vardit Ringvald (NEJS), director of Brandeis' Hebrew and Arabic Language Program, will head the new Brandeis University-Middlebury School of Hebrew. The program is open to anyone with a high school diploma. Brandeis' already established one-month summer program will still take place and will be followed by a seven-week program at Middlebury, Vt.
The program will mark the 10th language offered over the summer at Middlebury, which, according to its Web site, specializes in "administering intensive language immersion programs."
Middlebury currently offers one course in beginning Hebrew, focusing on classical Hebrew and translating biblical narratives, but, Ringvald said, Middlebury had not opened a Hebrew language school until this pointbecause of Brandeis' superior summer program.
Jamie Northrup, director of institutional collaboration and marketing for Middlebury's Language School, said that Ringvald and the Brandeis faculty members are some of the best in the Hebrew language field, noting how Ringvald and her colleagues wrote the widely used textbook Brandeis Modern Hebrew.
"We have a very unique curriculum," Ringvald said.
Northrup said that both institutions are bringing important elements to the program. Brandeis is contributing its faculty, pedagogy and training, the Middlebury Web site explained, while Middlebury is providing money, facilities, a 93-year history of the Language School and the Language Pledge. The pledge, according to Northrup, requires students to sign a contract to speak only the language they are trying to learn that summer.
Ringvald said students can fulfill all three semesters of their University language requirement and receive credit for graduation by attending the Middlebury program.
Classes for the program will be offered on four skill levels. Each level will meet for formal class in the morning, and after lunch they will engage in enrichment, tutoring and cultural activities, Ringvald said.
Ringvald said this program is more likely to provide financial aid than the Brandeis summer program, which does not provide it. The Brandeis program costs $2,520 for the summer, and the new summer program at Middlebury will cost $6,386 including room and board.
According to Northrup, the U.S. government has declared Hebrew a "critical language," which means that students are qualified to receive scholarships, including the Kathryn Davis Fellowships for Peace, which give students in critical languages scholarships covering tuition, room and board, in addition to paying a small stipend.