Each summer, students from around the world visit other lands and find that summer study immersion programs develop language quickly.
In Dahlonega they immerse themselves in weeks of all-day, immersive study of foreign languages. However, they don’t begin their day with classes.
They begin each day with a rigorous session of military-style physical training.
The University of North Georgia’s Federal Service Language Academy receives part of its funding from the US Department of Defense and prepares students for careers in federal service or international affairs. Students participating are interested in future careers with the State Department or other international options.
“Every morning, we wake up around 6, and then we do PT. I don’t know of any other (language) camps that offer something like that,” said Djordje Kovacevic, a high school senior who came from Marmion Academy in Aurora, Ill., to participate in the Russian language program.
Kovacevic, whose first language is Serbian, said he joined the program because of an interest in Russian language and culture that stems from his Slavic background. He said this led to an interest in using language skills to work in foreign service.
“We’ve had speakers from the FBI, the NSA, and one from the Peace Corps,” he said. “Russian is a critical language, and Russia is one of America’s political rivals.”
He said he expects the rivalry will lead to a demand for federal employees who can speak Russian.
The program lasts for three weeks, and during that time students are studying their chosen language for the entire day.
Tenth-grader Kunle Araba-Owoyele, 14, has taken classes in Mandarin Chinese at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Lawrenceville, but said the all-day immersive study provided through the Federal Service Language Academy gives him a different perspective on the language.