Mr. Collet’s Impact of Travel: Middlebury College


Emma Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief

Last summer, when school finally let out, Mr. Collet did not pack up his books. Instead he spent a “summer immersed in Spanish” at Middlebury College’s language immersion program. Between classes (such as the cinema adaptation of Latin American literature), extracurricular activities (like film club or theater groups) and homework (yes, Mr. Collet was up to midnight typing up assignments), Mr. Collet “got used to not sleeping as much there.” However, Mr. Collet did say that “living in a different language was giving [him] enough adrenaline to actually get through the day.”

Upon arriving at Middlebury’s picturesque Vermont campus, Mr. Collet took a pledge to speak only his target language: Spanish. That meant no interacting with those learning other languages (like French!) on campus. This put Mr. Collet in an interesting position because, at breakfast for example, he would hear and understand French chatter and jokes from surrounding tables. Some jokes, he said, “Would make me laugh inside, and I was feeling like a little spy there.”

Despite living “basically undercover,” Mr. Collet immersed himself fully in his program. Being a “cinema person,” Mr. Collet took the opportunity to spearhead the production of a film, a snippet of which complimented his impact presentation a few assemblies ago. He also acted in a play, choosing to “step out of [his] comfort zone because [he] knew [he] would be leaving with a meaningful learning experience.” Before this summer, Mr. Collet had not been given the opportunity to act save a few theater improv classes. The play was the “challenge that [he] was looking for.” And that challenge was a success. Though the dress rehearsal was far from perfect, “having the audience changed everything.” Mr. Collet found that “it’s really the audience that gave us the possibility to become another person.”  

But why Spanish? While we all know Mr. Collet’s prowess in speaking French, Spanish culture has also been ingrained in his life since a young age. His father is a retired Spanish teacher and his family had a house in Spain until a few years ago. Mr. Collet has also spent time in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. He has taken multiple Spanish courses but has found that, like in high school, those classes only give you a “splash of language.” However, with Middlebury’s immersion program Mr. Collet found that “you think with it, you dream with it, you… everything is the language. It involves your entire mind and body.” Despite the summer homework and not quite eight hours of sleep a night, Mr. Collet found the program totally “worth it.”

Mr. Collet also mentioned that Middlebury has a four week high school immersion program. He said that “if students want to break the barrier to the next level, that’s the way to go.” If you have any interest in the program, Mr. Collet would be happy to chat with you!

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