Putney’s Language Learning programs emphasize having fun while speaking French, Spanish, or Mandarin in real-life situations. Over six decades of experience have taught us that active immersion in local cultures, rather than sitting in a classroom, is what best promotes progress toward fluency. Our great network of friends and contacts — from farmers to bakers, journalists, and hoteliers — helps Putney students improve their language skills in practical and dynamic ways. Improved fluency leads to lifelong enrichment and provides the key to increased understanding between cultures. We offer Language Learning programs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Carefully planned itineraries take students to famous sights, as well as to less touristic areas with better opportunities for immersion in local life and culture. Putney’s approach to language learning is active and systematic. We encourage students to abandon their inhibitions and fear of making mistakes. Our talented leaders design fun and dynamic exercises to develop confidence and encourage directed cultural immersion. Low student-to-leader ratios allow for individualized attention and a supportive, non-competitive group atmosphere.
“Since the program immerses you so thoroughly, it is impossible not to improve greatly in speaking as well as in comprehension. The local people were very welcoming and willing to talk with us in Spanish. Also, within the Putney group, we grew very close and definitely became a family by the end of the trip.”
– Cameron Pulley, Langley High School, McLean, VA
During a week in the homes of local families (France and Costa Rica), or a week of structured daily pairings with local young people (Spain, Ecuador, and China), students become immersed in the local culture and make significant strides toward fluency. In Costa Rica or Ecuador, students hone their language skills while completing meaningful community service projects in rural communities. Active participation in real-life situations helps unlock your potential while having fun speaking in the target language.
Students in language learning programs, with the exception of China, sign a pledge to speak entirely in the target language throughout the program. This includes interactions with the leaders, within the group, and with the locals they encounter during the summer. This commitment, combined with an adventurous spirit, is the principal tool for making progress in a foreign language.