Language & Culture
Putney Student Travel offers summer language immersion programs abroad for middle school and high school students in Spain, France, and Ecuador. Our programs emphasize having fun while speaking French or Spanish in real-life situations. Seven decades of experience have taught us that active immersion in local cultures, rather than sitting in a classroom, is what best promotes progress toward foreign language fluency.
Each trip gives students the opportunity to tap into Putney’s broad network of friends and contacts abroad—from farmers to bakers, journalists to hoteliers—as you improve your language skills in practical and dynamic ways. Enhanced foreign language fluency leads to lifelong enrichment and provides the key to increased understanding between cultures.
Our approach to language learning abroad is active and systematic. We encourage students to abandon their inhibitions and their fear of making mistakes. Our trip leaders are fluent in the target language and well traveled in the program destination, and encourage cultural immersion through fun and dynamic exercises they design to help you develop confidence. Low student-to-leader ratios allow for individualized attention and a supportive, non-competitive group atmosphere. Carefully planned summer travel itineraries take students to famous sights, as well as off-the-beaten path areas with better opportunities for authentic immersion in local life and culture.
An immersive language program provides opportunities for middle and high school students to interact with native speakers in more authentic ways than classroom language instruction alone. Throughout your trip, active participation in real-world scenarios helps unlock your potential while allowing you to have fun speaking in the target language. Through homestays or daystays, students become immersed in the local culture and make significant strides toward fluency.
Examples of Immersive Experiences on Putney’s Summer Language Programs
- Learn to make corn tortillas with your homestay family in Ecuador
- Develop Spanish skills while joining locals to lay bricks for a community kitchen
- Practice speaking French as you discuss masterpieces at the Louvre
- Enjoy everyday French family life and culture with your host brothers or sisters
- Play soccer on the beach of Spain’s northern coast with new Spanish friends
- Practice new Spanish vocabulary while shopping at a local market
Participants traveling on our high school and middle school Language programs abroad sign a pledge to speak entirely in the target language throughout the program. This includes interactions with your group leaders, within the group, with homestay or daystay families, and with the local people you encounter during the summer. This commitment, combined with an adventurous spirit, is the principal tool for making progress in a foreign language.
Two years of Spanish or French language study are required for high school language immersion programs, and one year for middle school language programs.
Our trip leaders bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you enjoy the most success on your Putney Language program this summer. We choose leaders fluent in the language of the destination country, and many hold additional degrees that have prepared them for leadership roles abroad, including Global Multicultural Studies, International Education Policy and Management, International Relations, Communications, Teaching French as a Foreign Language (TFFL), and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). When they’re not traveling on a Putney Language program, many of our leaders work full-time in related fields, including as advisors to foreign exchange students, and as French or Spanish instructors in middle- or high school language programs. All have extensive experience in international travel and living. Click here to meet our leaders.
You’ll return home with a heightened awareness of the culture in your destination country, and improved proficiency in speaking the language.
Sign a pledge to speak in the target language throughout your experience. This commitment, combined with an adventurous spirit, is the principal tool for making progress and improving fluency in a foreign language.
Through homestays or daystays, students become immersed in the local culture and make significant strides toward fluency.
“In terms of comprehension, Neely has arrived at the point where she understands the language without the need to first translate in her head. She has also gained a greater sense of independence and self-confidence.”
— Lisa Y., New York, NY