Flexible and Supporting Program
When I came to CLS Beloit in the summer of 2019, my Russian was very rough. I had taken many breaks in my language learning and had only recently resolved to add Russian as a second major toward my BA degree. I had one semester left of school and needed to get up to speed.
I am so happy I chose CLS to help me in this endeavor. Not only did it whip my Russian into shape, it restored in me the excitement I’d felt about the language when I first began studying it on my own. Although its rigor is a well-known and positive attribute of the CLS program, I think the quality instruction and the ardor with which it is delivered are its best attributes. My teachers met me where I was at. They never put unrealistic demands on me and I didn’t feel pressured to flawlessly perform. Mistakes were encouraged, laughter was customary, and our language was expanded, all in a spirit of camaraderie and взаимопонимание, that is, mutual understanding.
Prior to CLS Beloit, I did not feel like I had the language skills necessary for a fulfilling visit to Russia. After participating in the program, I had not only the language ability, but the confidence to give it a go in-country. Right after my December graduation, I flew to Moscow and had a jam-packed adventure. I met interesting people, went ice skating on the Red Square and gallivanting in the woods on Maslenitsa, and took a side trip to Perm to meet the friend of one of my CLS teachers. Due to COVID-19, my trip, which I was hoping to extend through the summer, got cut short. Disappointed that I had to leave just when I felt I was reaching a milestone in my language acquisition, I sought a way to keep my practice up. Because I’d had a great time with CLS the summer before, I did not take long to settle on this option a second time.
I was not surprised to find that the people at CLS had skillfully adapted to a virtual format and the program proceeded with the same rigor and high standards as when carried out on-site. My teachers did subtle but meaningful things like starting and ending each lesson at the screen mode where we could all see one another and allowing oral evaluations to become more interactive and collaborative. I was pleased with the group of students I was a part of and bonded with them easily despite the distance. I was thrilled and surprised to discover a package of goodies in the mail from CLS a couple weeks in; some tangible materials to supplement the cultural portion of the program.
But, most importantly, I was once again in the company of caring, experienced teachers exuding patience and sharing joy. I am proud to recommend CLS Beloit to anyone looking to get excited about and skilled at their language of choice.