Watch CLS students explain it in their own words.
Summer Language 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.
Professional Language Training
I am so thrilled CLS is offering this [Professional Language Training] course. I was nervous to enroll because I hadn’t spoken Russian in years, but it has come back with Olga’s guidance and emphasis on speaking in Russian.
After two semesters, I feel a lot more confident in my Russian comprehension, speaking, and writing ability. I often refer to class as “Russian book club,” as it is more than simply a language course. We have read two completely engrossing Russian novellas, which serve as gateways to Russian history, culture, social nuances, and more.
This couldn’t happen without Olga’s deep understanding of both cultures - she astutely knows when her American students require cultural context, and facilitates discourse on these topics, and many more. I am already looking forward to next semester.
Many of us fell in love with language learning during our time at Beloit and beyond. The evening professional programs offered by CLS have allowed me to fulfill the desire to practice and continue learning years later for both personal pleasure and professional opportunities.
The classes this year reflected the level where the students in the group were at the outset, which for some of us was quite rusty, and then blended cultural history, current events, and language lessons to clear away the cobwebs. Our culture and literature class was conducted almost entirely in Russian, but it only took a few sessions to get up to speed and to begin feeling comfortable interacting in the virtual classroom.
If you want a refresher course that not only reviews crucial grammar and usage, but also provides you a comfortable space in which to use the language in a natural way, these classes are a great option.