For High School students: No English? No problem.
Updated On: Jul 09 2013 07:29:11 PM CDT
Right now, the Washington and Lee campus sounds a little different.
Students from all over the state are attending a foreign language immersion camp.
The Virginia Governor's Language Academy is funded completely by the State's Department of Education.
165 kids are improving their speaking skills in the languages they learn in high school by spending three weeks with other students speaking nothing but that language.
If you just listen you might think you were in Germany, Spain or France.
"It's actually really amazing. On the first day the kids hardly say anything and they just look like deer in the headlights and by the end of the first week I think a lot of kids just came out of their shells," said Camp Counselor Mary Kate Smith.
I stayed in my shell, only able to speak what little German I know while interviewing these students.
Admittedly, not too well.
The program celebrates everything from sports, like today's World Cup, to dance to history.
All this while only speaking either German, Spanish or French.
"We discourage the speaking of English. They sign an official affadavit when they first arrive on campus and then we have an official ceremony where they swear and then they sign their name saying they will not speak English," said camp organizer Dick Kuettner.
"They're not allowed to access the internet in English, they're not allowed to listen to music that's in English, they don't talk on the telephone, the only English they use is to write a letter home," Smith said.
The people who run the camp say this all works, saying many students leave the camp fluent in the language they're studying.
For the students whose day starts at 6 A.M. and ends at 10:30 at night, it's something they get very excited about.
I asked Maggie Latimer from Richmond, how she has so much energy,
"Ich Liebe Deutsch! Ich Liebe Deutschland. Ich habe so viele freunde hier."
She said she loves speaking German, she loves Germany, and perhaps most of all, she has made so many friends at the camp.
For organizers: Fantastisch.
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