Impact Statements

Catch up with MEDLI alumni and hear how MEDLI shaped their professional trajectories.

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“When I heard that [MEDLI] APTLI was going to be online the summer of 2020 I was a little nervous. I had set high goals for myself going into the summer, hoping to improve to an advanced low on my OPIs, and I was worried from other online class experiences that I wouldn’t grow nearly as much as I would in an in-person class. Needless to say, I was fortunate to be wrong. The professor kept attention (and morale) up by keeping the day dynamic, and his enthusiasm definitely helped convince me to stay invested in the class. The class was organized not like an in-person class forced online, but an online class geared for the situation, which helped things from feeling off-beat. In particular, the use of online breakout rooms offered more opportunities for direct peer to peer Arabic practice not possible with in-person instruction. It was also a great way to get to know our classmates better and decompress from more intensive lessons. Some of my favorite highlights from the program were simply getting to talk to students from all over the country in these breakout sessions. What more, whether watching films or cooking Yemeni foods as a class the program still offered a host of cultural activities that took advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by online instruction. While online intensive learning was certainly a change from the sort of instruction I was used to, I was still able to meet my language goal of improving to advanced low while also making some quality friendships.”

Gordon Goodwin
Arabic Student, [MEDLI] APTLI Alum, 2021 WISLI Student Conference Presenter

“I thought it was a very helpful classroom experience. I came into this program knowing very little Arabic and I am amazed by how much I learned.”

“I personally believe Fatemeh has a system of teaching with enthusiasm that is transmitted to the students. That is important!”

“I enjoyed the trip to the Oriental Institute because after 2 months of learning Arabic and Arabic culture, I was able to see these artifacts in a new perspective.”

“This summer, I began learning the Turkish language under the instruction of Dr. Chi (Oğuz). Coming in, I had no prior Turkish learning experience, so it was incredible to see how much I gained through this intensive virtual program. In my elementary Turkish classes, my professor immersed us in the target language through increasingly complex role play, listening, and conversation activities. The highlight of my week was integrating the new concepts and words I learned through class into my twice weekly language partner conversation sessions! Next year, I anticipate continuing my Turkish studies through [MEDLI] APTLI, and I likewise hope to put my new language skills into practice in my future work!”

Abigail Aycock
Elementary Turkish Student

“Everything! I have never had a better teacher. Ever. Anyone who has Salah as a teacher is blessed. I’m not even quite sure I can convey how much I loved having him as an instructor. I have never had a teacher who has cared so much about my well-being and I can’t remember ever meeting anyone so innately talented at putting people at ease. In terms of his teaching “exceedingly stellar” is a gross understatement. Rehire him. That comes from my heart. Salah Algabli is a gift to humanity.”

Student blog project by Amanda Fatemi-Badi

I applied to [MEDLI] APTLI because I knew I wanted to give myself the best chance of learning Persian. As a heritage learner, I had spent years dabbling with Rosetta Stone on and off, hopefully searching for classes throughout my undergrad and graduate careers only to see Persian was either not offered, or the classes offered would be cancelled every semester for lack of enrollment. When I finally stumbled across a link to MEDLI, I saw the 8-week summer intensive program offered in Madison as the ideal option, the one I’d been looking for without knowing it.

Though I could tell from the website that the course would be challenging—4 hours a day of class 5 days a week plus homework, extra events, and activities!—I didn’t really know what to expect from the whole experience. I’d never been to Madison before, or even the Midwest, and I didn’t really know what 4 hours of language instruction a day would feel like. I assumed it would be hard, a summer of studying in the library and trying to remember what a past participle is.

And it is hard—4 hours of language instruction is 4 hours of paying close attention. It’s more active learning than I’d ever experienced before. It’s also more rewarding, with more information being absorbed at a quicker pace. Being self-motivated to do the work is important to keep up and not fall behind. It’s exhausting, to be honest—but luckily Madison turned out to be the perfect place to spend a strenuous summer!

After class you can head to the terrace at Memorial Union, sit in a shady spot and watch the lake—full of sailboats, kayaks, and windsurfers—and maybe eat some cheese curds until you feel ready to tackle homework. If the breeze off the lake is too strong for your flash cards, there’s also a seemingly unending number of libraries to study in. Memorial Library is my personal favorite because of the many food carts parked outside for study snacking.

Madison is also an incredibly walkable and bikable city, in addition to having a great public bus system (free to students!), so if you’re feeling restless after a morning of learning, a long walk down State Street and around the Capital (if you want people watching and shopping) or down the lakeshore (if you can’t get enough of staring at that giant lake) is always a great post-class activity.

If you have the energy, [MEDLI] APTLI offers extra events—movie screenings, lectures, dance workshops, etc.—that help fill up your free time and add more opportunities to meet other students and practice your language skills. The student conference is particularly great, as you’ll get to hear about the research interests of your classmates across all for the languages offered during the summer programs.

Madison offers a lot of extra events too, mostly situated around the nearby Capital Square—a Saturday Farmer’s Market, weekly outdoor public concerts, a weekend art fair, a comedy club and multiple venues for more music. If you get tired of everything the Capital has to offer, exploring in any other direction from the campus you’ll find more restaurants, cafés, bookstores, shops, and parks.

While I don’t think there’s any way to fully prepare for how challenging the program is, you should know that 8 weeks in Madison with [MEDLI] APTLI will be full—full of learning, meeting new people, gazing at the lake, attending events, and enjoying a city with way more to offer than you’ll have time to see. Luckily there’s always another level or another language to learn next summer!

Student blog project by an Advanced Turkish student

Pre-Course Thoughts                                                                                                                                                   

Whether for academic enrichment or personal growth, I recommend spending a summer consumed with an intensive language course. Yaz dili programları tavsiye ediyorum.

Since this was not my first or even second intensive language experience, I knew what to expect; however, the comfort of that statement was extremely limited before the end of the first day. Each of the last two summers I participated in first-and-second-year intensive Turkish through another university; however, since both of those experiences were entirely online, moving to an in person environment was an adjustment. Since I am not a student year-round, establishing a routine to find success in the classroom was necessary. Sınıfta başarı bulunacaksınız

Prior to the close of the first week, non-beginning level students took an oral proficiency interview (OPI), a one-on-one phone interview with a native speaker to assess your ability. This was my third OPI test and this time I scored an intermediate high level. Take the result with a grain of salt, however since some of the questions are routine and a speaking assessment, it is not a good judge of someone’s overall knowledge of a language.

In the Classroom                                                                                                                  

Language learning consists of four categories: listening (the hardest for me), speaking (arguably most important), reading and writing (my strength if I had to choose though my classmates would likely cringe at reading this). Dinleme, konuşma, okuma, yazma

Regular activities included watching and listening to video and audio clips to practice and assess listening and conversation skills incorporrating newly learned vocabulary. We also read many articles within (and outside of) our required textbooks (Yeni Ders Kitabı, Yeni Çalışma Kitabı, B2).  From these readings and of our own choice came many writing assignments of different styles (argumentative, opinion, comparison, narrative, etc.). Expect most of your in class exercises to be done with a partner or as a whole class. Çok yeni kelimeler birlikte öğrenceksiniz

Extracurricular Activities

For students of all languages in the summer programs, weekly activities are offered. Examples include, cooking, music and/or dance activities. A weekly Turkish film series and conversation hour to practice speaking with other students outside of your normal classroom setting were also popular choices.     Dans edeceksiniz, müzik dinleyeceksiniz, filmler izleyeceksiniz ve Türk yemek pişireceksiniz


Unexpectedly, my class had a change of instructor in week six; despite this adjustment, the change of teaching style worked better for me. With a small class unable to always cater to the level of each student made for an often challenging class. I think there is always an opportunity to learn even if you are waiting for others to catch up. The university has a lot of resources and I found the staff to be accommodating and helpful as needed, so speak up with any questions, concerns or the like.

Lastly, while I am glad I decided to spend my last few summers consumed by Turkish, it is important to remember that it is challenging and frustrating at times. It does not take long to feel overwhelmed as the last two years have been difficult to say the least. This summer, with two heritage speakers in a class of only four, I often felt out of place since I had so much trouble understanding much of what they said. I do not think I was ready for this class as my vocabulary and grammatical understanding is simply not high enough. In conclusion, I still recommend taking on the challenge of learning a new language, but believe each student should make an honest self-assessment in advance in order to determine the advantageous level for their ability and potential.                                              Herkes Türkçe öğrenmek hoş geldiniz