The Language Pledge

The unifying feature of the “Middlebury Method” has always been the Language Pledge: a firm commitment by each student to use only the language of the School during the entire session, wherever he or she may be. What distinguishes Middlebury’s language programs from other programs is the opportunity to learn the language by using it on a daily basis with your fellow students and with the faculty and staff. This practice has contributed significantly to the success of the Language Schools, and willingness to maintain the tradition is a measure of each student’s motivation. All students and faculty members live in their language-specific dormitories, and take their meals together with their Language School in the dining hall.

The administration of the School takes the Pledge very seriously, but attempts to be reasonable and evenhanded in its application. On occasion, when a student must use English to communicate with shop clerks, non-language speaking staff of the College, etc., special permission need not be requested, but on each such occasion there must be a legitimate and demonstrable need. We ask only that the interaction be kept as short as possible. Students who may already know people in the college community or the Town of Middlebury who do not speak the target language should avoid their company during the session except for legitimate business reasons. The Director reserves the right to dismiss without credit any student who proves unwilling to abide by the Pledge.

Please notify friends of the Language Pledge, which you will take for the duration of your studies in the Language Schools. You may want to request that they limit their telephone calls, e-mail and other contacts, as appropriate. We do understand the need to communicate with family or work, but we ask that you keep that to a minimum, and in the privacy of your own room.  Family and friends that do not speak the target language should not be brought into the dormitories. You may send and receive essential correspondence in English; however, newspapers, magazines, music, and recordings in English are NOT allowed on campus. Language newspapers will be available in the dormitory, as well satellite TV programming in language.

Language Pledge FAQs

Academic expectations & culture

The Language Schools are intensive and may require that you work harder than you ever have before in an academic setting. In one summer session, you will have completed the equivalent of a full academic year of language study. You will spend full weekday mornings in class, with many additional hours of preparation, homework, and in-language co-curricular activities. When relaxing, you will still be in the company of students, teachers, and staff, where the required means of communication is your language of study.

Language Schools’ students come from a wide variety of institutions and backgrounds both in the United States and abroad, representing a spectrum of ages, interests, and backgrounds as well as varying levels of language proficiency. Middlebury requires all members of the summer community – students, faculty, and staff, whatever their ‘home culture’ to demonstrate mutual respect and tolerance for each other regardless of origin or background. This is essential to creating a community of inclusion with bonds of trust in a supportive context both in and out of the classroom, particularly inside the stressful envelope of learning and living another language and culture.

Tolerance and mutual respect can help tremendously to establish a sense of community within each individual School and across campus. Middlebury encourages, and even demands, cooperation in this realm. Learning represents a communal ef­fort; you should expect to employ your talents to the benefit of fellow students, just as you will benefit from their talents. Middlebury is unique in the opportunity it offers to learn language by speaking it on a daily basis with fellow students and the faculty in a variety of formal and informal contexts.

The Bay Area is lovely in the summer, and there are many attractions in and around Oakland, but please keep in mind that the Language Schools is not a place for vacationing. Keeping up with the pace requires considerable physical, intellectual, and psychological stamina.

Upon arrival, students sign the Language Pledge, promising to speak exclusively in the target language. By adhering to the Pledge, your grasp of both written and spoken language will develop efficiently and effectively. For this reason, the Pledge is strictly enforced. Any student who consistently and will­fully violates it may be asked to withdraw, forfeiting both course credit and tuition refund.

The Language Schools are dedicated to the creation of a serious program for the serious student. Within that framework, we offer myriad opportunities to socialize, interact, and create long-lasting connections and friendships.

Arrival procedures

The Arrival Centers are located at each of the schools main residential halls:

  • Arabic – Warren Olney
  • School of Korean – Ethel Moore
  • Italian – Orchard Meadow

You should plan to arrive during the Arrival Center hours for your program:

  • Friday, June 15, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (8-week: Arabic and School of Korean)
  • Friday, June 22, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (7-week programs: Italian)
  • Friday, June 29, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (6-week graduate programs: Arabic & Italian)

At the Arrival Center, you will check in with your school staff and receive your welcome packet and ID card. You will also receive a room key and parking permit, if you need brought a car with you. Transportation to your dormitory is provided from the Arrival Center.

Please write to the Coordinator of your School if you have an unavoidable and significant time conflict that you know about in advance. Permission to arrive late must be requested in writing and is granted by the Director of your School only when warranted by extraordinary circumstances. There are charges for late placement tests, late registration, and late course changes (see the Special Fees section of the Language Schools Handbook).

If you arrive after the Arrival Center closes for the day, you must check in with the Dept. of Public Safety, located at the Mills Main Gate, 5000 MacArthur Blvd. The Dept. of Public Safety has staff on duty 24 hours a day.

The general business phone number for Mills Public Safety is 510.430.5555. If you do arrive late, you will need to contact your school Coordinator or Bilingual Assistant in order to complete check-in procedures with your School.

If you need to arrive in Mills early, you MUST make arrangements to stay off-campus until your program’s arrival date.

Plan your travel

See “Prepare for your Language School” for departure dates and times specific to your program.

Reserve Air Transportation

The closest airports to Mills College are Oakland (OAK) or San Francisco (SFO).


The Rockridge shuttle leaves from outside the Mills library, near the intersection of Richards Road and Kapiolani Road and is free with a Middlebury at Mills ID.  You must show your ID to ride the shuttle.  The shuttle drops off at the Rockridge Bart station.  Shopping and Trader Joe’s are close by, and a taxi stand is located across the street.  Bart trains run from Rockridge into downtown SF approximately every 20 minutes.  Visit for schedules.

The shuttle runs Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays June 15 through August 10.  A schedule will be included in your Arrival Packet.

Arrival Fridays

On Arrival Fridays – June 15, 22, and 29, the shuttle will run from the Rockridge Bart Station in Oakland to the Mills College Campus.  Middlebury ID is not needed for this service. The shuttle will have the following schedule:

Arrival Fridays-June 15, 22, & 29
Depart Mills Depart Rockridge
10:00AM 10:30AM
11:00AM 11:30AM
12:00PM 12:30PM
1:00PM 1:30PM
3:00PM 3:30PM
4:00PM 4:30PM
6:15PM 6:45PM
7:15PM 7:45PM
8:15PM 8:45PM
9:15PM 9:45PM
10:15PM 10:45PM
11:15PM 11:45PM
12:00AM 12:30AM

If arriving at SFO or OAK, you can easily take the train directly to the Rockridge station.  For schedules, go to 

Public Transportation and Destinations – Bus stop to the right outside Mills gates.

The NL stops at:

  • Laurel District (Limited shops and restaurants, Farmer Joe’s Grocery, shopping closest to Mills)
  • Fruitvale Ave (large Farmer Joe’s Grocery, Safeway Grocery Store)
  • Grand Lake Theatre/Lakeshore (Shops, restaurants. Walking distance to Lake Merritt)
  • 19th BART Station
  • Downtown San Francisco

The 57 stops at:

  • Laurel District
  • Fruitvale Ave
  • Grand Lake Theatre/Lakeshore /Lake Merritt
  • Piedmont Ave (Shops, restaurants)
  • Macarthur BART Station (also Free Emery-Go-Round shuttle to Emeryville shopping district)

The 58L stops at:

  • Laurel District
  • Fruitvale Ave
  • Grand Lake Theatre/Lakeshore/Lake Merritt
  • 12th BART Station
  • Oakland’s Chinatown
  • Jack London Square (Shops, restaurants, Amtrak Station, Concentra Urgent Care Clinic)

For more Public Transit information visit

Friendly Cab 510.536.3000

Campus Maps + Directions to the Mills Campus


As housing assignments are made just before students arrive, we are unable to tell you of your specific rooming assignment before you arrive on campus. You will be informed of your housing assignment the day of your scheduled arrival.

All students live in the assigned residence hall for their School and take their meals exclusively with members of their School. We strive to assign roommates of compatible language ability, age, and personal habits. There is no guarantee that students’ special housing requests can be met, although we will make every effort to accommodate your needs as identified on the rooming card. Some rooms in the Language Schools are doubles, and you should be prepared for a dormitory situation.

Most faculty and staff also live in the dorms and all of them dine regularly with students. They are a dedicated team and they are available and eager to be of assistance to you both in and out of class, at work and at play.  At the same time, it would be unfair for any one student to make unreasonable demands of their time.  Consequently, the Language Schools cannot accommodate requests for special tutoring or individual instruction in work outside the regular curriculum.

As you will be living in relatively close quarters, noise can easily become a problem. We ask that you be respectful of your neighbors’ study and sleep habits.  If you know that you are a particularly sensitive sleeper, please bring appropriate items (such as earplugs and/or white noise machines) to help with your adjustment to living in the dorms.

The College cannot provide housing for members of a student’s family nor may guests be housed on campus.

What to bring to campus

Check here for a list of things you need to bring with you and items that are not permitted.

The weather in California during the summer is usually warm and pleasant during the day, cooler in the evening, but we are likely to experience a week or two of temperatures in the nineties and may drop down in the upper 40’s in the evenings. Attire for the Language Schools tends to be casual, but you may wish to be prepared for a small number of special events requiring nicer clothing for your School (banquets, special events).  A few items you could consider bringing with you to campus are: tennis racquet, yoga mat, soccer cleats and other sporting equipment.

See “Prepare for your Language School” for additional suggested items for your School.


There are laundry rooms in each dorm on campus containing both washers and dryers. Laundry is free on the Mills campus and is not coin or card operated.

If a machine is out of order in your dorm, please have someone in your school contact ASI Campus Laundry, the company that services the machines, directly at 1.888.274.9274 or via their website,  You will need to know the machine ID number (e.g. ABC-123) and the name of the building in which the machine is located.


Schedule and information coming in May.


Please check with your school coordinator in May for more details. In general, all students in 8 and 7-week programs should wait until they have received their official placement before purchasing textbooks. Graduate students should wait until after they have discussed their course selections with the director of their respective school. 


Incoming Mail

Your address during the session will be:

Your Name
[Your Language] School Student
Middlebury at Mills
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 946130972

Due to the short term of the Middlebury at Mills session, it is recommended that you notify individual senders of your temporary address, rather than forwarding all of your mail through the United States Postal Service. Middlebury at Mills students will pick up mail at the Mills College Mail and Copy Center in Rothwell Center. A photo ID is required for all mail and package pick-up.

Mail hours are:

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Please note: The College cannot accept packages that arrive before the beginning of the session. After the end of the session, first-class letters will be forwarded for one month. Magazines, newspapers, and catalogs will be recycled. Packages delivered after the end of the session will be returned to the sender.

Please note: The College cannot accept packages that arrive before the beginning of the session. Only first class mail and packages will be forwarded after your departure from Middlebury for up to a year. Newspapers, magazines, and junk mail will be recycled.

Outgoing Mail

There is a US Mailbox located in Rothwell Center, next to the Tea Shop.

If you require postage, visit the The Mail and Copy Center in Rothwell Center. The Mail and Copy center is also a shipping point for United Parcel Service and Fedex.


Campus Telephone Services

Lucie Stern Room 32, 510.430.3265

We provide one active telephone inside a private phone room in each school’s dormitory building. We maintain the telephone network so you may:

  • Place on-campus calls.
  • Receive incoming calls.
  • Place unlimited toll-free calls and calls to the local calling area.

Local calling area includes Oakland, Alameda and parts of Berkeley. Please note that not all (510) area code numbers are local. A second dial-tone after dialing a number indicates a long-distance number or toll charge, for which a calling card is needed.

If you have any questions or problems with your telephone line or voicemail please call x3265 or e-mail

Fax Services

A fax machine is located in the Mail and Copy Center, Rothwell Center. Mail and Copy Staff will send a fax for a small fee.

Vehicle registration & parking

If you are planning to bring a vehicle to the Mills College campus this summer, parking will be free of charge.  You must request a Mills parking permit upon your arrival at your school’s Arrival Center.  You are allowed to park in any available parking spot, except for the designated reserved spots and/or Handicapped parking, unless permitted to do so.

Language Schools Commencement

Information on Language Schools Commencement, including ordering regalia, for students who will be receiving degrees in summer 2018.

See campus and community resources

Back to Mills campus page.