Frequently Asked Questions

The APTLII Experience

  • What is an immersion program?

    In addition to spending most of the day in class (4.5 contact hours, Monday through Friday), students and staff continue to use their language of study outside of class in their daily activities around campus, at meals, and in the residence hall. Communication in English (or any language other than the one you are studying that summer) is forbidden except in a few specified circumstances. First-year language students follow a modified protocol that allows the minor use of English at the beginning of the program. For students at all levels, the first couple of weeks can be a difficult transition. However, by committing yourself to using the target language for the entire program, you will soon begin to make dramatic progress as compared to regular classes. The combination of intensive classroom study along with opportunities to apply and internalize these lessons in your daily interactions is what sets APTLII apart from most other summer language courses.

  • How many contact hours are provided over the course of the summer?

    The Institute is a nearly-24/7 immersion program. Each 8-week course provides a minimum of 180 contact hours in the classroom.

  • When should I arrive? When will I leave?

    Detailed information about arrival and departure dates will be included in your admission materials.

    For summer 2019, beginning students should plan to arrive on campus on Tuesday, June 11, as classes will begin on Wednesday, June 12. Non-beginner students should plan to arrive by 5:00pm on Saturday, June 15. If you are unable to arrive by that time, please contact the APTLII Coordinator to make arrangements.

    The closing banquet for APTLII will take place on August 9, ending around 3:00pm. Students can choose to leave either the evening of August 9, or the morning of August 10. All students must check out of the residence hall by Saturday at 1:00pm. Please note that there will not be dinner service following the closing banquet, so participants will be expected to provide their own meal if needed. Brunch will be served on Saturday, August 10 to all those who are still in the dorms at that time.

  • Where will I live and eat?

    All students live together in university housing. If you know another APTLII student in your same language you can request to be roommates by contacting the APTLII office. Food service is provided through a combination of University cafeteria and catered meals. For more details please consult the Student Info page.

  • I have dietary restrictions (vegan, kosher, etc.) – will APTLII be able to accommodate them?

    Please inform the APTLII Coordinator after you have been accepted so we can let University Housing know about any student dietary restrictions.

  • May I bring a car to campus?

    You may, but please be aware that hourly parking on and around the UW-Madison campus is extremely limited and expensive. A better option is to buy a summer parking permit – these must be purchased in advance from UW Transportation Services. Forms will be posted to apply for this parking in April. Your permit will be mailed to you prior to arriving in Madison. If you do not purchase a permit in advance, Transportation Services cannot guarantee there will be any spaces left.

  • How difficult is APTLII, really?

    APTLII is an intensely challenging academic experience. Covering a year’s worth of course material in 8 weeks means that you are in class for over 4 hours each day, and should expect to spend at least an additional 4 hours daily outside of class practicing what you have learned (including vocabulary review and homework assignments). The instructors will also lead cultural, language, and recreational activities nearly every afternoon or evening. You will not have a great deal of free time. However, if you take advantage of the immersion environment you will be amazed at how far you progress in the language.

Application and Admission

Restrictions and Exceptions

  • Are there any exceptions to the requirement that I only communicate in my target language?

    Students to use their “screens” (computer, smartphone, etc) to check email/Facebook/etc after class until 4pm- however speaking English is still forbidden during this time. On Fridays, beginning after class, all students are free to take a “break” from their target language.

    In general, English is allowed in emergency situations, urgent family matters, medical/psychological/health matters, financial/administrative matters, religious observances, private consultations with Institute staff, and polite social greetings or brief but necessary exchanges with individuals outside the program (cashiers, wait staff, Housing staff, etc). The APTLII policies describe the language commitment and other expectations for all participants.

  • May I keep in contact with my parents/spouse/significant other, etc?

    Yes, we expect that from time to time you will need to use English to discuss urgent personal business. Furthermore, we understand that it is important to stay in contact with your family over the 8-week session. However, we ask that you keep in mind the philosophy of language immersion and try to keep such contacts to the absolute minimum that is acceptable to you. In all cases, make your phone calls behind closed doors and/or away from other students.

  • May I browse English-language sites on the Internet, read English books, watch English movies/TV, or listen to English-language music?

    No, these are all examples of using English that break the immersion experience. (Did you know you can change your Facebook language?)

    If you’re looking for music in your target language, take a look into Spotify’s playlists! They have a 90’s Arabic Hits, Turkish Pop, and Persian Music playlists, which are just some examples (please note: songs have not been reviewed by the APTLII team).

  • May my spouse or other family members live with me?

    No, our facilities are not equipped to accommodate families.

  • May I have friends or family visit me during the summer?

    In general, that would not be allowed unless they speak your target language.

  • May I leave Madison on the weekends?

    In most cases, you will not be given permission to leave if it would involve breaking your commitment to using your target language. However, with the permission of the APTLII Director rare exceptions can be made for important job or family-related events. Within the program, there will be activities on the weekends (both in and outside of Madison), and it is possible for students and staff to arrange small-group excursions if you feel like getting off campus. You will also find that the pace of the classes requires you to spend a lot of time on homework.

  • May I leave campus for a few hours to run errands?

    Yes. As always, we ask that you keep your use of (and exposure to) English at an absolute minimum when you are away from the program.