Frequently Asked Questions
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. In general, non-beginner students must arrive on Saturday to check in to the residence hall before orientation begins. Early arrivals are not allowed. Some languages offer a pre-program workshop for beginning students that starts earlier in the week. All students are allowed to depart after the closing banquet on the last Friday, and must check out of the residence hall by Saturday at 1pm.
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 meals, catered meals, and group excursions to local restaurants. 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 for $180 from UW Transportation using this form. 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.
I am not a UW-Madison student, can I still apply?
Yes, the program is open to anyone 18 years of age and over, as well as high school students in some cases. The application process is the same for all applicants, although international students will need to obtain a student (F-1) visa because our program exceeds the amount of instruction that is allowed on a tourist visa.
I am not a UW-Madison student. Will I receive credit for the summer courses at my college or university?
You must discuss transfer credit with your home institution. APTLII is the equivalent of two semesters of language study. You will receive academic credits from UW-Madison and can request an official transcript to give to the Registrar at your home institution. APTLII and UW-Madison have no control over the transfer process back at your home institution.
I am not a student at any institution, can I still apply?
Yes, APTLII is open to professionals and those who are no longer in school. When you apply to APTLII, you will become a student at UW-Madison for the duration of the program.
Do you offer any scholarships or financial aid?
APTLII does not offer financial aid directly. You are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships through your home institution (if available) or at flas.wisc.edu, be sure to contact the appropriate Center that offers FLAS for your language and regional focus. Check with your home institution about scholarships that could be used for summer or off-campus programs. Financial aid, such as student loans or grants, is processed by your home institution since you will not be a degree-seeking student at UW-Madison.
ROTC students (from UW-Madison or other campuses nationwide) are eligible to apply for Project GO funding to study either Arabic or Turkish at APTLII. For fellowship details and application instructions contact Project GOat UW-Madison directly.
Who should fill out my recommendation forms? What if I have never studied this language before?
The first letter should come from your current Arabic/Persian/Turkish instructor. Applicants with no background in their target language are encouraged to have a teacher of another foreign language submit one of the letters.
For all applicants, the second letter and recommendation form should come from someone who is qualified to discuss your current academic progress. Educators and professionals may request letters from someone qualified to give an appraisal of your work habits, etc.
When is the deadline to apply?
All applications must be received and complete (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application fee) by May 5. Potential applicants who miss the May 5 deadline should contact us to see if there is space on a waitlist before applying.
Is there an application fee?
Yes, however, the fee is waived for early applications. Beginning January 1 the fee is $25.
When will I find out if I have been accepted?
That depends on when you apply and how many applications we receive for each language & level. Only completed applications (including all transcripts and letters of recommendation) will be reviewed for admission. We typically begin admitting students on a rolling basis in late winter to early spring.
If I am accepted, how soon do I need to confirm that I will attend?
You must confirm your decision to participate in APTLII within 3 weeks of receipt of your acceptance letter, by making a $250 non-refundable deposit towards your room & board fee. After 3 weeks, we cannot guarantee that we will hold your space if other applicants are waiting. Contact the APTLII Coordinator if you will not be able to confirm within this timeframe.
What is the minimum age requirement?
You must be at least 18 years old at the start of APTLII in order to attend due to the residential component of the program.
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?)
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.