Prepare for Level 1

For the Beginner Student: How to Prepare

The Middlebury Chinese School is an eight-week intensive and immersive residential language learning program on the campus of Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. The more you know and can do in Chinese before the program begins will allow you to more quickly jump into active learning.

The following resources are recommended to the beginner student to jump-start their Middlebury Chinese School experience and language learning. The more time you spend getting to know our Chinese prior to the session, the faster you will be able to understand and speak in your new language once the session begins.


Learn Daily Greetings

Learn Common Classroom Expressions

Learn Pinyin

Online Resources

Chinese Romanization

Survival Chinese

Useful phrases


Pleco Dictionary —


Learn from Others
Please read the article linked below in which a Level 1 student from a previous session shares her experience and tips for surviving the Language Pledge.


Setting Up Your Keyboard

Most computers have the built-in functionality to type in Chinese using a pinyin input system. Essentially, you add Chinese as a language/keyboard and then just type the pronunciation of each word in pinyin, and the characters show up in a drop-down menu with the most common character at the top.

For more details on set up for your device, see:

Instructions for Apple devices

Instructions for Windows devices

Make sure you do not change the computer’s “system language” into Chinese unless you want EVERYTHING in Chinese! It often asks you this question after adding a new input system, so read carefully as options pop up.

Once you have the input for Chinese added to your computer, you can switch between languages in the upper right corner (Macs) or lower right corner (Windows) by clicking on the flag symbol (Macs) or language abbreviations “ENG” or “CHN” (Windows).

For Windows 10, the pinyin input comes with both Traditional and Simplified. You can switch between the two with ctrl + shift + F.