Working in the military if you seek to learn a second language, or to become an interpreter and proficient in a language other than English, then you will likely be headed for the Defense Language School. The DLS School for languages is located in Monterey, California and it is the premier educational training school in the military for learning a foreign language. They have a proven track record second to none, and they conduct training in over twenty different foreign languages. They train personnel from every branch of the service, as well as linguists for use as liaison type jobs in nearly every Federal Agency you can think of.
The Defense Language Institute is a total immersion educational facility. Students work very hard and study their language, conversing in it and going through hours of study every day. Exercises are held in conversational language, and students converse both in class and during their day in their chosen language. Each language that is taught has a different set of instructors, and the instructors are native speakers, each speaks the language they instruct as their native tongue, and English would be the second language for each of the instructors. Working and studying at the Defense Language Institute is not a cakewalk, it is very intense and hard study. The language considered the most difficult is Arabic, but any language that is learned as a second language is difficult. Students study for many hours in the classroom every day, and they average at least two hours a night of homework. Even weekends are devoted to study, and students can be heard working in small groups, practicing their conversational language skills long into the evening every night.
The selection process is very competitive. Studying at the Defense Language Institute is difficult but seen as a plumb assignment, a method of gaining key language skills. Despite the competition, the level and intensity of the school remains challenging. Nearly one third of students that start the program each year cannot handle the pressure or the material, and they are quietly dis enrolled and sent back to their previous duty locations to resume their previous jobs.
The instructors at the Defense Language Institute have almost without exception been at their posts for decades. It is their commitment and long-term loyalty to the program, which has led to the excellent of the institute.