U.S. Air Force Defense Language Institute


When studying Mandarin here at the
Defense Language Institute, we often say: (speaks mandarin) which means the best way to understand the world is
through language. We’re currently at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey,
California, and this is where all the language training happens for all five
branches of the United States military. What our students learn here will be so
important to their future career and to the Air Force mission for so many
different reasons.Ffirst and foremost is they are an essential part of our
national defense. Without our linguist, there’s so much information out there
that we just wouldn’t have access to. The way that I learn a language best, and I
feel that most people learn it best, is by speaking the language. So when I walk into
class I’m supposed to speak only in Pashu for as long as I can. We try to
encourage total immersion while they’re in the classroom so at a certain point
they speak only the target language. I remember the first day of class we had
this teacher usher us down the hallway running off as fast as she could
in Korean and none of us understood a word of it. Our goal here is that ideally you would
become so immersed in the language that it would become difficult to distinguish
between which one is your native language. As time progresses we’re
getting to the point where we can have full-on conversations about like the
election edges happening to South Korea. The idea behind us is that every student
needs to experience what it’s actually like to not just use the language but to
consider all the cultural backgrounds, history, and what the needs and the ones
that these people they’re communicating with are. If you don’t understand the
culture and the history it’s easy to misinterpret data. So the language that
I’m currently studying is Korean, and I am eight weeks out from taking the DLPT,
which is the Defense Language Proficiency Test which determines if I
get to proceed in my training and move on to my future job.
My advice for anybody who comes to the Defense Language Institute to study a
foreign language is


  1. Will be going to the DLI soon. My grandmother used to teach Russian there, and my family speaks Russian at home. I don't speak it but can understand a good majority of it. I've heard that often the Air Force will not let you pick your language and will decide for you depending on there needs. Anybody have any advice on how to possibly ensure I get Russian when I go? Or at least make it as likely as possible that I will get it. I have a 99 ASVAB and 123 DLAB

  2. I wouldn’t mind learning Russian, also because I want to extend into cyber field, or vise versa. Is Russian one of the languages “more important” to learn? Or an important language to the military?

  3. In 1996 I enlisted in the USAF became a student at DLI learning Russian. The experience of the AFSC and being an Air Force Airman has propelled me through life. I am now a doctor and I still use the language daily with my patients. Thank you DLI & USAF!

  4. 1:02 "점심 포함되는 아주 좋은 패키지입니다."
    So on top of everything else they said about this place, it's a very good package that includes lunch? Sign me the hell up!

  5. If I speak the language assigned to me, should I make it known? I would love to learn another language but also perfect my second language to a native level.


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