The History of Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
The Defense Language Institute (DLI) is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) educational and research institution consisting of two separate entities which provide linguistic and cultural instruction to the Department of Defense, other Federal Agencies and numerous customers around the world. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) traces its roots to the eve of America's entry into World War II, when the U.S. Army established a secret school at the Presidio of San Francisco to teach the Japanese language. Classes began 1 November 1941, with four instructors and 60 students in an abandoned airplane hangar at Crissy Field.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center is a multi-service school for active and reserve components, foreign military students, and civilian personnel working in the federal government and various law enforcement agencies. The present facilities at the Presidio of Monterey accommodate approximately 3,500 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen, as well as select Department of Defense and State members. To attend DLIFLC one must be a member of the Armed Forces or be sponsored by a government agency.
To further advance student knowledge in a particular language, DLIFLC has designed an immersion program which consists of an offsite facility where students spend from one to two days in an isolated environment with their instructors and are not allowed to speak English. The facility is equipped with kitchens and sleeping quarters, while the program consists of real-world exercises, from bargaining for food and clothing at a market place, to going through customs, or making hotel reservations. DLIFLC also sends a number of students on 30-day in-country immersions to countries as far away as Korea and Morocco.
Non-resident, or post-basic instruction primarily takes place in the Continuing Education (CE) directorate, which is located near the Presidio at Ord Military Community in Seaside, Calif. Intermediate, advanced and refresher courses are conducted at this facility. DLIFLC also maintains Language Training Detachments sites at more than two dozen locations abroad and at home. Instructors at these locations are by and large from DLIFLC’s Monterey home base.
Life in Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
Though students spend a lot of time studying, they still find time to volunteer. DLIFLC is proud of its students’ community involvement that involves cleaning up local beaches, taking part in the Monterey Special Olympics, and helping disabled veterans partake in the annual Wheelchair Salmon Derby.