By Amy Allen
BYU students living in the foreign language residences speak in Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, French and Brazilian houses with native speakers – nearly all the time.
They are required to speak the language they are learning at all times when they are within their residences.
Each house has a native resident facilitator who encourages participants to speak their language.
Stacie Long, 21, a senior from Federal Way, Wash., majoring in international studies, said the practice in the residences is beneficial to students.
“In language classes, you don”t get enough experience because you are there with people who know as much as you do,” Long said. “Living here is great because you have people from different countries who will correct you in a comfortable atmosphere.”
Long said living in the language residence helps people learn languages better than participating in study abroad programs.
“Too often with those programs, students stay with their groups and don”t get to know any natives,” Long said. “Here you live with people from different countries and get to know things about their culture.”
Students living in the language residence also attend church in different languages.
Melanie Taylor, 20, a junior majoring in social work from El Paso, Texas, said she enjoys attending church services because Sunday school is in the language you are living.
“Church is fun because you learn vocabulary there that you don”t learn in classes,” Taylor said.
Long said many residents are fluent in several languages and have lived in different language houses.
Dale Jarman, director of the Spanish intensive program, said immersion in a language is essential to learning the language.
Mary Miller, 17, a freshman from Orem, majoring in nursing, said living in total Spanish immersion is difficult at times.
“Sometimes it is hard to always speak your language,” Miller said. “We all really have to try hard and stop ourselves from talking in English.”
Cheryl VanAusdal, secretary for the Foreign Language Student Residence office said students interested in living in the foreign language complex are required to be full-time students and take at least one core language class.
They must also have had two semesters of university level language or the high school equivalent.