By Luciana Loureiro
When it comes to learning a foreign language, adapting to a different culture and making new friends, it is no longer necessary to leave the country.
Rubia Fagundes, Angie Smith and Rachael Ladd are just a few of the 138 BYU students who are experiencing the uniqueness of BYU Foreign Language Student Residence.
“It”s a great place to live because you learn the language, make friends and also develop skills such as cooking,” said Fagundes, who lives in the Spanish House.
Fagundes, a BYU graduate student studying Luso-Brazilian, said living at the FLSR has been one of her best BYU experiences.
“My Spanish skills not only have improved, but also I feel more culturally enhanced,” she said.
Jeannie Welch, FLSR director, said they have 25 apartments in which nine languages are currently offered: Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic.
Welch said every apartment has six students with one being a native speaker. They use the word “house” to refer to a community of apartments for students trying to learn a specific language.
The students are required to eat together five nights a week, Sunday through Thursday, with all who are trying to learn the same language.
Welch said the students get well acquainted with each other, and it is common to see a level of friendship that rarely occurs in other apartment complexes.
“Because they are united in their academic goal, it changes the nature of their relationship,” she said.
Angie Smith, 21, is an English major who is currently living in the French House. She said she loves the atmosphere and also has improved her French skills.
“Taking classes you learn how to read and write the language really well, but you don”t speak and understand as much,” she said. “So it”s been so good for my speaking and listening comprehension skills to live here.”
Brittany Felt, a student majoring in Japanese, said living in the Japanese House has improved her fluency. The language becomes automatic, she said.
Just like Felt, Amanda Eccles, a linguistics major living at the Chinese House, said her language skills have improved “immensely.”
“You”re comfortable with natives because you live with one,” she said. “You get wonderful clips of their culture, and you get to practice the language.”
Rachael Ladd, majoring in Middle Eastern studies lives at the Arabic House and said not only is she learning the culture and language, but it”s also a great place to socialize.
Not only do students consider the FLSR a fun place but also a spiritual environment, said Jamie Relei, a student living in the Italian House.
“I”ve never been around so many incredible, amazing and talented people,” she said. “It just makes you want to raise the bar. It is the most spiritual ward I”ve ever been to.”