About 65% of BYU students speak a second language, according to U.S. News, and one campus housing program allows BYU students to practice their language skills.
The Language Immersion Student Residences offer 10 languages.
These languages include Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and American Sign Language. Students are expected to communicate in their designated apartment language as much as possible.
BYU Junior Bianca Pizorno said living here takes humility.
“If you’re not able to accept correction then it’s probably not the place for you. But if you’re really wanting to improve your language skills … it’s a really good environment,” Pizorno said.
Pizorno lives in the Russian house and said immersion helps her improve her vocabulary and do better in her language coursework.
The program requires students to attend dinner four days a week with the other students assigned to their same language. They said this helps them feel more like a family. There is a native speaker assigned to each apartment to help students learn.
Brooke Freeman has lived in the LISR for two years, first in the French house and now in the Italian house.
“I love language learning and getting to use the languages that I speak and so this is the perfect opportunity to do that,” Freeman said. “It’s a wonderful community. I think that’s what has kept me here above anything else,” Freeman said.
According to Freeman, students are self-motivated and help each other stay accountable in learning. Students said studying language and culture means they automatically have something in common.
“It’s kind of nice that even with all the different backgrounds, like the language is what bonds us together,” Addison Abel, a student in the French house, said.
The LISR program director, Hans Kelling, shared he is always impressed by the progress LISR participants make in both speaking proficiency and cultural understanding.
The LISR program is just one thing that makes BYU one of the top colleges in the nation for language learning.