Opening of La Casa Nuestra - an innovative and immersive Spanish language residence
La Casa Nuestra – an innovative Spanish language program at UC Irvine – will be launched this week. La Casa Nuestra is an on-campus living-learning residence designed for students seeking a way to study the Spanish language and culture in an immersed environment. To that end, participating in-residence students have signed a pledge to hablar español (“Spanish only”) on a daily basis, as long as they are “at home” at La Casa Nuestra.
Located in the Arroyo Vista community, the 18 residents of La Casa Nuestra will receive a unique and exciting opportunity to practice and improve their Spanish in their daily living, and to explore many aspects of the vibrant cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. For this Fall, special social activities are planned, including a resident-hosted potluck dinner open to Spanish faculty and friends of the Department, as well as film evenings featuring movies from around the Hispanic world. To make the stay in the house academically maximally inviting, conversational Spanish instruction will also be provided (enrollment is optional, and also open to UCI students who do not live at La Casa Nuestra).
The 18 participating students — a full house for now— have committed to live in La Casa Nuestra for a full academic year. After one year, students can chose to live there for the duration of their studies at UC Irvine - one of the many perks of signing this language pledge. Housing costs are affordable (approximately $650/student per month, housing only), and the proximity to the UCI campus a definite plus.
If successful, La Casa Nuestra is expected to expand in 2015/2016 so as to allow greater student participation. This year, the majority of the participants are bilingual Spanish/English speakers; the language level is, however, not meant to be an obstacle, as 1 year of college Spanish is sufficient to participate. Naturally, the relatively high number of fluent Spanish speakers is an attractive feature for non-natives, as it will help them improve their language skills quite dramatically.
Valeria Segura is a sophomore, planning to major in Psychology and Social Behavior, is one of the students living in La Casa Nuestra. “La Casa Nuestra gives me and other Spanish speaking students the opportunity to interact with each other and learn more about the Spanish language in a fun, interactive, and creative way,” Segura said.
Students interested in joining La Casa Nuestra in the future should contact the Arroyo Vista Housing Office. For more information on how to support or sponsor events for La Casa Nuestra, please contact Nicole Balsamo, Director of Development for the School of Humanities.