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Spanish immersion house opens Fall 2014

Department: Office of the Dean

Date Posted: April 1, 2014

Announcement Details


University students often travel abroad to immerse themselves in another country's language and culture for a year or a semester, and soon a similar experience will be available “in house” right here on campus at UC Irvine.

Beginning Fall 2014, the School of Humanities will launch La Casa Nuestra — an on-campus living-learning residence designed for students seeking a way to study the Spanish language and culture in an immersed environment.

Located in the Arroyo Vista community, La Casa Nuestra will provide residents with 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.

House residents will sign a “language pledge” that they will interact in Spanish only, so as to promote a maximally natural and effective learning environment. The in-house pledge will be supported by in-house Spanish language courses (at various levels) and conversational Spanish instruction.

In-house cultural activities such as Spanish and Latin American cinema, musical events, and literary readings will bring opportunities to interact with Spanish-speaking UCI faculty.

At present, 18 spaces are available in the house. It is open to all undergraduate students—native and non-native speakers—with 2-3 years of high school Spanish or one year of college Spanish. It is open to all UCI students, and thus not restricted to Spanish majors and minors.

Students will commit to live in La Casa Nuestra for a full academic year. After one year they can chose to stay there as long as they are at UC Irvine. This guaranteed housing is one of the perks of signing the language pledge. Housing costs will be affordable and students will have the option to live there as long as they are at UCI (there is a two-year cap on all other student housing). The approximate cost is $650/student per month (housing only).

The goal is to help residents feel ownership in the house, create their own enthusiasm and guide them so they can become fluent in the Spanish language and culture.

The student response to the La Casa Nuestra has been excellent. The UC Irvine Housing Office reports that there has been a lot of interest in La Casa Nuestra and that the 18 beds will easily fill.

Valeria Segura is a sophomore, planning to double major in Psychology and Social Behavior, is one of the students signed up to live in La Casa Nuestra in the fall.

“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.

It is also hoped that La Casa Nuestra will be a way to bridge the cultural gap for the wider Latino community in Orange County as first generation family members arrive on campus.

La Casa Nuestra is supported by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Arroyo Vista Housing. For more information contact Arroyo Vista Housing at (949) 824-3900 or avoffice@uci.edu.