As part of its educational program, the department operates three small residences—a French, German and Spanish house—each under the leadership of a resident graduate student who is an assistant in the department and a native speaker of the language.
While in residence, students are expected to speak French, German or Spanish exclusively. Some courses are conducted in the houses, and each house holds one cultural activity per semester.
History of Language House Living at Hood
The language house experience has been available to Hood students for more than 70 years. La Maison Française and La Casa Española are on 7th Street behind campus, and Das Deutsche Haus is located on Magnolia Avenue behind Gambrill gymnasium.
Living in a small house, you make close friends, friends for life. [Each] house has its own personality, that of the people who fill it with laughter, talks through the night, friendship, care and support. — Marie Schmitt, French Language Assistant
Each language is spoken at all times in the respective house. Students thus have the opportunity to experience total immersion within the language. Students living in the houses run their meetings in the language, share occasional meals during which the language is spoken, and coordinate activities which enhance their understanding of the respective culture.
Each house has a language assistant who is selected by the global languages and cultures department. The assistants are native speakers who teach conversation classes in the house. In addition, they are responsible for assisting the residents in their efforts to become fluent.
To qualify to live in one of the houses, students must be currently enrolled in a language class at or above the intermediate level (201). Applications are available in the global languages and cultures department, by contacting the Office of Residence Life or downloading the online application.
La Maison Française is a beautiful brick duplex located at Fairview Avenue and 7th Street, one block from campus. It houses a maximum of 12 students in triple, double and single rooms. Two separate living rooms are used for socializing and also as classrooms. Each side of the duplex also has a newly renovated kitchen on the main level and a laundry room in the basement. The French Assistant, a graduate student from France, lives in the house and encourages the residents to speak French.
J’adore le duplex français! We are able to mingle with students who live in the residence halls and the apartments. It’s an actual house that we take pride in by decorating with francophone flags and hosting cultural gatherings (such as the French Club, FREN 105, and the after party venue "Les Chattes Noires").- David McDuffie, International Club Vice President, Class of 2010
Activities that La Maison Française has conducted in the past include crepe brunches, wine and cheese receptions, films, poetry readings, fashion shows and performances of plays.
La Casa Española is a beautiful brick duplex located at Fairview Avenue and 7th Street, one block from campus. It houses a maximum of 12 students in triple, double and single rooms. Two separate living rooms are used for socializing and also as classrooms. Each side of the duplex also has a newly renovated kitchen on the main level and a laundry room in the basement.
Living in the Spanish House ... enables me to develop my verbal skills ... in a supportive environment that is like my second family. — Tina Philip, Class of 2000
Activities that La Casa Española has sponsored in the past years include Spanish dinners, films, guest speakers, poetry readings and performances.