“Life becomes so much more colorful and fulfilling when you learn new perspectives in a personal way!”
The idea for a student housing language immersion experience at BYU began in 1977, when the university bought a handful of private homes to convert into student apartments that facilitate language-learning. The Language Immersion Student Residence (LISR) has come a long way since then, but the goal is still the same: let students live a language, not just learn it.
The French House at the LISR has been in operation for decades. Students can live in a French-oriented environment; speaking French in the apartment, eating meals together, watching French films, etc. Beatrice Thurgood and Addison Abel have lived in the LISR French House for several semesters. They explain the impact living at the LISR has had on their French studies.
Q: Has living in the LISR helped you improve your language skills?
Beatrice: “Living at the LISR has, without a doubt, improved my language skills...It certainly has taught me to push through the discomfort of not knowing how to say something. I learn so much from my roommates and the other house members. This experience has helped me to speak more like a native! When I first moved in, one of my roommates was from France, and she helped me learn to word things in a more authentically French way.”
Addison: “Because we must speak French whenever we are in the apartment and whenever we eat dinner together, my language skills have improved immensely. Speaking comes so much easier now, my vocabulary has expanded, and I’m learning to express myself in more of a francophone way rather than just translating from English.”
Q: What are the best things about living at the LISR?
Beatrice: “I’d have to say that the best part about living at the LISR is the multicultural appreciation I’ve gained from my neighbors. Ward prayer is led by a different language house each week, and we hear someone pray in another language. We also get to participate in cultural presentations from the different houses every Sunday, and it has been so fun to eat different foods, learn new games, and practice dances from so many different countries!”
Addison: “A few of the major advantages of living at the LISR are the immersive language experience, making and enjoying good food, earning class credit, [and] making friends that will last a lifetime.”
Q: What recommendations/advice would you give students who are interested in living at the LISR?
Addison: “If I could give you - French Student - some advice, it would be to just do it. Try it out. After trying it out, I decided I would never leave. The fun memories I’ve made with the people I’ve met; I don’t ever want to forget.”
Beatrice: “The best advice I can give to someone moving to the LISR is to be curious. Be curious about how the language works, be curious about the various cultures that contribute to your language and be curious and learn everything you can about your neighbors around you! Life becomes so much more colorful and fulfilling when you learn new perspectives in a personal way!”