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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

Language House: Fostering diversity, community, and growth at UMD

Written by: Emely Gonzalez 🇸🇻

St. Mary's Hall sign on May 2, 2024. (Alexa Figueroa)

St. Mary’s Hall is nestled between Adele H. Stamp Student Union and Mckeldin Mall. Not only does this residence hall house international students, but it also serves as a community for UMD students of all backgrounds as they work together to become fluent in one of the 11 languages offered.

Also known as the Language House, it is separated into 11 different language clusters: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew,  Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Spanish.

According to the Language House website, the goal for their students is to “develop communication skills in both academic and daily life settings through diverse organized activities, informal daily contacts, outreach events, and supplemental coursework in the target language.”

And in recent years this perspective of the coordinators has not changed, but grown with a new generation of students.

“Living in the language house has definitely changed my perspective as a UMD student because I get to meet students of all different grade levels, majors, and passions that it really reminds me of how big UMD is and how grateful I am to be part of it,”said Daniela Cornejo, a freshman double majoring in Government and Politics And Secondary Education.

Living-Learning Programs at UMD are residential communities where students live together and connect over shared interests and academic goals.  The Language House has been one of oldest living-learning programs at UMD  and has been running since 1989.

“Living around people with all different cultures has opened my eyes even more that we’re all very different and these characteristics make us who we are. We share things in common like living in the language house and attending UMD. Above that I have been able to connect with residents from all over the world and the U.S. on various topics.” Ariana Paulino said, a sophomore Criminology and Criminal Justice major.

The Language House has more than just global interests involved in these programs. The eagerness for academic achievement has allowed growth and the establishment of diversity between peers.

“I would describe the language house as lively, diverse, and optimistic because there are so many different students living and learning in the language house that you are eager to learn something new every day.” said Cornejo

The Language House has provided its residents with more than just a learning experience but a touch of personal growth as well. 

 “I especially like the off-campus events because UMD can feel like a bubble, and it was cool to see people in all different stages of life enjoying the movie [comedy movie by the Spanish filmmaker, Álex de la Iglesia] I also love seeing how humor varies depending on the country,”said Stella Shanker, a sophomore Geography major.


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